|Sanderling Calidris alba (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Whilst I was busy recovering from the week-end's exploits, I see Dave came up with the old excuse to get himself out of the house and off for a little birding. But there are only so many occasions when you can get away with it, David! Notwithstanding, I trust you both have a fabulous visit back to Blighty and, upon your return, discover that masses of wintering migrants have arrived.
Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales
Sunday 17th September
You know how it is. Gilly had lots to do preparing for our forthcoming trip to the UK, so it was best if I got out of the way!
I was up early and headed south towards Cabo de Gata. By the time I was passing Pujaire, I'd already clocked up 5 species the more notable being Jackdaws and a couple of flights of Yellow-legged Gulls presumably heading for some rubbish dump inland. I drove to the far end of the reserve with the intention of doing the rear track first. As I was downing a cup of thermos coffee a young ( I think)
Thekla Lark perched on a nearby fence. (Note...Using my DSLR camera and Telephoto lens today for a change!). There was a bit of water on the first salina. There were numerous Slender-billed Gulls at rest, together with Kentish and Ringed Plover. Barn Swallows flew low over the pools and a Yellow Wagtail flitted on the edges. The next salina added some Greater Flamingos. I drove up to the abandoned farm buildings ever hopeful for a Little Owl. Failed again, but I did hear and see a Red-legged Partridge. Went back down to the track where it got with a few metres of the waters edge. The small waders there, Ringed Plover, Sanderling and Dunlin , were unfazed by the large 4x4 parking next to them. It was around this time I was joined by numerous mosquitoes hungry for breakfast. I unwittingly obliged although some of them won't be having lunch! I saw the first Chiffchaff of the day feeding from the adjacent wire fence. At the dilapidated hide I added Avocet, Black-winged Stilt and Redshank. A Common Swift flew by. On the power lines I found an Iberian Grey Shrike. Further along I spotted a Greenshank on the waters edge. I then saw a small bird fly off to the right into the sun. It perched like a "chat". I'm positive I made out a white supercilium, so I put it down as a Whinchat. Nearing the hedged field a Sardinian Warbler flew to the left and disappeared into a shrub. I waited to hear its call but nothing. The reason was probably the low flying female Sparrowhawk just missing the stationary truck!. My last bird, before joining the tarmac was a White Wagtail.
|Juvenile Thekla Lark Galerida thekklae? (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
I then drove to the first hide. Was harried by the Sparrowhawk again! A scan revealed Mallard and Grey Heron amongst the already logged Avocet and Black-winged Stilt. The rocky causeway was virtually empty apart from a Little Egret and a Yellow-legged Gull. Nearly hidden, I just spotted the head of a Little Tern. It moved so the body was attached! A late Sand Martin flew past.
A brief sea-watch opposite the second hide didn't disturb the scorer! A Greenfinch was perched on a shrub as a Sandwich Tern headed inland. There was a kerfuffle in the largest treelike shrub. Three Hoopoe were having a ding dong. From the hide I added a Kestrel. There was a Common Sandpiper in the dyke.
Moving to the public hide I did a count of the Black-necked Grebe. There were 89. One of you bright sparks will know the equation regarding the number of grebes on the surface compared to the number underwater! Also seen were 9 Black-tailed Godwit. I attempted to check out the rock causeway to the right, but immediately got attacked by a swarm of mosquito so gave up. As I was leaving I heard squawking high above me . A young Yellow-legged Gull was chasing an adult Audouin's Gull with the intention of robbery. By pure chance a Pallid Swift flew past the protagonists! Heading towards Cabo village I spotted a female Northern Wheatear on the steppes. No sign of the reported Dotterel sadly.
|Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta with Slender-billed Gulls Larus gebei in the middle (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Still having Thermos coffee left, I headed directly to the Rambla Morales. I didn't check out the beach end as a cyclist in green psychedelic gear was having a rest there. On the water and its edges, I found a small group of mostly female White-headed Duck, more Mallard and a few Teal plus Coot and Moorhen. As well as a few Greater Flamingo and Black-headed Gull, a single Red-rumped Swallow and 3 Little Tern flew over. Then it was back home for a late lunch.
Apart from the numerous mosquito bites, it was a good days birding. 47 species in all.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information