Wednesday 5 June 2019

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Birding Group

Wednesday 5 June

A windy day here so not surprised to see that Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group  seem to be blown away up at Cabo de Gata.  It certainly seems far removed form his El Fondo visit last Saturday nevermind the recent Morocco visit.

Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales: Wednesday 5th June

Kindly Paul was press-ganged into driving myself, Reyna, Stan and new lady, Claire in his 4x4.  Five up in mine makes it too cosy in the rear!  We met up with John, Barrie and Trevor at the Pujaire cafe and were shortly joined by Abe and Jenny.  We'd seen Kestrel, House Martin, Bee Eater and Jackdaw after the motorway, but we were trumped by Barrie and John's sighting of a Peregrine Falcon near junction 471....only a bit away from the specified bird logging area!
After a coffee we made our way to the first hide where we were joined by Karen and Michael who'd dropped Michael's brother off at the airport.
On the rocky causeway sat a Grey Heron.  There were small groups of Avocet sheltering from the predicted high winds.  I counted 81 Greater Flamingos on that first expanse of water.  Little Terns were diving for fish.  Also seen were Mallard, Shelduck, Yellow-legged Gull and Kentish Plover. Barrie spotted both Black-winged Stilt and a Greenshank.  He then added a flying Oystercatcher and a Little Ringed Plover.  John, who wasn't hunkered down in the hide(!), added Audouin's Gull and Common Swift.  We also saw Black-headed Gull and Thekla Lark.
Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus sheltering from the wind (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We then drove to the second hide.  Here there was even less shelter and the waves were crashing onto the beach.  Trevor spotted a Greenfinch, whilst Barrie found an Iberian Grey Shrike atop the hide. Once inside he then found 2 Spoonbill and some Slender-billed Gulls in the pond to the right.  A Barn Swallow flew by.  As we were leaving Paul saw a Black Tern.
In the public hide we only added a Yellow Wagtail.  It was generally agreed a coffee was required, so we stopped in a Fish Restaurant.  Peering out the window, Barrie spotted something flying low over the water.  We all went outside and had reasonably good, but fleeting views of some passing Cory's Shearwaters! 
We saw more when we went up to the lighthouse.  There was a steady stream....a pair would pass every few minutes or so.  Barrie then spotted one, then another Alpine Swift.  Trevor later found a Raven.  Paul and I saw a Sardinian Warbler flying across the road.

White water below the lighthouse (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
On the way to the Rambla Morales a number of Sandwich Terns were seen out to sea.  I'm sure the wind speed had increased as we egressed the vehicles.  We were definitely being sand-blasted now! Barrie spotted two pairs of White-headed Ducks.  We walked down to the "hump" which gave us views over the reed tops.  There were more White-headed Ducks.  I spotted two Shoveler.  Also seen were Coot and Moorhen.  John found a Little Grebe and Abe spotted a Purple Swamphen.  Barrie was first to hear, then see a Zitting Cisticola.  As we tacked back towards the vehicles a single Gull-billed Tern was observed by John.  The final bird for the list was a juvenile Gannet spotted by Paul.
Windswept birders on Rambla Morales's "hump" (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Despite the wind, we had a great day in lovely international company.. Claire, French. Abe and Jenny, Dutch and Rena from the Philippines. 

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