Thursday 7 June 2018

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Birdig Group

Wednesday 6 June

Another good day's birding for Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group with some lovely sightings.  Obviously, at the moment, waders seem to be a bit of a rarity and where were all the Flamingos, were they counted in scores or hundreds?

Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales: Wednesday 6th June

As I was on my own this morning, I made an early start to do the rear of Cabo de Gata reserve before meeting up with the others at 09.30hrs.  I was at the start of the rear track by 07.45hrs.  Weather was sunny, but the sun had not yet completely cleared the mountains so I was in shade to begin with.  The sea was surprisingly rough with breakers crashing onto the beach and fine spray coming over the road.  The first birds I saw were Yellow-legged and Audouin's Gulls resting on the salina.  Thekla Larks were quite numerous.  On the water's edge of the next salina produced Avocets and  long-legged fluff ball chicks, Grey, Ringed and Kentish Plovers and a handsome Slender Billed Gull.  Also seen were Greater Flamingos and Shelduck.  Smaller birds included Sardinian Warbler, Common Swift and Iberian Grey Shrike.  As I reached the last field I spotted a pair of Lesser Short-toed Larks. I ended my short tour with Hoopoe, Kestrel and Greenfinch.

Slender-billed Gull Larus genei (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

I met up with Barrie, Beryl, John and Pete in the Pastelaria cafe near Pujaire.  I noted our usual cafe in the village had now re-opened after refurbishment.  As I parked there I saw Red-rumped Swallows. Barrie and John had seen a Little Owl on a nearby building which was still there as we left....the Little Owl as well as the building!  We headed to the first hide, seeing Blackbird, Barn Swallow and Kestrel on the way.  There was a Black-tailed Godwit with some Black-winged Stilt on the small pool to our left.  5 further Godwits were near the rocky causeway together with Avocets and 5 Gull-billed Tern.  A Little Tern was diving for fish.  Also seen were Mallard, House Martin and Yellow Wagtail. Jacky then arrived, followed by a coach full of kids, parents and teachers so we made a tactical exit, heading for the second hide.
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
A brief sea-watch produced a couple of Sandwich Terns spotted by Barrie.  He also spotted a low flying Whimbrel from the hide.  A pair of Pallid Swifts showed well. The public hide only added Sanderling to the list, but we saw more Grey Plover, Yellow Wagtail and Shelduck.

Fluffy Avocet chick  Recurvirostra avosetta (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We headed to the lighthouse hoping to see some Peregrine Falcons, but alas, no sign of them.  A pair of Black Wheatear was our only addition.  Here Jacky was tempted away by the chance of a new walk in stunning scenery.  Us others drove up to the Vela Blanca ridge.  Barrie spotted a Rock Bunting on a power line.  Pete and I saw a pair of them on the way down.
We convoyed along to the Rambla de Morales.  The wind had increased.  We saw a White Wagtail on the track.  As we parked up, a pair of Black-winged Stilt flew off from the estuary.   In the reeds we heard both Great Reed and Reed Warblers.  From the "hump" we found a few White-headed Duck, a Coot and a pair of Black-necked Grebe.  More Pallid Swifts showed well as did a House Martin.  We headed back to the vehicles.  A tern landed on the beach, but was disturbed by a passing cyclist. Barrie and John later saw it was a Common Tern. 
After our lunch outside the beach cafe in Cabo Village where Pete spotted an overflying Audouin's Gull, I suggested we checked out the Lesser Short-toed Lark site from earlier.  Luckily there was one still there.  Pete and I missed the Raven the others saw from their car!
We ended up with 45 species for the day. Good weather, company and birding.  What more could you ask for?
Regards, Dave

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