As I was preparing for a sunny but cold morning at Frampton Marsh near Boston on the east coast of the UK, friend Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group were heading off in warmer climes to Cabo de Gata. Makes good reading but no Trumpter Finch despite finding couple of Dotterel.
Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales: Wednesday 4th March
Gilly's still in England, so I drove on my own to Cabo de Gata, seeing a Collared Dove and Spotless Starling before
I reached the Pujaire cafe meeting point. There I was met by Alan, John, Trevor, Alec, Peter and Iain. Val was supposed to come but had been stung by bees on her face for the 2nd time in under a fortnight! We wish her a speedy recovery.
We headed for the first hide. Alan was first to spot the Meadow Pipit on the power line. The usual Greater Flamingos were there. On the rocky causeway, Alan and I combined to identify two Spotted Redshanks. There were also 5 Little Egrets. Alan saw a pair of Stone Curlew landing on the right hand savanna. Peter spotted an Iberian Grey Shrike. Some Jackdaws and Mallards flew by. Alan added White and Yellow Wagtails. Trevor found a Thekla Lark. Then on the stone wall and its surrounds to our right a male Stonechat was seen followed by a female Black Redstart. Next to appear was a Bluethroat, spotted by Alec. (Sorry, Sue!) Also in same area was a Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler. Above the village was a small flock of Crag Martins. John saw both Black-headed and Audouin's Gulls. Alan found a walking Eurasian Curlew between us and the village. As I viewed it, a Kingfisher flew by Alan added a Grey Heron.
We moved to the beach opposite the second hide. John saw some Gannets. From the hide we saw Yellow-legged and Slende-billed Gulls. Sardinian Warblers flitted about the bushes . Some Avocets were seen on the far side. In the same area I found a group of 18 Common Crane.
We then drove in convoy to opposite the third hide. Sat not 10 metres from where I parked were two Dotterels. (3 seen later) As we walked to the hide there was a Hoopoe on the path. We heard then saw Corn Buntings. The Spoonbills were still there and now in greater numbers, 29 in all. Also seen were Cormorants, some Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a Little Stint. John added a Great Crested Grebe. Three Cattle Egrets were seen on our walk back to the vehicles.
Moving on to the public hide, I spotted a perched Kestrel on the pylon. From the hide I added a Redshank whilst John and Co found Sanderling, Dunlin, Shelduck, Sandwich Tern and Mediterranean Gulls to the right hand side.
After a refreshment break where John saw more Gannets and an Audouin's Gull, we headed for the Rambla Morales. I didn't see anything en route, but Alan had a Black Redstart. There was nothing at the estuary end. From the mound, Trevor spotted a Raven near the water treatment plant. We only heard a Greenshank. A Kestrel and Eurasian Curlew were seen flying by. John added a Moorhen and the Raven was sitting on a post as we drove back along the track. As we were having our tapas lunch the final species of the day turned up....a House Sparrow!
We ended on 52 species. A very good days birding in good weather and company!
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