Wednesday 22 June 2022

Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales

 Wednesday 22 June

It very much looks as if the continuing hot and dry weather is playing havoc with some of our popular birding sites and judging by Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group's visit to the Cabo de Gata today this beautiful location was no exception.  Lack of water seems to have deteriorated to no water so requiring much searching through the whole site and some off-track exploration.  But nothing ventured, nothing gained as Dave and friends eventually had an enjoyable morning recording 31 species rather than the expected fifty plus.

Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales: Wednesday 22nd June

No water if front of the first hide at Caba de Gata (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

For our penultimate trip before the summer break, I decided we'd go to Cabo de Gata.  I picked up Ab from the Overa hotel and headed south on the E15/A7.  The weather after yesterday evening's minor rain and thunderstorm was hot and sunny.  Down at the coast there was a bit of a breeze. En route from the motorway to the first hide beyond Pujaire we logged Blackbird, Collared Dove and House Sparrow. Trevor was already there waiting for us.  As Bill had stated last week, there was no water at all in front of us and consequently no water birds or waders.  We saw Common Swift, Barn Swallow, Thekla Lark and an Iberian Grey Shrike perched on a post over to our right.  Admitting defeat we had our coffee break in Cabo village.

No water beyond the islands at the public hide (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Trevor left his car in the carpark and joined Ab and I in the truck.  Knowing there was  no water in front of the second hide either, we made our way to the public hide, Ab spotting probable Whiskered Terns over the beach.  We fared slightly better here.  The water had retreated beyond the islands.  There were plenty of Greater Flamingos to our left, but only a few in front of us.  There were Avocets and Kentish Plovers.  Thekla Larks were seen on the savannah and from the church track.

Kentish Plover Charadriua alexandrinus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

I drove to the start of the rear track.  We immediately spotted a single Raven, followed by a House Martin.  Ab found a Kestrel.  The first couple of salinas produced little.  Where there was more water we found a group of Audouin's Gulls.  Venturing up to the goat/sheep trough, we saw more Theklas and I spotted another Iberian Grey Shrike.  Back on the salina side track we saw the first of hundreds of Slender-billed Gulls.  Trevor added a pair of Shelduck.  He also spotted some Red-legged Partridge in the shrubs to our right.  Nearing the end of the track we found a group of flitting immature Sardinian Warblers.  We also flushed a pair of Kestrel near the goat compound.  We made our way next towards the Rambla Morales.  I spotted three Sandwich Terns over the breaking waves. 

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

We parked up and began to walk towards the hump.  Trevor spotted a Kentish Plover in the estuary. From the hump we spotted 8 Black Winged Stilts, 10 Avocet and 3 Greater Flamingos.  I spotted an immature White Wagtail being shushed away by a Kentish Plover.  Ab added Shoveler, White-headed Duck and Redshank whilst Trevor found a Coot.  I spotted a Black-necked Grebe.  A pair of Greenfinch flew over.  We wandered back to the truck seeing an immature Yellow-legged Gull.  At the truck, Trevor saw a gull on the beach.  It was in line with a pair of scantily clad female sunbathers!  Awkward moment!  It was an immature Mediterranean Gull.  We departed for lunch.
We finished up with 31 species.  Despite the lack of water we had a good day.

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