Wednesday 11 May 2022

 Wednesday 11 May

Looks we were both out in the hot sunshine today but, for me, decidedly on the cool side atop the Sierra Loja from early morning.  Great to see Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group out and about and finding a great selection of birds.  Still hope to join them for a meet in June once out here on my own again.

Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales: Wednesday 11th May

As I was travelling alone down to Cabo de Gata, I left early so I could "do" the rear of the reserve.  I came off at junction 467 (761) on the A7/E15 and started the list.  By the time I'd got to Cabo village I'd seen Jackdaw, Collared Dove, Barn Swallow and Thekla Lark.  As I drove along the beach road I added a pair of Greenfinch perched on the roadside wooden fence.

Reaching the start of the rear track, I stopped to write up the list and then moved off.  The first salina is usually devoid of birds, but today was different.  The first birds were Shelduck, followed by Avocet, a single Spotted Redshank, Kentish Plover, Redshank, Ringed Plover and Dunlin.  Next were some Slender-billed and Yellow-legged Gulls.  On the far bank was a Grey Plover in full breeding plumage. On a sandbank, there were 4 Whimbrel in a row.  Also seen were Greater Flamingos and Little Egret. Smaller birds included Spotless Starlings, an Iberian Grey Shrike on the power line, an Iberian Yellow Wagtail and a vociferous Corn Bunting.  There was a steady stream of passing Gull-billed Terns.  As I got to the hedge where little birds seem to recover from their migration, I was delighted to see a Purple Heron take off from the left hand shrubland.  As I got back on to the tarmac, I saw a small flock of Goldfinch.

Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

As I waited for the other members to arrive at the first hide I spotted a Black-winged Stilt, a House Martin and a female Black-eared Wheatear.  I was joined by Franz and Marga, Trevor, Michael and Karen and Ab and Jenny.  Scanning the water in front of the hide we saw Avocet, Greater Flamingos and Slender-billed Gulls.  Down the left hand waters edge I found a couple of Little Egrets and a single Spoonbill.  A rescue helicopter overflying flushed some Mallard from the wet area behind us.  Also seen were Thekla Lark, House Sparrow and Common Swift. 

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We made our way to the second hide.  The sea was calm and devoid of birds.  At the hide we found an Iberian Grey Shrike.  Nothing else was added to the list so we returned to the vehicles.  Who should turn up but Barrie and Beryl who'd literally just got off the early morning flight from Gatwick!  Now that's dedication!

We moved to the public hide.  We added Little Tern and Red-rumped Swallow.  Barrie spotted Dunlin and Redshank.  Franz found a Ringed Plover.  Some Yellow Wagtails were seen.  The drive along the church track only produced some Greenfinch.

We next headed towards the Rambla Morales.  I missed the Zitting Cisticola seen by Barrie and Franz. At the brackish lake there was a wide variety of Terns.  We saw Whiskered, Gull-billed, Common and Sandwich Terns.  The water level was surprisingly low with a sandy shelf on the far side.  On there were Dunlin, some sitting terns, Ringed and Kentish Plover and a Sanderling found by Franz.  Barrie was the first to see the flying Glossy Ibis which landed further along the lake.  There were 4 White-headed Duck.  Barrie found a Black-necked Grebe.  Also seen were Black-winged Stilt, House Martin, Black-headed and Slender-billed Gulls and Common Pochard.  Karen spotted a Goldfinch.

It was lovely to be out with the group again.  Sunny weather with a breeze.  We ended up with 45 species.  Great day in good company. 

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