Wednesday 28 September 2022

Cabo de Gata

Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura

Tuesday 27 September

A stop at Cabo de Gata on my long journey from Malaga to Lliria, just north of Valencia, proved somewhat of a disappointment.  Havin left Jenny at the airport at 5 I arrived at this lovely Almeria site not long after sunrise at 8.30 to discover nothing!  Somebody had pulled the plug leaving the salinas completely dry and not even a damp patch let alone any mud.  Flamingos by the score?  Not a chance, just the sight of a distant single Stonechat posing atop a small bush.  So onto the public hide where, at least, I did note some resting gulls on the beach so worth a very short walk to the entrance track to confirm that they were Yellow-legs.  They were but, in addition, maybe a dozen Audouin's Gulls whilst out over the choppy sea a couple of fishing Gannets.  Perhaps just as well that I made a note of the resident Rock and Collared Doves along with a few House Sparrows and Spotless Starlings.

Audouin's Gulls Larus audounii

Leaving the public hide I drove along the track towards the church and added Thekla Larks to the Meadow Pipit I passed on the way to the hide.  Even a Kestrel had the courtesy to rise from a nearby bush and come to rest on a pylon to offer a better sight. But then I noticed some very pale shapes on the dried out remains of the harvested salt, more damp than muddy.  With bins able to recognise that the shapes were more gulls, maybe a couple of score.  Making use of the scope a good number of Lesser Black-backed as well as more Yellow-legged Gulls but also as many as a dozen Sandwich Terns. Even a lone Heron decided it was worth a resting place.

Find the Sandwich Terns Sterna sandvicensis and Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus without a scope!!!

With so little seen I drove over the peak and down to the lighthouse area where I recorded a quartet of Black Wheatears and more Thekla Larks.  Nevermind recording probably as many as thirty species, I finally ended up with a grand total of fifteen!  Just as well I also added both Magpie and Wood Pigeon before leaving Andalucia on my way north.

Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura

Birds seen:

Gannet, Heron, Kestrel, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Thekla Lark, Meadow Pipit, Black Wheatear, Stonechat, Magpie, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow.

Yellow-legged Gulls Larus michalellis

Resting Audouin's Larus auduinii (left) and Yellow-legged Gulls Larus michalellis

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