Thursday 10 February 2022

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Birding Group

 Wednesday 9 February

Oh dear, oh dear!  It would seem that the dreaded left-leg syndrome is striking us all down,  Not only Dave on crutches but me still hobbling about, as little as possible, following my staircase encounter two weeks ago in Valencia.  In my case I came downstairs and walked away only to discover that there was still one step to go!  Managed to save myself falling buts suspect that I have pulled/torn either/both tendon/ligament in the back of my left leg.  Very painful and my first birding outing was a slow and leisurely 3km walk alongside the River Hamble in Warsash followed by two days to recover.  But I refuse to lie down, as they say.  Back to the birding.  Please to see that Alan and members of the Arboleas Birding Group found the Trumpeter Finch and that all present managed to get a good sighting.  Certainly seems as if all had a very pleasant morning's birding at one of my favourite sites.  Saw the message but uploading a photo so will included one from my personal library.

Now then Dave, here's hoping for a speedy recovery so that you can once again get out and about.  But if you're going to make a habit of breaking your legs then please do not burn the crutches yet!!!

Cabo de Gata: Wednesday 9 February

Report by Alan in Dave’s absence because of a painful leg condition.  We wish him a speedy recovery.

I met Trevor and Val at Los Gallardos to drive to Cabo de Gata.  We arrived quite early so decided to have a coffee at Pujaire in the bar opposite the one we usually frequented before Covid (which was closed).  Waiting at the first hide were Peter, Mike and Karen, and Alb and Jeni (from the Netherlands, via La Piedra de Zahors in Los Filabres).  Mike had already seen Avocet and Trevor soon added Shelduck.  I saw Slender-billed Gulls and a Thekla Lark landed on a low shrub in front of the hide and began to sing.  Karen had spotted a group of Dunlin feeding and I saw a couple of Redshank.  Val identified a distant Sanderling.  I thought some distant duck were probably Wigeon and we added Greater Flamingo and Stonechat to the list. 

We then adjourned for a coffee, a second one for some whilst others indulged in a tostada fest, in the village.  On the drive towards the other hides a couple of small birds dropped onto the wooden fence on the seaward side and Val, Trevor and I knew quickly that they were Trumpeter Finch so we stopped the car and told the others following behind. Everyone had pretty good views and they were ‘lifers’ for Alb and Jeni.  They were joined by a Greenfinch spotted by Peter and a Pipit was briefly seen although not positively identified. 

Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus (Photographed at Cabo de Gata)

On the approach to the second hide a group of Spotless Starlings was active in the larger bushes.  In the hide, Trevor pointed out about forty Spoonbill and he soon spotted a hovering Kestrel followed by a Raven dive-bombing a gull.  Peter needed to go back to his car and on return he had heard, but not seen, a Hoopoe.  Val saw a Grey Heron.  Continuing along the coastal road, Trevor found an Iberian Grey Shrike on the seaward wooden fencing. 

As we accessed the public hide, two Goldfinches were seen in flight.  Alb found a singing Sardinian Warbler.  Val found a Little Egret and others seen were Lesser Black-backed Gull and Cormorant.  The final addition here were a few Audouin’s Gulls.  We had decided not to do the river Morales as there wasn’t a four-wheel drive vehicle to accompany us and there had been cases of vehicles getting stuck in the soft sand.  Instead, we went up to the lighthouse.  Only the odd gull was seen but on the way down Trevor, Val and I saw a Blue Rock Thrush dart across the road.  Twenty-eight species seen but an enjoyable morning in the sun with some good folk.

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