Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Birding Group

Wednesday 19 April

Looks like I got the best deal whilst birding in Almeria this week as at least I had beautiful, warm weather and no wind.  On the other hand, I perhaps have to compare my Little Bittern, Squacco and Night Herons with Dave's Pied Flycatcher, yet to see one this year, and the Caspian Tern.

Cabo de Gata: Wednesday 19 April

Even though I saw a yellow weather warning regarding high winds along the Almeria coast, I still picked up Richard H from El Rincon & headed south to Cabo de Gata. We were making an early start to "do" the rear of the reserve. As arranged, we met up with Kevin in the Pujaire cafe at 08.15hrs. On our way there we'd seen a few of the commoner birds plus a single Gull Billed Tern near the radar trap. After a coffee we made our way, with Kevin in my new-engined 4x4, along the beach-side road. A Common Swift flew low across in front of us. On the beach we saw some resting gulls. Adult Audouin's and some juvenile Yellow Legged Gulls. We then took the track round the rear of the reserve. There was not a bird to be seen till we passed the now dilapidated hide apart from a Barn Swallow & Kestrel. We then saw some Greater Flamingos and a pair of Shelduck. 
Shelduck Tarro Blanca Tadoma tadoma
A male Sardinian Warbler showed well. A bit further along there was a group of waders on the shore-line. Avocet, a couple of Grey Plover, Dunlin, one with black bellied plumage, and Ringed Plover. Nearing the ternary, there were more Avocet plus a flight of 5 Little Tern. Slender Billed Gulls were also seen. We passed the ruined buildings where Little Owls have been seen, but not today! As we slowly drove to the left of the green leafy hedge a couple of birds flitted along the base. The first we identified was a male Common Redstart, the second was a male Pied Flycatcher. Managed to get a record photo through the truck's windscreen!
Pied Flycatcher Papamoscas Cerrojillo Ficedula hypoleuca caught thriough the car window
Well satisfied, we returned to the cafe for second coffees! We drove to the first hide. By this time the predicted high winds had arrived so we birdwatched from the hide. On the causeway we saw Mallard, 3 Grey Heron and a couple of Yellow Legged Gulls. An Iberian Grey Shrike flew by. Numerous Iberian Yellow Wagtails were skitting about in the shrubs in front of us. Kevin found a Kentish Plover and I, a Thekla Lark on the stone wall. Also seen were Ringed Plover.
Gull-billed Tern Pagaza Piconegra Sterna nilotica
We made our way to the second hide. The blustery wind was dead against us as we trudged towards it. Richard was struggling. Kevin rewarded us by first finding a Great White Egret to the left of some Little Egrets and then 12 Spoonbill by the little island. As we were about to leave 23 Gull Billed Terns were seen quartering & feeding over the savannah. I assume they were after crickets & locusts?
We then moved to the public hide. Richard stayed in the truck. There was nothing on the right hand rocky causeway. From the hide all the action was to the left. Loads of Avocet plus Slender Billed Gulls. Kevin spotted a lone Black Headed Gull amongst them. There were more Gull Billed Terns. A single Gadwall was resting on the sandbank. A Little Stint was seen. We were about to leave when I saw a single Caspian Tern further over to the left. Managed to get a bad record shot.
Record shot of Caspian Tern Pagaza Piquirroja Sterna caspia
We decided a trip to the Rambla de Morales would be a problem so we headed home. 37 species in all, but some really good ones amongst them.
Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta to rear of Grey Plover Chorlito Gris Pluvialis squatarola
Other news updates. In my last report I stated Richard & Ruth were moving back to the UK. Wrong. They're moving to Antequera. Apologies. Brian Taylor reports seeing a Black Shouldered Kite, a rarity in this region, flying passed his house in Chirivil.
Regards, Dave

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