Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Cabo de Gata & Twitch with the Arboleas Bird Group

Wednesday 7 December

Now that the rains have hopefully ended we can start birding agaion and Dave Elliott-Binns and his Arboleas Bird Group have been out and about at Cabo de Gata as can be seen from the following report from Dave.

After last weeks rain in our area and the deluge in Malaga Province in which sadly two people lost their lives, a change in the weather was gratefully received.  Today was a sunny day with a few clouds as Val and I headed down towards Cabo de Gata . Having notched up Hoopoe (notice presenter on BBC pronounced it Hoopee), we met up with Dave, Myrtle, Richard, Les, Colin, Alan and Kevin at the Pujaire cafe.  Duly refreshed with coffee, we made our way to the first hide.  There were numerous Black Tailed Godwit with a single Grey Plover.  Les found 4 Dunlin and Kevin was first to spot some Slender Billed Gulls.  The visibility was not good down the left hand side due to the low bright sun.  So well done to Myrtle for finding a Great White Egret.  Also seen were Mallard, Avocet, Eurasian Curlew and Ringed Plover.  Out over the distant sea I spotted an adult Gannet. Richard found a Zitting Cisticola.  An Iberian Grey Shrike was seen.  Alan spotted numerous Spoonbill way in the distance.  Both Spotless and Northern Starling were in a medium-sized flock. The last bird listed was a Black Winged Stilt.
The drive to the beach added Stonechat and the walk to the hide added Goldfinch and Greenfinch. From the hide I found two or three more Eurasian Curlew on the savannah.  A Little Egret was seen and Kevin spotted numerous Black Necked Grebe.  The Spoonbill seen earlier were closer and  obliged by taking flight so we count their number. Twenty five.  I didn't count the numerous Greater Flamingo.  Colin and I found a male Sardinian Warbler before Les spotted a female plus a Dartford Warbler in the same bush.  Also seen were some Crested Lark.
We convoyed to the public hide, the ladies doing the walk along the track.   We had Chiffchaff whilst Kevin found a Shelduck.  Dave had a Dartford Warbler and Serin from the hide.  To the right Sandwich Tern, Sanderling, Kentish Plover, a Spotted and Common Redshank were seen.  Alan had a Little Stint whilst Kevin found a Turnstone.  Just as we were about to leave I spotted a group of flying birds.  11 soaring Common Crane.  A Kestrel was hovering below them.  Colin spotted a Crag Martin.
Eight of the soaring eleven Cranes Grus grus (PHOTO: Dave Elliott-Binns)
We then went to the beach side cafe in Cabo village, doing a sea-watch as we had refreshments.  We had Gannets, Black Headed, Lesser Black Backed and Yellow Legged Gulls.  A couple of pairs of Mallard were seen as was a Black Tailed Godwit and a small flock of what appeared to me to be Golden Plover.
We ended our time at Cabo de Gata with 47 species.  Normally we'd then go to the Rambla de Morales, but today we were going on a "twitch"!  On the 29th November a Steppe Grey Shrike was discovered at the mouth of the River Andarax which is just east of Almeria.  It was still there a few days ago.  So Colin, Alan, Les, Richard, Val and I headed along the coast to see if we might be lucky. The short answer is we weren't!  We had a good look round, but as they say in twitching circles, we "dipped" out.  I was going to download a photo of one but was concerned about copyright so you'll have to "google image" it to see what one looks like.  Only have one photo to show you. 

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

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