Wednesday 10 May 2017

Cabo de Gata with the Aroleas Birding Group

Wednesday 10 May

All done birding this week as I get ready fr the morning's flight back to East Midlands, UK.  On the other hand, once back in Stamford following the Plymouth funeral next Monday I do hope to get at least one visit in to my local patch at Rut;land Water. If I am successful then the report will appear here.  Meanwhile, friend David has been off to Cabo de Gata with his Arboleas Birding Group and certainly seems to have found some good birds - but no Great Reed Warbler unless I missed it in the original reading.  And what about the water levels?  Are they now slightly lower to encourage waders?

Cabo de Gata & Rambla de Morales: Wednesday 10th May

John, Les and I were up early this morning.  I picked them up from Los Gallardos at 07.30hrs in order to get down to Cabo de Gata in time to do the rear of the reserve before it got too hot.  We'd already clocked up Collared Dove, Jackdaw, House Sparrow and Spotless Starling by the time we'd turned off the beach road at the roundabout just prior to La Almadraba de Monteleva village.  The sea was quite choppy and there was a lot of cloud.  The salinas at this end had been filled with seawater as salt production was on going, but it didn't mean many birds had returned yet.  The first ones were Avocet and Slender Billed Gulls.  We came off the track to check some ruined buildings for Little Owls, but didn't find any.  We did see Thekla Larks though.  From up there we had  a good view of the works.  Returning to the drivable track we soon found some more waders.  Ringed and Kentish Plover and spring/summer plumaged Sanderling, the latter causing some confusion and discussion!  

Sanderling Correlimos Tridactilo Calidris alba (PHOTO: David Eliott-Binns)
A Sandwich Tern flew by and we saw the first of the Greater Flamingos.  We heard a Zitting Cisticola.  Les spotted a Southern Grey Shrike high up on the power line.  Missed the warbler going into a patch of reeds but saw the Yellow Wagtail.  A Sardinian Warbler showed well. Some Gull Billed Tern flew over. 

Slender-billed Gull Gaviota Picofina Larius genei (PHOTO: David Eliott-Binns)
A Carrion Crow was our last bird before heading to the cafe at Pujaire for a coffee or two where we were met by Colin and Sandra.

Kentish Plover Chorltejo Patinegro Charadrius alexandrinus (PHOTO: David Eliott-Binns)
Suitably refreshed we made our way to the first hide on the bend, Colin seeing a House Martin on the way.  A pair of Bee-eaters were huddled together on the power lines.  John spotted a Black-headed Gull.  On the causeway there were a couple of Little Egret, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper and some resting Little Terns.  Others were fishing over the water.  There were numerous Avocet plus the odd Black Winged Stilt and Mallard.  I counted 213 Greater Flamingo.
Leaving there we saw Hoopoe and Common Swift in Cabo village as we passed through.  There was a single Raven perched on a wooden railing near the beach as we made our way to the second hide. Similar birds were seen from here until I spotted a pair of feeding Spoonbill.  On a roll I then spotted two Whimbrel flying over the savannah and out to sea.
We moved to the public hide.  There were Audouin's Gulls on the rocky causeway to the right together with some Ringed Plover.  Some Shelduck were seen.  I then found a Spotted Flycatcher on the wire fence near the parked cars.

Ringed Plover Chorlitejo Grande Charadrius hiaticula (PHOTO: David Eliott-Binns)
We then went for an early lunch at the beach-side cafe in Cabo village.  We sea-watched as we ate. There was a steady stream of Yellow-legged and Audouin's Gulls flying passed towards the lighthouse.  John spotted a pair of Slender-billed Gulls as well.  I spotted a fast flying wader far out to sea but we couldn't identify it.  Les the spotted a Common Tern flying/feeding close inshore. 
We drove along the beach side track to the Rambla de Morales.  We both heard and saw Reed Warbler and Zitting Cisticola.  Sandra found a Kentish Plover with chicks by the estuary end.  There were Mallard, Sanderling, at least 8 Common Sandpiper and Little Stint on the mud shoreline opposite us.  Eight Gull-billed Tern were at rest.  Also seen were Coot and Moorhen.  Apart from the Common Swift, Barn Swallow and House Martins flying around, Les found a Sand Martin and John, a Red-rumped Swallow.

The salt works would seem to be back in production once again (PHOTO: David Eliott-Binns)
All in all a good days birding in good company. 44 species in total.
Regards, Dave
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