Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Missing Cabo de Gata Report

Tuesday 14 April

So busy both here in Stamford and driving around the country, just back this past half-hour from Winchester where I received my Honorary Degree for the University, that I seem to have missed out day 4 of John and Jenny Wainwright's birding odyssey to Caba de Gata in Almeria Province.  Looks like, from re-reading, that John and Johnny probably wished the day would go away as well as it seemed to be nothing but rain, followed by rain and yet more rain.  Today in the UK has been another gloriously warm and sunny day with almost clear blue skies and not a breath of wind.  Yes, It really is like this in many parts of southern Britain even if the winds are keeping you occupied in "sunny" Spain!  Anyway, many apologies to John and jenny and their report is published below.  No doubt in the morning, now that I am back in Stamford and with access to my computer, I will be able to report on their homeward journey from Caba de Gata to Salar.

Cabo de Gata 12th April: Day 4

Rain, Rain and more Rain but we did manage a few dry periods though but, once again, still dipped on the Trumpeter Finch.

Getting up before sunrise and looking out at the weather, it had rained during the night and was still raining, still, we decided to have a last ditch at the lighthouse for the Trumpeter Finch, alas no luck, although the rain had subsided for a while and lots other birds were about, including Black Wheatear, the inimitable Corn Bunting, Linnets, Spotless Starlings and Yellow-legged Gulls.  As we headed back to the hotel for breakfast the rain started again.  Afterwards, we headed for the Sierra Alhamillas where we knew there could be a very small chance of seeing anything but it was better than staying indoors.

Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
The direction we took was through Nijar and up through the mountains to Lucainena de la Torres seeing on the way our first Black-eared Wheatear of the trip, then a Dartford Warbler gave us a very brief song atop a broom bush then a bit further on a Woodchat Shrike and a Sardinian Warbler. Nothing more until we turned off onto the Turrillas road, when a burst of song  gave us a Nightingale and then a Great Tit, a couple of Linnets and of course Corn Buntings.  Just after the latter we came across a eucalyptus grove, we turned into the rather muddy track and immediately heard then saw a Green Woodpecker, followed by a Great Spotted Cuckoo and a pair of Common Magpies and a single Raven, a Great Tit was noted here also.

Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
Moving on and stopping just after Tabernas for Jenny to take the "Mini Hollywood site " photo, a party of some fifty or more Alpine Swifts screamed overhead, then two Little Owls and a small number of Jackdaws were seen.  Our last but one port-of-call was the sendero - leading to a mosque on the beach - on the road to Cabo de Gata, where we saw another Woodchat Shrike, a Southern Grey Shrike, a juvenile Marsh Harrier, a Bee-eater and a Subalpine Warbler.  The last site was the public hide on the bend where we found a Black-tailed Godwit.

Little Owl Athena noctua  (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
I see on the news it is another wet day tomorrow, but we will wait and see!!!

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

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