Monday, 21 May 2018

Arboleas Birding Group - 9 May

Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales: Wednesday 9th May

Paul & Reyna picked me up today from Arboleas to convey me down to Cabo de Gata. Don't ask about my truck! As we drove through Retamar Sur, Paul spotted a pair of overflying Monk Parakeets. I know of a little colony at El Toyo a few kilometres away. We met up with John, Les, Trevor and Ann at the Pastelaria cafe just prior to Pujaire. After a cuppa we made our way to the first hide. By the time we'd arrived Les had already seen a Gull Billed Tern disappearing into the ether. On the water there were a few Greater Flamingos, Shelduck, Slender Billed Gulls and Mallards. There was a Yellow Legged Gull on the rocky causeway, but the most numerous birds were Avocets. Also seen were Redshank, a Spotted Redshank, Black Tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper, Black Winged Stilt, Little Egret & Kentish Plover. Les found an Iberian race Yellow Wagtail. A Grey Heron flew in. A couple of Iberian Grey Shrikes were seen. I discovered a very distant Spotted Flycatcher. A Hoopoe flew past as did a Kestrel.
Moving on to the second hide we added a Blackbird en route. Once in the hide we added nothing to the list on the salina. Trevor spotted a small bird in a large shrub. It turned out to be a Melodious Warbler. Les found a distant Woodchat Shrike. As we were leaving we saw a pair of Chiffchaff in another shrub being harassed by a Dartford Warbler.
We then travelled the short distance to the public hide. A pair of Red Rumped Swallows were dipping & diving above it. In the fenced enclosure we saw 4 Willow Warblers. We added a Ringed Plover & Little Stint.
We then convoyed up and over the " mountain" road towards the lighthouse turning left towards the Vela Blanca ridge. Us in the first car dipped out on Sardinian Warbler, Black Wheatear & Alpine Swift the two other car's occupants saw, but we did see the latter two up on the crest. Heading back we came across a very obliging Trumpeter Finch perched on a power line. 
We now moved on to the Rambla Morales. Some resting House Martins were on the track. John managed to get his car stuck in soft sand, but after a bit of shoving it was extricated! There were a few Sanderling at the estuary. An Audouin's Gull flew in. There was a small mixed flock of Greenfinch & House Sparrow. Paul spotted some flying Cormorants. From the "hump" we added White Headed Duck, Coot & Moorhen. Both Black Necked & Little Grebes were seen in breeding plumage.
We ended the day with 53 species and happily managed to avoid the later thunderstorms but not a few mosquito bites!
Regards, Dave

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
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