Wednesday 15 September 2021

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Birding Group

 Wednesday 15 September

My pleasure to join friend Dave Elliott-Binns and his Arboleas Birding Group for a morning session at beautiful Cabo de Gata up in Almeria province.  However, having stayed on after the group's departure, here I am back in Mezquitilla and Dave's report has arrived before I have even looked at my photos, never mind starting on the blog.  So here follows Dave's report and in the fullness of time I shall complete my own account of the day's happenings, hopefully before tomorrow!

Cabo de Gata   -   Wednesday 15th September

The day didn't start well.  Only about 3 hours sleep.  I picked up Nevill and Juda from Los Gallardos and headed south on the E15/A7 towards Cabo de Gata.  Weather was overcast.  As we were a bit early we checked out the Pujaire end of the rear track.  We saw  Collared Doves and House Sparrows.  On the power line were Spotless Starlings and some resting Barn Swallows.  During the day there was a continuous flow of Barn Swallows heading south west.  Carrying on I spotted a Marsh Harrier.  We then had an immature Woodchat Shrike followed by a Thekla Lark.  I then found a pair of cuddling Turtle Doves atop a shrub.  Juda spotted a pair of White Wagtails followed by a flight of 10 Grey Heron heading towards the salinas.  By the deposito as we rejoined the tarmac was a pair of Red-rumped Swallows.  A Hoopoe flew by.

We made our way to the first hide where we met up with Alan and Trevor.  Bob Wright arrived a short time later.  Meanwhile Alan had logged Redshank, Greenshank, Spoonbill, Dunlin, Kentish Plover, Avocet and Greater Flamingo.  There was an Iberian Grey Shrike on the power line.  Alan found a Shelduck.  A scan revealed Slender-billed Gulls, Little Egrets and a few Black-tailed Godwits.  A distant bird of prey was spotted.  It eventually revealed itself to be a female Montagu's Harrier.  A Kestrel was seen by a pylon and Trevor added a Hoopoe.  Alan then saw an Eurasian Curlew head over the village.

Iberian Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns

Bob said that a Lesser Flamingo had been seen round the rear of the reserve, but further on from where Juda, Nevill and myself had turned round.  We headed back past the ruined building and towards the rear hide.  We stopped and scanned the Greater Flamingo flocks but without success, but we did add Black-winged Stilt, Ruff and Sanderling.  Bob found a Willow Warbler.  A Turtle Dove was seen landing in a bush.
Skulking Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns

After a reviving cup of coffee in Cabo village, we made our way to the second hide.  Bob found a Spotted Flycatcher.  Another Willow Warbler was seen as was a Woodchat Shrike and two Iberian Grey Shrikes.  I found a single Cormorant and Alan spotted 3 flying Glossy Ibises.   A search for Stone Curlews only revealed some Kestrels.  I interrupted Bob to point out a flying Spoonbill.

Juvenile Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns

We moved on to the public hide.  A small bird was on the fence but flew off before a proper ID.  Luckily Trevor re-discovered it...a Whinchat.  Alan found about half a dozen Black-necked Grebes and also found a resting Sandwich Tern.  Also seen were lots of Avocets, Lesser Black-back and Black-headed Gulls.

I was decidedly waning by now so we did the church track, only seeing Thekla Lark before heading home after saying our goodbyes. 

Many thanks to Bob for coming out with the group (and for the bottle of wine!). We ended with 40 species for the day. Great birding in good company.


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