Wednesday 10 June 2020

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Birding Group

Wednesday 10 June

Whilst I was up in Granada province, friend Dave Elliott-Binns and his Arboleas Birding Group were travelling south and west of Almeria province to visit that lovely birding site at Cabo de Gata.  They must have had excellent weather so, birds or no birds, lovely scenery to enjoy and savour.  In the event, a good turn (as wells as terns!) out saw some lovely birds recorded.  Good to know that we birders are back out in force enjoying nature's lovely provision.

Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales:  Wednesday 10th June

Today we're off to our old stomping ground of Cabo de Gata and the Rambla Morales.  I picked my friend Neville up from Los Gallardos and headed south.  From the motorway to Retamar Sur we logged Bee-eater, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Collared Dove, House Sparrow, Barn Swallow and Common Swift.  As we approached Pujaire we added an Iberian Grey Shrike.  We met up with Trevor, Michael, Karen, Alan and John at the first hide.  The latter two had also seen some Hoopoes after venturing part of the way along the rear track.  The usual suspects were visible from the hide area. Greater Flamingo, Slender-billed Gull, Avocet, Black-winged Stilt and Mallard.  I spotted a distant Grey Heron in flight.  Alan found some Kentish Plover and later a Yellow Wagtail.  Small birds seen included Iberian Grey Shrike, Thekla Lark, Spotless Starling, House Martin and Zitting Cisticola.

We retired to a cafe by the roundabout in Cabo village for a coffee and then headed to the second hide.  A sea scan was negative, but there was a pair of Ravens on the beach.  Moving to the hide, I saw some Terns which turned out to be Little.  I then identified a Gull-billed Tern flying over us. Another Iberian Grey Shrike seen.  John added a Coot and a Cormorant.

Raven Corvus corax (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
As we walked across the savannah to the middle hide we were "shouted" at by a Gull-billed Tern and some Avocets.  Both species appeared to have a nest on one of the islands. John spotted a pair of flying Shelduck.  I found a Black-tailed Godwit as it landed near the hide.  There appeared to be a pair, but from the next hide we could see there were in fact three.

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta with kids (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
The public hide didn't have any confirmed "ticks," but Alan and John may have had a Sandwich Tern, but unconfirmed due to distance and heat haze! 

We departed via the track to the church, where we saw a pair of Kestrel.

We then made our way towards the Rambla Morales.  Alan and John saw a Sanderling before getting the car stuck in soft sand.  Four old men pushing eventually got it free!  There was a Little Egret on the estuary.  As we walked to the hump there was not a bird song to be heard.  A Reed Warbler started up once we got there.  There was a single Greater Flamingo, four Black-winged Stilts and about the same number of Slender-billed Gulls.  We spotted some flying, chirping smaller larks. Checking the song on my phone, we think they were most likely to be Lesser Short-toed Larks.

We returned to the previously mentioned cafe for a lovely tapas lunch.  We ended with 34 species seen.  Great to be back here.  Regards, Dave

PS: Apologies for quality of photos. I blame the distance and the heat haze!

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