Wednesday 8 December 2021

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Birding Group

 Wednesday 8 December

David and his Arboleas Birding Group were at Cabo de Gata this morning and his frst comment referred to the "glorious sunshine" whilst I awaited the removal men in Stamford under cloudy skies and a light drizzle.  Fortunately, the men arrived early and as they backed into the drive the rain stopped.  Just a light shower around Northampton on the way south but arriving in Warsash at the mouth of the Hamble river on Southampton Water the sun was shining and Jenny reported it had been like that all day.  Looks like our weather was the opposite way round by the end of the morning!So whilst I had to be content with the usual Carrion Crow, Rook, Magpie and Wood Pigeons, albeit half a dozen Red Kite were worth seeing as I motored along, Dave and friends were enjoying a wonderful selection of Spanish birds.  Just hope they will have left some for me when I return in mid-January!

Cabo de Gata  -  Wednesday 8th December

In glorious sunshine I picked up Juda and Nevill from Los Gallardos.  We headed south, our final destination being Cabo de Gata.  The closer we got the horizon got darker and murkier.  The winds increased to force six or seven!

En route to the first hide I noted Collared Dove and White Wagtail.  Kevin and Val were both on scene. Kevin's list included Greater Flamingo, Black-winged Stilt, Yellow-legged Gull, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Spoonbill, Shoveler, Redshank, Little Egret and Mallard.  We were joined by Les, Trevor, Michael and Karen.  As I did the paperwork, Les did a further scan.  On the rocky causeway he found a Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Greenshank and a pair of Ruff.  The half dozen or so Spoonbill were sheltering from the wind further up the salina.

I decided it was coffee time, but unfortunately, as it was a Red day (Bank holiday) our designated cafe was closed!  I carried on along the beach road, checking the savannah for any Dotterel.  No signs.  The sea was very rough.  I added Thekla Lark whilst both Les and I spotted the small flock of Greenfinch. The only addition from the second hide was Northern Starling.

And a hearty welcome to Cabo de Gata!

We returned to the vehicles and travelled slowly along the beach road but still no sign of any Dotterels. We went to the public hide which gave us some respite from the gale.   There was a small flock of sheltering gulls to our left.  They were mostly Lesser Black-backed Gulls, some Black-headed Gulls and a few Yellow-legs.  Les identified a pair of Sandwich Terns on the right hand end.  Val glimpsed a Black-necked Grebe.  Along the edge of the right hand salina I found a Sanderling, a Little Stint, a Redshank and a pair of  "pinky" Slender-billed Gulls.

"Pinky" Slender-billed Gulls Larus genei 

We adjourned to the Pujaire cafe for brunch.  We said our farewells to Nevill who leaves for the UK permanently next week.  Les does the same journey before Christmas, but hopefully we'll see him next week.  En route back to the motorway I added Stonechat and Magpie which took our daily total to 29. Was good to be out and about in good company, but a shame the weather was bad. 
Regards, Dave

Not a gull or shore wader in sight!

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