Thursday, 7 December 2017

Almeria Day 2: Cabo de Gata

Wednesday 6 December

What a gorgeous start to to the day with clear blue skies, full sunshine and quite warm, no need for extra layers!  And before we even reached the first hide at the large car park we stopped to witness a half-dozen Curlew take of and circle their present site before finding new cover.  And then, as we entered the hide looking east. a quartet of Cranes flew over westwards calling as they travelled.  there were at least hundred or more Avocets resting almost below us and scores of Flamingo ahead of us in the almost mist-like distance.  Forget the House Sparrows as we watched a female Marsh Harrier drift over towards us on the right and then a pair of courting Kestrels on top of a post.  Iberian Grey Shrike?  Certainly and a Grey Plover at the water's edge.  What a way to start the morning.

Continuing to study the water and vegetation in front of us we soon added Stonechat, Chiffchaff and Sardinian Warbler along with Black-winged Stilt, Ringed Plover and a Raven passed overhead.  Moving on to the first hide on the southern shore we son added both Crested Lark and more Chiffchaff and once ensconced were looking at numerous Cormorant and a number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Lovely to also see more Slender-billed GullsCrag Martins were feeding overhead then very close and clear views of a Dartford Warbler to keep us smiling. Not just the brief view of a Hoopoe but at least eight Curlews landed in the field to the west giving good flight and settled views.

Slender-billed Gull Gaviota Picofina Larus genei
On to the Public Hide where we noticed more Avocets but very view waders.  A handful of Black-tailed Godwits and a few Sanderling and Kentish Plover semed to be the main species.  We did pick up a couple of Little Stint and then a similar number of Redshank.  On the far side a small number of Shelduck and  not only Lesser Black-backed and Yellow-legged but a few Audouin's Gulls and a couple of Sandwich Terns.  Finally we added both Common Sandpiper and Dunlin whilst, behind us over the sea, a Gannet worked the coast.

Redshank Archibebe Comun Tringa totanus
Moving on down to the lighthouse area we were able to find very many Black Wheatear along with Black Redstart and Crested Lark.  Needless to say we also added White Wagtails.  Moving higher, having seen a small flock of Greenfinch, we also added Thekla Lark.

Wigeon Silbon  Europeo Anas penelope
Then it was back to the village and outside to visit the relatively nearby rambla.  Given the lower water levels seen at the salinas we were quite amazed to see how full was the ramble lake.  Three juvenile Flamingo and at least a dozen Black-necked Grebes were the first sightings and then we also added Shoveler, Mallard and Commom Pochard.  A little searching produced a pair of White-headed Duck and at least half-a-dozen Wigeon.  In addition there must have been at least fifty plus Cormorants resting on in the water.  Naturally both Coot and Moorhen were recorded and to our right a few Meadw Pipits worked the undergrowth.  But, perhaps, the prime sighting was the Peregrine Falcon that glided across the water and on above us towards the village.

Cormorant Cormoran Grande Phalacrocorax carbo flying in to join fifty friends

Continuing on along the narrow and, at times, challenging sandy track we found flocks of Serin and Goldfinch  along with a number of Collared Dove and a Greenshank as we took our farewell to Cabo de Gata at the original hide.  55 species recorded on the day (and not a single Blackbird during the two days) but, most of all, two very enjoyable days in good company and good weather.  Thank you "Other" Bob.

Wigeon Silbon  Europeo Anas penelope and Black-necked Grebes Zampullin Cuelinegro Podiceps nigricolli
Birds seen:
Shelduck, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Black-necked Grebe, Gannet, Cormorant, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Moorhen, Coot, Crane, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Dunlin, Back-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Black Wheatear, Dartford Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Iberian Grey Shrike, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch


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