Great day's birding for the Arboleas Birding Group even if the weather was somewhat dubious. Lovely to note the Oystercatcher but it would appear that the Reef Egret reported and photographed yesterday was not putting in an appearance for the gathered members of this friendly and lovely birding group. Getting quite melancholic about when next I might visit this beautiful area of Spain, nevermind Andalucia, and especially disappointed to learn that the local hotel I use is no longer offering single rooms; pay the full price and enjoy the spare bed!
Cabo de Gata - Wednesday 5th May
Today's weather was supposed to be hot and sunny. Well, they lied especially early on! Our destination was Cabo de Gata. I picked up Juda from Los Gallardos and headed south on the A7/E15. South of Sorbas we hit an extended bank of fog which lasted for about 30kms. It cleared but it was still overcast. Coming off the motorway at Jct 467 our first bird was a Magpie. Travelling through Retamar Sur towards the reserve we saw the usual suspects. Collared Dove, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Barn and Red-rumped Swallow and Common Swift. As we approached the first hide a Hoopoe flew across the road in front of us with a beak full of food.
We parked up and began to birdwatch in earnest. Our first delight was a flight of eight Gull-billed Terns flying over. A further three were on the rocky causeway. Also sat there were some Mallard. In the water were Greater Flamingo, Avocet, Slender-billed Gulls, Black-winged Stilts, a few Black-tailed Godwits and a number of Little Egrets. I found a Kentish Plover on the far side and an Iberian Yellow Wagtail perched on top of a shore line shrub. There was an Iberian Grey Shrike on the power lines behind us. Also seen were Yellow-legged Gull and House Martin. We were then joined by Kevin, John, Trevor, Peter and Adrian. John and Trevor had seen Kestrel and Jackdaw en route. Kevin then did a scan and added Spoonbill, Ringed Plover and Shelduck, all of which were obviously hidden from me in full view when I did my initial scan!
|Resting Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus with Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia and Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
After a coffee stop we went to the second hide. Out to sea, John found a Lesser Black-backed Gull. Our only additions to the list from there was some Little Terns and a Cattle Egret which I discovered on the photo I took of some more Spoonbill on the island with a Yellow-legged Gull.
As we stopped next to the road to go to the middle hide a Raven flew by. I spotted a shearwater far out to sea. All I can say it was the size of a Balearic Shearwater. From the hide we saw two Oystercatchers, a Dunlin in breeding plumage and a Sanderling which John found.
|Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Moving to the public hide, we were met by a pair of Greenfinch on the power line. I saw there were numerous Shelduck to the right. Kevin and John also saw an Audouin's Gull there. From the hide we also had Shelduck plus Ringed and Kentish Plover. There were about 6 Little Stints there as well. Juda found a medium sized wader. It was bigger than the passing Plovers but not as big as a Knot. Thin, slightly curving down bill and dark legs. Checking my Collins, the nearest contestant was a young Curlew Sandpiper. Definitely too big for a Broad-billed Sandpiper, two of which were seen at Roquetas yesterday. Kevin said his goodbyes.
We left by the church track, seeing only a Thekla Lark. At the church an army small coach was stuck in the soft sand. I tried without success to pull it out with my truck. They were grateful anyway.
Having decided to miss out on the Rambla Morales after someone got stuck in the sand there last time we had a trip up to the lighthouse. I lead the convoy. John and Trevor were thrilled to see a Trumpeter Finch pass behind my truck....double drat! We only saw Yellow-legged Gull and Spotless Starling at the lighthouse. We retreated to Cabo village for lunch. By this time the sun had actually broken through the clouds.
In addition to the Bee-eater Juda and I saw on our way back to the motorway, we ended up with 41 species. A so so day, but enjoyable all the same. Great company!
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