Wednesday 23 February 2022

Cabo de Gata with the Arboleas Birding Group

 Wednesday 23 February

Trumpeter Finches and a large number of White-headed Ducks so not at all bad for the Arboleas Birding Group's visit to Cabo de Gata and neighbouring Rambla Morales. And you even managed to double the number of Grey Plover seen by myself this morning whilst walking the Hamble river downstream.  On the other hand, I did have a Peregrine Falcon and a flock of 120 Dunlin with almost as many Brent geese.

Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales: Wednesday 23rd February

The trip didn't start well for me as I went to the wrong pick up point for Juda...picked her up 15 minutes late and was only a couple of minutes late at the meeting place, the first hide at Cabo de Gata. Unsurprisingly Kevin, Alan, Val, Trevor and Peter had already arrived.  Kevin furnished me with his list.  Greater Flamingo, Avocet, Slender Billed Gull, Spoonbill, Black Tailed Godwit and Iberian Grey Shrike.  I scanned the view in front of me. I counted 26 Avocet and 16 Black Tailed Godwits.  Alan found one of the two Grey Plovers Kevin had seen on the savannah.  Alan spotted a Shelduck.  Trevor added a Chaffinch.  I saw a small flock of Northern Starlings, a passing Cormorant, an Eurasian Curlew and a high flying Grey Heron.  Alan found some Dunlin.  A Greenfinch flew by as did a single Barn Swallow seen by Alan.

After a coffee in Cabo village we headed to the Rambla Morales along the beachside track.  En route I added a White Wagtail and a Sandwich Tern.  We parked up and were happy to see about a dozen Barn Swallows feeding at the sea end.  Alan also spotted a House Martin.  Also there were Sanderling, Dunlin, and Ringed Plover.  A bit further along was a group of male and female Shovelers.  Amongst them was what appeared to be a smaller female duck.  Checking the photograph later I believe it is just a small female shoveler!  Kevin spotted some Black Winged Stilts and Alan a Sardinian Warbler.  Also seen were a Grey Heron, Black Headed Gulls, a Coot, 63 Greater Flamingos and overflying Lesser Black Backed Gulls.  Kevin found some (14) Common Pochard.  Alan scanned further along the water and found a Moorhen, a Teal and 41 White Headed Ducks.  I spotted a flushed Snipe and Val got a Little Grebe.  Alan re-checked the estuary and added Turnstone and Little Stint.  A Gannet was found by Kevin.  I led the vehicles back along the track.  I saw a small flock of birds on the savannah to the left.  About a dozen Corn Buntings plus a pair of Trumpeter Finches.

Shovelers Anas clypeata (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We made our way to the 2nd hide.  Myself and Juda stayed by the beach as my leg was aching.  We added nothing.  The others only added a Little Egret to the list.  Nothing new was seen at the public hide.  The others headed for the salinas at the back of the next village.  Alan and co saw a Kestrel.  Only Kevin found the right view point and saw 60+ Audouin's Gulls and a similar amount of Lesser Black Backed Gulls.

We all met up at the cake shop cafe for a snack lunch.

We only saw 16 species at Cabo de Gata, but 27 more at Rambla Morales giving us a total of 43.  Not bad considering the cloudy weather and gusty winds.  Thank you all for attending.  A good day.

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