13 May. Arboleas Birding Group, Cabo de Gata

Another very welcome report from Dave and Gilly. The shot of the very distant Great Bustard (there have been other occasional records in the Las Almoladeras-Cabo de Gata area) doesn't show enough to warrant putting in, but the lovely little male Kentish Plover certainly does.

Once again, we, Gilly and I, headed back to our favourite local birding site, Cabo de Gata. The weather as we left Arboleas was lovely and sunny, but as we reached our destination there was a cloud covering and a bit of a breeze from the west, so at least we had no heat haze problems.

At the first hide the most numerous birds were Avocets. Amongst them were a few Black-winged Stilts, Shelducks, Mallard and Kentish Plovers on the shoreline. On the scrub behind us we thought we heard a Golden Oriole, but mimicking Spotless Starlings were about.

Things improved when we got to the second hide adjacent to the beach. There were loads of Little Terns diving for food and Sandwich and Common Terns heading out over us to feed out to sea. I then clocked a distant large tern with a red bill. Having seen the report of a possible Elegant species a week or so ago here, my heart missed a beat. I couldn't convince myself it wasn't a Caspian Tern. I was pleased with that. In the pool to the right we spotted a single Marbled Duck and in the scrubland we saw a pair of Spotted Flycatchers. Gilly's Greater Flamingo count was 324.

At the public hide our wader species number was increased with the sightings of Grey Plover, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit and Ringed Plover.

Usually our best area is round the rear of the reserve, but as we slowly meandered our way, there was very little to be seen. Suddenly I noticed a large bird flying up the middle of the salinas. I honestly couldn't believe my eyes.....a Great Bustard. Luckily Gilly grabbed the camera and got some distant "record" shots. We backtracked to the area where we thought it had landed but it had submerged itself into the scrubland. Smugly we headed for lunch, only to be rewarded with a Black Kite near the visitor centre. Kites are not common at all this east in Andalucia.

A very pleasing day. A final count of 39, but if we'd only seen the Bustard it would have been a

good day. Off to Extremadura next week.....lots of Bustards hopefully!!

Dave & Gilly

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