|Dotterel Charadrius morinellus|
Like many of our friends, jenny and I were away from the house a few minutes after 9am to drive up to that most beautiful coast of Almeria Province, Cabo de Gata for the week-end. As we took the motorway past Motril we caught up Steve and Elena Powell and then continued on to our first stop at Las Norias, amidst the smell and plastic followed by the pools at Roquetas de Mar where, to our surprise, we also came across a further eight members of the group who were making their first stop on the journey. A beautiful sunny start but a little colder and cloudy at the latter site but them with an hour, back to glorious clear, sunny skies before making our final stop at the Dotterel wintering site about 8kms short of Cabo de Gata itself.
Arriving at the first causeway at Las Norias a Wood Pigeon flew over the road in front of the car and, as so often happens, the first bird seen was a Collared Dove. A Grey Heron overhead along with Red-rumped and Barn Swallows mixed in with both Crag and House Martins. And just for good measure the odd Sand Martin put in an appearance. Most of the Cormorants were resting near the water rather than in the air but we did pick up Mediterranean, Black-headed, Lesser Back-backed and Yellow-legged Gulls. On the water both Common and Red-crested Pochards along with Mallards and Shoveler. No shortage of Great Crested Grebes along with a few Little and Black-necked Grebes. Moorhens and Coots were also present. and Common Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt and Ringed Plover were working the edges.
|Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus|
|Male White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala (above) and female below|
|A few of the many Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina|
|Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta at Las Norias|
|Distant Dotterel Charadrius morinellus|
Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, teal, Red-crested Pochard, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Dotterel, Golden Plover, Sanderling, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Mditerranian Gull, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Short-toed lark, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Iberian Grey Shrike, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Linnet.
Meanwhile, whilst we were all working our way up to Cabo de Gata, John and Jenny Wright, having arrived the previous day, were making the most of a day on their own with some very good sightings which promises well for the main meet on Saturday. John's report follows:
Windy at first but settled down and very warm later.
We decided to go to the Lighthouse before breakfast, but the wind was there again - albeit not so strong - but most things kept their heads down, although we did see eight Black Wheatears, a pair of Bonelli´s Eagle, Crag Martins, Barn Swallows, Stonechats, House Sparrows, Spotless Starlings, Black Redstarts, Linnets and two Rock Buntings. Yellow-legged Gulls were seen above us, as were two Ravens which were attacked by a Peregrine Falcon. As we drove out of the valley a Robin was seen briefly.
|Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura (PHOTO: John Wainwright)|
So back to the Rambla Morales where we picked up White Wagtails, Greater Flamingos, Shovelers, Avocets, Shelduck, Common Coots, Moorhen and Mallards. A nice addition was the seventeen Razorbills spotted as we parked up at the beach, and moving back along the Morales track we noted a Blackbird.
At Hide 1 we managed to locate a large number of Slender-billed Gulls, a Great White Egret and Cormorants. A Sparrowhawk came across the front of the hide chasing a Crested Lark, our second Blue-headed Wagtail, more Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits and Shelducks. Black-winged Stilts, a family of Greenfinches, Chiffchaffs and White Wagtails were also recorded. (And presumably Meadow Pipit?)
|Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis (PHOTO: John Wainwright)|
Also, at least four Common Kestrels were successfully hunting the road along by Hides 2,3, & 4.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.