Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Birding Group

Wednesday 24 June

It would appear that the rain does not necessarily fall mainly on the plain in Spain!  Good to see that the Arboleas Birding Group recorded some excellent birds a the beautiful cabo de gata but not so the weather.  Whilst they were awaiting the sun to appear and the wind to relent my friends and I were up at El Torcal, inland from Malaga city, by 8 o'clock in calm, clear weather and the sun already heating up the temperature and approaching 30C when we departed about 11am.  We, too, had a Black-eared Wheater, indeed all three Wheatears, plus a range of warblers but, obviously, nothing of a nautical nature.  Nevertheless, good to see the group once again enjoying their weekly birding.

Cabo de Gata   -   Wednesday 24th June

We returned to Cabo de Gata this week.  I picked up Neville & Juda at Los Gallardos & headed south on the A7/E15.  We were surprised by the gathering clouds and the few drops of rain as we journeyed towards our destination.  The lightening over the Cabo peninsula, a shock, but luckily we escaped the downpour Gilly was getting back at home!

We'd started out early to "do" the rear of the reserve.  We drove adjacent to the beach, seeing both Yellow-legged & Audouin's Gulls.  At the Fabriquilla roundabout we joined the track & immediately saw a pair of Black Eared Wheatears.  Carrying on I spotted a female Sardinian Warbler.  We then saw some Slender Billed Gulls actually on the track in front of us.  On the waters edge we saw our first Avocets of the day.  Many of the pairs had youngsters with them. Also seen were Greater Flamingos & some Kentish Plovers.  A lone Stone Curlew flew over. We added Thekla Lark near the refurbished farm animal water trough.  Some Shelduck were seen flying.  A Zitting Cisticola posed briefly on a bush. A Kestrel flew low over the shrubs.  I thought I saw a distant flying Gull Billed Tern, later confirmed by Alan & John. Just before the end of the track a newly fledged Greenfinch was spotted.  Some Barn Swallows were near the water deposit.

Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We made our way to the first hide where we were due to meet the others.  The wind from the east was increasing.  Neville spotted the single Black-tailed Godwit.  Alan, Trevor, John arrived followed by Michael & Karen.  The first three had tried to join the rear track from the Pujaire end, but had taken the wrong track.  They had seen Stone Curlew, Gull-billed Tern and a Crested Lark.  On the rocky causeway were about a dozen Black-winged Stilts.  Lots of Greater Flamingos and Avocets were around plus a single Slender-billed Gull.  As well as Barn Swallows, we also saw Red-rumped Swallows, House Martins and Common Swifts.  There were some Mallards on the water.  John, I think, found a Shelduck.  It was nice to see Claire again.  Alan spotted a small group of Little Terns. Four Cattle Egret flew by.

Juvenile Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We moved onto the second hide.  There was nothing on the now choppy sea.  We tacked our way to the hide against the gale.  Seven Eurasian Curlews flew over, landing in the savannah.  The smaller birds were hunkering down in the bushes.

The middle hide was slightly more productive.  A Gull-billed Tern flew over the island to land on the waters edge.  I spotted a couple of small waders which Alan identified with his scope as Kentish Plovers.  He then spotted a Yellow Wagtail.

The public hide didn't add to the list, but as we walked back to our vehicles, a Raven flew low along the scrubland.  As we drove along the track towards the church, it was joined by a second one.
We drove up to the lighthouse hoping to spot a passing shearwater but no luck there.  Karen spotted the House Sparrows flitting about under a parked car.

The wind had beaten us.  We had an early lunch in Cabo village.  The sun had come out and the wind had decreased in strength.  We had 32 species in all.  A good day in good company.

Regards, Dave

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