Wednesday 16 December 2020

 Wednesday 16 December

With restrictions being lifted good to see that Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group can once again meet up, bearing in mind present social distancing and safety measures, to go birding.  And what better way to start than pay a visit to the beautiful Cabo de Gata.

Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales: Wednesday16 December

Have been so looking forward to a trip to Cabo de Gata and Rambla Morales.  I picked Rob up early so we could check out the small park in Retamar Sur where Wryneck have been seen in the past. Unfortunately we dipped out, but did see Blackbird, Collared Dove, House Sparrow, Spotless Starling and Greenfinch.

We headed towards Cabo and as we were still early, I diverted to the rear track of the reserve from Pujaire end where Stone Curlew can often be seen.  The sun was dead ahead so observations were difficult but we saw Northern Starling, Black Redstart and Stonechat.  Carrying on Rob saw a bird of prey flying to our right.  I got out for a better view and was elated to see the white rump of a female Hen Harrier!  We did a U-turn at the ruined building and had better vision, the sun now being behind us.  We added Hoopoe, Iberian Grey Shrike, Sardinian Warbler, Zitting Cisticola and White Wagtail.

We made our way to the first hide where John, Kevin and Trevor were waiting.  We were joined by Michael, Karen and Neville.  There were plenty of Greater Flamingos spread around and numerous Crag Martins flying about.  A Grey Heron was on the rocky causeway.  In the water surrounding it were a number of Black-tailed Godwits, a few Avocet and a pair of Oystercatchers.  I spotted a Grey Plover over to the right.  Kevin found a Shelduck and John, a Redshank.  Rob added a Little Egret and the first of many Cormorants seen.  I checked out the distant Spoonbill spot and sure enough I counted 15 individuals.  A Ringed Plover flew over.  John also saw a Yellow-legged and Black-headed Gull. An Iberian Grey Shrike was on the power line.

Lonely Dotterel Charadrius carambolo

We moved on to the second hide after a coffee break.  Only a couple of Cormorants out on the virtually flat sea.  A flock of Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew over.  From the hide we added Mallard.  Kevin was first to spot some Black-winged Stilts.  Rob saw a Chiffchaff.  Probably saw 8-10 during the day which is a lot less than expected.  Kevin found some Stone Curlew on the savannah.  I added a Kestrel trying to locate them.  John found a Slender-billed Gull, an Eurasian Curlew and a Kentish Plover.

We drove to the third hide stopping point.  We searched the rough land between the road and beach where Dotterel had seemed to like but nothing.  I checked out the next plot and sure enough a single Dotterel was there. John spotted an adult Gannet flying by.  Walking to the hide we added Meadow Pipit.  From there had a good view of another Eurasian Curlew.  The Greater Flamingos were doing their long necked dance.  Rob found a Common Sandpiper.

Linedancing Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus rosua

We moved to the public hide.  John checked out the rocky causeway to the right.  Lots of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Sandwich Terns.  Also seen was a Little Ringed Plover and a Sanderling. From the hide we only added a Little Stint.  We were surprised that there were no Black-necked Grebes.  We travelled out via the church and only saw Thekla Larks on the fence.  Driving back along the road towards Cabo village I spotted another Dotterel opposite the second hide.

We made our way to the Rambla Morales, leaving Neville, Michael and Karen behind due to low slung cars.  Rob spotted a flying Grey Heron.  Shortly after we saw a flying Raven and one on the deck. Once parked up we walked down to the hump.  Not a bird in sight!  Eventually a Coot appeared. Trevor found a Moorhen.  Some people movement to our right put 30+ Cormorants and 3 Grey Heron to flight.  Kevin found 3 Shoveler in the reed line.  Our last bird of the day was a female Marsh Harrier spotted by John.

A total of 53 species seen. A great day out in great company.  It's good to be back!

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