Even windier than yesterday for the monthly meeting of the Andalucia Bird Society at Cabo de Gata but, even so, eighteen members present to check out the salinas, lighthouse area and rambla. On the other hand, the very strong winds and arrival of four coach loads of visitors to the lighthouse with the former resulting in most small birds seeking whatever shelter they could find, did result in fewer species and totals than expected and the meeting finishing earlier at about 20.30 with those members staying on for the evening to revisit some of the sites covered during the morning.
Starting at the first hide as the road approached the village, in addition to the Spotless Starlings and Flamingos out on the choppy water we did manage to find a single Grey Plover, a Redshank and a small number of Dunlin before heading off to the Public Hide at the far end of the salinas. here we managed to add a couple of Little Stints and Sanderling as well as seeing more Flamingos and Dunlins. A Shelduck was hiding below the bank in front of the hide and we had chance to look at the mixed flock of Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed and Yellow-legged Gulls. Driving back to the road, in addition to the Sky Lark we picked up on the way in we added a handful of meadow Pipits.
|Crested Lark Cogujada Comun Galerida cristata
Arriving at the road before the lighthouse turn round we settled down to find the local Trumpeter Finches. Lots of Spotted Starlings, then both Black Redstart and Crested Lark. Even a Black Wheatear before the Trumpeter Finch was spotted almost in front of us. It crossed the road, passing a Thekla Lark on the way, and proceeded to feed at its leisure alongside a Crested Lark and completely oblivious to the nine of us watching the bird.
|Trumpeter Finch Camachuelo Trompetero Bucanetes githagineus
Then it was back over them mountain to take the back track around the salinas. We were soon encountering hundreds of sheltering gulls; a mixed bag of Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed and Yellow-legged but also at least thirty Audouin's Gulls. Shelduck numbered a score and at least thirty Avocet recorded. Whilst the Cormorants were inactive in the distance we did see a foraging Kentish Plover and Little Stint at the water's edge. The final species was a handful of Black-winged Stilts before stopping at the hide.
|Audouin's Gulls Gaviota de Audouin Larus audoinii
|Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo watched over by Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis
|Wigeon Silbon Europeo Anas penelope
Finally, whilst awaiting the following two cars to catch us up as we turned back inland to reach the village, A Trumpeter Finch, landed on the track and quietly getting out of the car to get a better look and take a photograph, we noticed that it had been joined by two others. This was to be our last sighting for the day but, meanwhile, Derek and company had had close views of a Spectacled Warbler at the back of the salinas and John and Jenny managed to also see Black-tailed Godwit, Blackbird, Goldfinch and Magpie to take the day's final total up to a very credible minimum of 52 species given the prevailing windy weather. And despite the wind, I think we all had a most enjoyable day's birding.
|Trumpeter Finches Camachuelo Trompetero Bucanetes githagineus
Shelduck, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, White-headed Duck, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Flamingo, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Stone Curlew, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Sky Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Black Wheatear, Blackbird, Spectacled Warbler, Iberian Grey Shrike, Magpie, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Golfinch, Trumpeter Finch.
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