Wednesday 5 September 2018

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Birding Group

Wednesday 5 September

Good to see that Dave & CO are back from their respective holidays and that the Arboleas Birding Group is once again up and about.  The first visit of the season saw them at Cabo de Gata and neighbouring Ramble Morales where birds a plenty were awaiting their arrival.

Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales

After a long hot summer it was great to be out with the lads and lasses of the Arboleas Birding Group once again.  Us from Arboleas region, Richard, Mike, Diane, Paul, Alec, Gilly and myself met up outside the Humbugs cafe.  We convoyed down in two 4x4s to the Pujaire village cafe where we met up with Les.  We made our way to the first hide.  The water level was a bit low, but there was plenty to see.  There was a wide selection of waders. Avocet, Black Tailed Godwit, Black Winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Dunlin, and a single Curlew Sandpiper.  The star was an uncommon bird here, an Oystercatcher.  

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
There was a steady stream of Barn Swallows passing and Les spotted a Red Rumped as well.  I spotted a Northern Wheatear on a fence to the right and then found a juvenile Woodchat Shrike on a bush behind us.  There were numerous Greater Flamingos (Gilly later counted 725 from the 2nd hide).  Les found some diving Little Tern further up the salina and I spotted a Sandwich Tern on the rocky causeway together with Black Headed, Yellow Legged and Slender Billed Gulls.  On the island beyond the 2nd hide we could see Grey Heron, Little Egret and Spoonbill.  Gilly did well to spot a distant perched Kestrel.  Common and Pallid Swifts, Greenfinch and Iberian Grey Shrikes were also seen.
Juvenile Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Moving on to the 2nd hide, the beach had a small group of resting Yellow Legged Gulls thereon. On the way to the hide I manged to get some photos of a Thekla Lark and another juvenile Woodchat Shrike. A female Marsh Harrier showed well. We confirmed at least two Spoonbill on or near the island opposite. A Cattle Egret was also seen. An Audouin's Gull flew by.

Thekla Lark Galerida theklae (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
At the Public Hide we added an Eurasian Curlew and Les also saw a Little Stint amongst the plovers and Dunlin. Richard saw a pair of Red Legged Partridge near the vehicles.
Lizard with unlucky Dragonfly meal (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We then made our way to the Rambla Morales. I spotted a flying Hoopoe as we drove along the beachside track. There were no waders at the beach end of the lake, but there were a few hirundines hawking around, mainly Barn Swallows but also a few Sand Martins as well. We, apart from Gilly, walked down to the "hump". Les was first to spot the male Common Pochard. Also seen were about half a dozen Coot and 80 odd Greater Flamingos. I spotted some flying Goldfinch. Meanwhile Gilly had seen another female Marsh Harrier making its way along the beach. On the way back along the track we disturbed some Yellow Wagtails.
(PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We lunched at the beachside cafe in Cabo village, only seeing passing gulls as we ate. We ended up with 47 species. We had a great time, not only birdwatching but catching up as well. Our best wishes to Paul as he heads off to Norway for a job. Hopefully he'll be back Christmas time with tales of Eider Ducks & White Tailed Eagles!
Regards, Dave
Sea Daffodil Pancratium maritimum (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

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