Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Cabo de Gata and Rambla Morales

Wednesday 21 June

Must be Wednesday so, once again, David and his Arboleas Birding Group are up and about.  This time a visit to the beautiful Cabo de Gata and the nearby Morales.  Looks like they had a good day whilst I was up at Fuente de Piedra for a couple of hours in search of two new birds for the year that have so far eluded me and they even managed to record a Shag but no Cormorants.

Cabo de Gata and Rambla Morales:   -   Wednesday 21st June

I had to drop some people off at Almeria airport this morning, so I arranged to meet up with John for bit of unofficial birding afterwards.  John got to Pujaire well before me and had already logged a number of common birds including Greenfinch and Serin.  I added a Blackbird.  After a coffee we headed to the first hide.  Apart from the usual Greater Flamingos we saw numerous Avocet, some Black Winged Stilt and Redshank (one appeared to have a downward pointing bill!) and a Black-tailed Godwit.  The only smaller waders we saw were Kentish Plover.  

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Yellow Wagtails posed nicely on low lying shrubs.  We noted both Mallard and Shelduck.  We saw both Crested and Thekla Lark and at least two Iberian Grey Shrike.  Barn Swallows and House Martins flew by and a pair of Pallid Swifts were briefly overhead.  Surprisingly we only saw one Slender-billed Gull plus a few Black-headed Gulls.
Raven Corvus corax (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Moving towards the 2nd hide I spotted an Audion's Gull on the beach and then a Raven.  At the hide we added a rough-looking female Sardinian Warbler.
Female Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
As we approached the public hide a coach was parked up and releasing its full load of teenagers so we carried on up to the lighthouse.  The mountains behind it had suffered a serious wildfire last week as you'll see from the photograph.  John found a Lesser Black-backed Gull, whilst I added a Yellow-legged Gull. A juvenile Shag flew by.  Out to sea was a catamaran all the way from Jamaica!  More Raven were seen.  Heading back a female Black-eared Wheatear showed well.  Driving down towards the village, John spotted a Peregrine Falcon flying up the mountainside.   Luckily I managed to pull over and get a good view of this female falcon.

Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Instead of going back to the public hide we made our way round the rear of the reserve.  We first saw Red-rumped Swallows, but the rest was disappointing.  We only saw Greater Flamingos, Avocets and a Zitting Cisticola. There were a few Sardinian Warblers and Spotless Starlings by the agricultural field.
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
After a lunch break overlooking the beach at Cabo village, where tourists had replaced Sanderlings and Turnstones, we made our way along the beach-side track to the Rambla Morales.  To our surprise we saw a Calandra Lark drinking from the estuary end.  The water level was down again exposing the sandy plateau.  At the edges were Kentish Plovers, Avocets and Black Winged Stilts. There were 11 Greater Flamingos present plus Moorhen and Mallard.  Also seen was a juvenile Black-headed Gull, a juvenile White Wagtail, a Black-tailed Godwit and some Common Swifts.
Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus with Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Hot and thirsty, but happy, we went our separate ways.  I saw a Jackdaw and a Bee-eater before hitting the motorway to make a total of 38 species for the day.  Due to the hot weather there will probably be no group outings till September.
Regards, Dave
A catamaran from Jamiaica! (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Signs of the recent fire damaged referred to in the text (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

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