Sunday 19 September 2021

Cadiz Palegic with Dave Elliott-Binns

 Saturday 18 September

A lovely report from friend, Dave but this time without his Arboleas Birding Group in which he outlines his recent palegic trip down in Cadiz province.  He may have thought himself short on bird life but he certainly made up for it with close sightings of the mammals in the Strait.

That be Africa over there! (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Chipiona & Tarifa pelagic:  Friday 17th, Saturday 18th September 2021

My mate, Paul, who's over from England drove to my house and we set off on the long journey to Chipiona, north of Cadiz.  We dropped our gear off at the hostel and made for the marina where we ate our snack dinner whilst watching 3-4 Little Swifts flying around.  A Turnstone landed on the quayside.
We were up at 04.30, leaving at 05.00, to give us plenty of time to get to Tarifa port.  We were lucky to find a close parking spot, but were concerned as it had a blue curb, which usually means you have to pay.  As we were eating our weetabix beside the car, I collared two locals who assured me it was ok. 

We met up with Javi and the seven other trippers.  The boat was a bit smaller than the one Javi uses out of Rota and Chipiona and the seats on this one faced inwards, but we coped.  We first travelled a mile or two offshore.  We saw numerous Yellow-legged Gulls, mostly immature ones.  There was the occasional Balearic and Cory's Shearwater, but not in the numbers previously seen.  They didn't want to hang around.  We then got into a good pod of Common Dolphins which were after Flying Fish, a first for me! 

Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We headed towards the Moroccan Coast seeing Mediterranean Gull and Gannet on the way.  Taking a roundabout route to avoid the container ships, we arrived at the designated spot and soon came across small family groups of Pilot Whales.  At one point the skipper stopped the engine and a mother and youngster swam slowly under the boat, by only a few feet.  You could hear them communicating.

Family of Pilot Whales Globicephala melas (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We headed back towards Spain, where the birds seemed to be.  A flight of Common Tern headed out towards the Atlantic as did a flight of Avocet, but I assumed they'd turn north to Donana! Javi tried chumming, but got only Yellow-legged Gulls. 

Young Yellow-legged Gulls Larus michahellis getting the chum (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

A couple of Balearic Shearwaters came for a look but didn't stop.  Meanwhile all the bird action was above us.  Javi spotted the first of two Sparrowhawks, high up and Africa bound.  Then we had about 4 Egyptian Vultures, followed by at least 8 Short Toed Eagles.  Later we added Booted Eagles and topped off with two Marsh Harriers, one male skimming the waves.

Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)us

We ended the day with 13 species.  Even though the volume of birds, especially the shearwaters, was down, we had a great morning.  Javi is a top man.  Got back to the car and no ticket.  Yay! Just the 5 hour drive home to look forward to....NOT!!

Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Pilot Whale Globicephala melas (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Young Pilot Whale having a nose (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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