Wednesday 2 June 2021

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Birding Group

 Wednesday 2 June

Whist I am kept busy sorting out both our forthcoming trip back to the UK and, at the same time, going through all the hassle of preparing for a move into Granada province, friend Dave Elliott-Binns and his Arboleas Birding Group were out once again on their weekly birding trip, this time to a favourite site of mine at Cabo de Gata.

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Cabo de Gata  -  Wednesday 2nd June

As there was going to be only one other confirmed attendance by Kevin, I headed alone at stupid o'clock down the A7/E15.  The weather was dull, grey and overcast.  As I passed through Retamar Sur I logged the usual suspects...Collared Dove, House Sparrow and Spotless Starling.  I arrived early for our meeting at the first hide, but didn't birdwatch as I didn't want to spoil our later visit.  A Jackdaw did fly past.  Kevin duly arrived and we headed off in my truck towards the rear of the reserve.  A Raven flew along the beach and a Thekla Lark was sat upon one of the wooden posts.  Kevin spotted numerous Common Swifts near the salt works.  We got to the village at the end of the beach and turned onto the rear track.  It was mostly okay, but there were some muddy puddles to negotiate after the recent rains. First bird was a Blackbird. 

Slender-billed Gull Larus genei (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

On the first salina there were Avocet and a number of gull species....Slender-billed, Audouin's, Yellow-legged and at least one immature Lesser Black-backed Gull.  We headed up the side of the hill for a good overview, seeing Thekla Larks en route.  The weather had cleared by now.  I spotted our first Shelduck of the day.  Returning to the track we added Kentish Plover.  There were at least four Grey Plover by the water.  We also saw loads of Shelduck, Black-winged Stilts and a passing Red-rumped Swallow.  We were thrilled to see a Spectacled Warbler.  A small number of Barn Swallow flew by.  It was great to see a couple of Gull-billed Terns quartering the savannah.  As we joined the tarmac, Kevin saw a White Wagtail and I found a Greenfinch.

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We got back to the first hide with about half an hour to spare if anyone turned up unexpectedly.  We scanned the scene in front of us.  Greater Flamingos, of course, but there were also three Spoonbill at the far end of the rocky causeway.  Also there were half a dozen Black-tailed Godwits feeding nearby.  A Yellow Wagtail showed well. I spotted a resting Little Tern.  We were very happy to see John arriving.  He said he needed some birding relaxation during the stressful period of sorting out all the leaving problems.  En route by the BP garage he'd seen two flocks of Stone Curlew, totalling about 35 birds, fly across the road in front of him.  He also saw a Kestrel.  Kevin then spotted a Stone Curlew beyond the far bank.

After a reviving cuppa in Cabo village, we made for the second hide.  Parking by the beach, a scan over the sea produced 4 Cory's Shearwaters heading south.  We walked towards the hide, John spotting a Crested Lark.  From the hide we saw more of the same, but notably flocks of Little Tern and singles of Gull-billed Terns.  John then found a Woodchat Shrike on one of the bigger shrubs.

Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

The middle hide gave us a Ringed Plover plus a quartet of Yellow Wagtails and some Kentish Plovers.
We moved to the public hide. John did well to spot 4 Whiskered Tern on the right hand rocks.
We exited via the church track with nothing seen.  As it was a bit early for lunch, we adjourned to Cabo village for a drink before we all headed home.  I saw a Bee Eater as I drove through the short cut.

We ended up with 35 species. Great to see John, but sad we had to say our goodbyes again!  Lovely day in good company.  Regards, Dave

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta with Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

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