Thursday, 20 June 2019

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Birding Group

Wednesday 19 June

Whilst I was resting in preparation for Thursday's start to me drive north and onwards to Calais for Tuesday's ferry to Dover followed by a walk down to Caleta Harbour to take a final look at the surprising visit of a lone Red-footed Booby (and yes, I did get to see the bird in flight), friend Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group were enjoying a birding day at Cabo de Gata and the Rambla Morales.  I wonder if they found time to jump into the sea whilst the opportunity was there?  I somehow think not.



Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales: Wednesday 19th June 
On our penultimate trip before breaking for the summer, we decided to go to Cabo de Gata.  Gilly managed to get the day off work, so I drove her down to the Pujaire cafe. After leaving the motorway we managed to log Jackdaw, Bee Eater, House Sparrow, House Martin, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Spotless Starling and an Iberian Grey Shrike. Whilst having coffee we were joined by Trevor, John, Karen, Michael and Kevin.  Suitably refreshed, we made our way to the first hide where Jacky was waiting.  Trevor spotted another Iberian Grey Shrike as I scanned the water and shoreline ahead of us.  Greater Flamingo, Avocet, Slender-billed Gull, Kentish Plover, Mallard, Shelduck and Black-winged Stilt.  Little Tern were dive fishing.  I found a single Yellow Wagtail on the blanket weed and a Little Egret on the far bank.  John thought he saw a pair of flying Ringed Plover before they disappeared below the shoreline shrubs.  Also seen was the odd Barn Swallow and a Thekla Lark.  Jacky and Gilly could both hear the Zitting Cisticola.  I couldn't!

Thekla Lark Galerida theklae (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We drove to the beach opposite the second hide.  Nothing on the shoreline, but I spotted a Cory's Shearwater out to sea.  From the hide itself we had good views of a couple of male Sardinian Warblers.  Trevor found a Little Egret.  Gilly counted 189 Greater Flamingos.  A Yellow-legged Gull was sitting on the island.  An Audouin's Gull had landed on the beach when we got back to the vehicles. 

Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
From the public hide we saw a Godwit species.  Due to distance and heat haze couldn't tell which. Some Gull-billed Terns made an appearance.  John found a Black-headed Gull and Jacky had a probable Corn Bunting.  A Kestrel flew over the savanna.

Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
After a refreshment break we made our way to the lighthouse, but it was crowded with tourist, so after a quick look out to sea we made our way towards the Rambla Morales. Kevin spotted a Red-rumped Swallow as he drove along the road by the salinas.
Gilly and I were leading the convoy along the beach side track.  We spotted a White Wagtail and another Gull-billed Tern.  At the Rambla there were a few Kentish Plovers at the beach end.  Kevin found some White-headed Duck over the far side.  From the hump we saw about 60 Greater Flamingos as well as more White-headed Duck, a Coot and a pair of Little Grebe with chicks.  Four Shoveler flew by as did some Common Swifts.  Did hear the Zitting Cisticola this time!
We ended the day with a moderate 37 species, but it was still a good day in good company!
Regards, Dave
 

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