a few records and the Arboleas Birding Group to 23 April

Once again, not a lot of my own observations as I have not been out, although observations from the terrace include a female Spectacled Warbler playing hard to see on 13/04 and on 14/04 a Woodchat Shrike and a Nightingale, this strutting around on the grass as though it owned the place.

Yesterday, 22 April, Javier Fregenal (in avesforum) visited Fuente de Piedra and enjoyed some 14 spp. of waders, including a Pectoral Sandpiper on the new water flash in front of the mirador by the information centre, plus 43 Ruffs (and, one presumes, Reeves), 72 Curlew Sandpipers and 71 Little Stints amongst the best. And for those who are interested in these things (me), two pairs of Lesser Flamingos appear to be involved in incubation duties. Will they breed this year?

And now for the report of 22 April from the Arboleas Birding Group kindly provided by Dave and Gilly. As usual, the photos are Dave's. We also had a very thick fog here in Torremolinos in mid afternoon.

Arboleas Birding Group - 22nd April 2009 - Cabo de Gata
The sun was shining as Gilly and I left Arboleas, but as we approached Cabo de Gata we drove into a sea mist which was with us on & off all day. At the first hide the highlight was a pair of Oystercatcher amongst the numerous Avocet, the Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover and Redshank. Red-rumped Swallows were commoner than the Barn Swallow.
The sea conditions were ideal for birdwatching. Virtually a flat calm, but unfortunately the sea mist restricted long distance views and in any case we saw nothing! At the next hide Gilly's count of Greater Flamingo only produced 60 odd birds.

At the public hide we had good views of a female Subalpine Warbler. Three Common Tern and a single Little Tern were seen. High flying and very noisy Sandwich Terns were abundant. A small flock of Lesser Short-toed Larks flew over.

After a birdless trip to the lighthouse we ventured round the rear of the reserve. The track was very muddy and rutted. We were glad we were in our 4x4 and apparently no vehicles had travelled that route recently. Lots of waders had been undisturbed. Redshank, black Spotted Redshank stood out, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Little Stint, Greenshank, but the stars of the show were Curlew Sandpipers in breeding plumage. 100+ Audouin's Gulls flew over. On the scrub Crested Lark were very obliging. A single Northern Wheatear was seen and three Stone Curlews were put to flight on our arrival. A very good count of 45 species.

Next week we're dropping friends off at Alicante Airport, so are visiting El Hondo reserve near Elche, which I hear is now fully open.

Dave & Gilly

A jolly good day's wadering, both there and at Fuente de Piedra, although I would disagree with Dave about the stars being the Curlew Sands., they are in a supporting rôle when compared with summer plumaged Spotted Redshanks. Hopefully I am off to the Tarifa-La janda area tomorrow and might have something good to report!

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