Thursday 28 September 2017

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Birding Group

Wednesday 27 September

This week's visit by the Arboleas Birding Group saw the party at Cabo de Gata with a follow-on to the Rambler Morales where some good birds were recorded, including late Common Swifts.  Must have been great to see the Red Kite and Bluethroats and more regular sightings of Iberian Grey Shrike are always welcome.  I look forward to joining this little band of happy pilgrims when we visit El Fondo on Saturday morning.

Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales
Wednesday 27th September

Slender-billed Gull Larus genei  (PHOTO: David & Gilly Elliott-Binns)
Hoping for some migrants, Gilly and I headed to Cabo de Gata early in order to do the rear of the reserve before we met up with others from the group later.  As we passed the beach we saw Audouin's and Yellow-legged Gulls on the beach.  Once on the track we saw Stonechat and Chiffchaff flitting along the wire fencing.  Some Ringed Plovers were on the first salina.  A Marsh Harrier flew over.  We flushed a covey of 12 Red-legged Partridge as we came down from the ruined farm buildings.  Closer to the waters edge now we had good views of Sanderling, a young Dunlin and a Slender-billed Gull. 
Sanderling Calidris alba (PHOTO: David & Gilly Elliott-Binns)

Gilly spotted a Iberian Grey Shrike.  Back in the water were Avocet, Greater Flamingo and Black-winged Stilt.  Further along we had Zitting Cisticola and Sardinian Warbler before everything took off in panic as a female Sparrowhawk flew by landing in a nearby bush.  In the next Salina there were at least 100+ Shoveler and some Black-necked Grebe, Mallard, Shelduck and a Redshank.  A Sand Martin flew by.  Gilly spotted some Greenshank and a Hoopoe whilst I found a first winter Bluethroat.  As we reached the end of the track 4 Stone Curlew took to the air and a Red-rumped Swallow was seen.  We'd seen 32 species as we met up with Barrie P, Beryl, Barrie A, Jan and John at the Pujaire cafe!

Bluethroat Luscinia scecica (PHOTO: David & Gilly Elliott-Binns)
After a coffee we made our way to the first hide.  On the wader front we saw a small flock of Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, a Ruff, a single Bar -tailed Godwit, Avocet, Greenshank, Dunlin, Ringed and Grey Plover and Eurasian Curlew.

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula (PHOTO: David & Gilly Elliott-Binns)
Again everything took to the air apart from the Greater Flamingo as an Osprey flew over and attempted to catch a fish.  We then had a steady stream of raptors come over.  Firstly Booted Eagles, then Honey Buzzards, but the rarest for us was a Red Kite. 

Red Kite Milvus milvus (PHOTO: David & Gilly Elliott-Binns)
A female Marsh Harrier came over.  I spotted a Northern Wheatear on the power line.  Also seen were Iberian Shrike, Common Swift and a Whinchat.  Little Egret and Grey Heron were also added before we headed to the second hide.
Nothing to speak of out to sea.  On the walk to the hide some of the group spotted Stonechat, Greenfinch and a Pied Flycatcher in the shrubs.  Barrie P found some Spectacled Warblers with an Iberian Grey Shrike.  Barrie A spotted an obliging Bluethroat.  Gilly found a distant flying Raven. Barrie P added a juvenile Black-eared Wheatear whilst I found a juvenile Woodchat Shrike.  Gilly counted 427 Greater Flamingos

Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca (PHOTO: David & Gilly Elliott-Binns)
At the public hide John saw a Turnstone and Curlew Sandpiper.  We also had Greenshank, Black Necked Grebe and Avocets.

Juvenile Dunlin Calidris alpina (PHOTO: David & Gilly Elliott-Binns)
It was then lunchtime so we adjourned to our usual cafe next to the beach in Cabo village.  I somehow missed the 5 Whimbrel flying past!

Osprey Pandion haliaetus (PHOTO: David & Gilly Elliott-Binns)
We then convoyed towards the Rambla Morales.  A pair of Raven were seen perched on concrete posts.  At the pool things were quiet in comparison to the earlier birding.  We added Teal, Coot and White-headed Duck.  A small swirling flock of Sand Martin was near the beach.  Barrie P heard a Cetti's Warbler.  Gilly and I had the female Sparrowhawk as we made our way to the campsite.

Raven Corvus corax (PHOTO: David & Gilly Elliott-Binns)
A great days birding in good company.  Checking both lists, Gilly and my list from earlier and the group's list, I think we saw about 60 species.
Photos by Gilly and I.
Regards, Dave
The hiding Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus (PHOTO: David & Gilly Elliott-Binns)
Thekla Lark Galerida theklae (PHOTO: David & Gilly Elliott-Binns)

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