Wednesday 26 January 2022

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Birding Group

Wednesday 26 January

As we drove back to Motril from Valencia on the A7 we were passing the exit to Cabo de Gata in mid-afternoon and I thought to myself, "I wonder where Dave and his friends are today?"  No sooner had I reached home in Velez de Benaudalla and I knew the answer!  If we had been a few hours earlier we could well have joined the Abrbolas Biridng Group and also been rewarded with the excellent sightings of both Great Spotted Cuckoo and Trumpeter Finches.

Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales: Wednesday 26th January

Slender-billed Gull Larus genei (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Todays jaunt to Cabo de Gata was a risk as the forecast was for rain.  I left home early and arrived at the far end of the reserve by 08.15.  It was overcast and a tad windy.  To start with I didn't see any birdlife on the first salina.  A Stonechat flew past on to the scrubland. My first "water" bird was a Redshank. Next I saw some Greater Flamingos and some close Slender-billed Gulls.  I added Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Dunlin and Little Stint plus some Shelduck.  As I passed the evergreen hedge a Chiffchaff flew out, but then I was elated to see a Great Spotted Cuckoo fly out, disappearing to the right.  It was probably the earliest record I've had of this species.  I also saw Northern Starling, House Sparrow and Collared Dove before getting to the first hide.

Dunlin Calidris alpina (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Being chilly, I stayed in the truck and scanned the view in front of me.  There was a Cattle Egret resting just beyond the fence.  I was in the process of getting a photo when up it went as a fox ran close past it. Out on the water, apart from the numerous Greater Flamingos I found 17 Spoonbill, Black-tailed Godwit, Mallard and Little Egret.  An Eurasian Curlew flew over.  I was joined by Alan and Trevor. Alan found 6 Wigeon on the far side.  After some time we adjourned to Cabo village for a coffee.

We then went in my truck along the beach side track towards the Rambla Morales.  A pair of Trumpeter Finch showed well albeit briefly.  Three Thekla Larks were seen.   At the brackish lake Alan saw some Shelduck.  We also had numerous Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Greater Flamingos.  Wildfowl included Teal, Shoveler, Common Pochard, Mallard and White-headed Duck.  There were also 3 Grey Heron, some Black-headed Gulls, a pair of Black-necked Grebes, a Little Grebe, Coot and Moorhen. We heard a Cetti's Warbler.  No sign of the Blue Winged Teal or Bonaparte's Gull.

 We made our way to the public hide on the Cabo reserve.  A small flock of Greenfinch greeted our arrival.  There were about half a dozen Cormorants on the left hand causeway.  Amongst the Lesser Black-backed Gulls was an immature Yellow-legged Gull.  Nearby there were two Black-headed Gulls. As we left to drive along the church track a Stonechat was seen.  We then headed for home.  I saw a Jackdaw as I went along the short cut.

We ended up with 38 species, the stars being the early Great Spotted Cuckoo and the Trumpeter Finches.  The weather Gods were kind.  Only a few spots of rain, but it was chilly.
Regards, Dave

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

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