Thursday, 22 December 2016

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Bird Group

Wednesday 21 December

Good to see that even with the Christmas festivities just a few days away our birding friends can still get out in the field, probably very wet fields at the moment, for some profitable birding.  For me, my cataract operation was successfully completed on Monday so i can sit back and enjoy the exploits of others whilst I await the eye to settle so that I, too, can once again join the fray.  Bit of a mess at the moment so it looks as if I will be excused bins, scope and camera until after the Christmas break.  No bad thing, especially as I am trying to limit the amount of time I spend on the computer - if only to stop "'er indoors - she who must be obeyed" from complaining even more!

But good for Dave for getting his Arboleas Bird Group out to one of my favourite birding and scenic sites in Andalucia and judging from the following report it very much looks as if they all ha a cracking good time with lots of species recorded.

So here's a big thank you to all the readers and members of the various bird clubs and groups and may I wish you all a very peaceful Christmas and a happy, healthy and great birding New Year.

Bob Wright



Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales
Wednesday 21st December

Today I was supposed to be going to the Sierra de Maria with Richard H for a bit of a bird photography session, but he had to cancel and what with the rain & snow I decided not to take the risk. However Les, John & Alan had already said they were going to go down to Cabo de Gata with a friend. He was unable to go so I cadged a lift down there with them. Also a Marabou Stork had been seen! They picked me up from Los Gallardos. Before we got to Pujaire, we'd already seen Jackdaw, Southern Grey Shrike, Crag Martin, Cattle Egret & Black Redstart. Les had also spotted a perched Common Buzzard and a Sardinian Warbler. After a coffee we made our way to the first hide. The water level was very high on both sides of the road. I found a Spotted Redshank. Alan saw Little Stint. Also seen were Avocet, Black Winged Stilt,Redshank,Grey Plover & Black Tailed Godwit. Chiffchaff, Dartford & Sardinian Warblers were flitting around the bushes. Small rafts of Slender Billed Gulls were feeding. I spotted some distant Spoonbill. Les found White Wagtails, a Water Pipit & a Grey Wagtail amongst the roadside rocks, John spotted an Eurasian Curlew. We had a long discussion regarding what turned out to be a Sanderling. A flock of Serin flew by. Alan spotted a Kestrel.
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei (PHOTO: Dave Elliott-Binns)
We drove to the beach and did a small sea-watch, with a negative result , before walking towards the second hide. Les spotted a flying Stone Curlew. Numerous Stonechats were on the fencing & shrubs. Alan found a Robin & a Cormorant flew by. At the hide we were closer to the Spoonbill. There were 15 in all as well as hundreds of Greater Flamingo. John saw a Little Egret just before I got a Great White Egret. I also managed to find a distant Kingfisher, an usual sighting here. Further Eurasian Curlews plus another or the same Stone Curlew were on the savannah. Also seen were Shelduck & numerous Black Necked Grebe. I found a Grey Heron. A small group of Wigeon was a good find...they were right under our noses actually! Alan & I followed a flying Godwit. No wing bars or black tail so a Bar Tailed Godwit. Two Spanish birders arrived and asked if we'd seen the Marabou Stork. They understood it had been between the village & the lighthouse. Off we trundled over the pass. At the lighthouse I spotted a Black Wheatear. 
View towards the beach (PHOTO: Dave Elliott-Binns)
A Thekla Lark wandered around the turning area. As we approached the village on the way back, having been unsuccessful, Alan suddenly shouted "Stop"! Beside us on a mud bank were two Trumpeter Finches who obligingly posed! We then went to the public hide. Most of the action was to the right. There on the shoreline were Dunlin, Spotted & Common Redshank and Black Winged Stilt. John also spotted a Greenshank. On the causeway we had numerous Lesser Black Backed Gull, some Audouin's Gull and Sandwich Terns. Some Slender Bill Gulls were close by.

Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus (PHOTO: Dave Elliott-Binns)
We then went for a lunchtime snack at the Cabo village beach cafe. A sea-watch produced a single Gannet spotted by John and some Sanderling. We then drove along the beachside track. We stopped to look at some Lesser Black Backed Gulls on the water. Alan found a pair of Black Necked Grebe nearby. The torrential rains of the passed week had caused huge disruption at the Rambla de Morales. There had obviously been a serious breach in the beach sand bar. The water level was incredibly low which created lovely scrapes on the far side. there were numerous small waders....Kentish & Ringed Plover. Larger ones included Grey Plover & Black Tailed Godwit. Also seen were Coot, Moorhen, Shoveler & Teal. Our final bird was a Cetti's Warbler heard!
View of the Morales scrape (PHOTO: Dave Elliott-Binns)

We ended up with 63 species. The weather gods were very kind to us. Sunny with hardly any wind.
Regards, Dave



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