17 September, Arboleas Birding Group, Cabo de Gata

Another most welcome report of the doings of the Almería people. The photos are, of course, Dave's.

His note about seeing Sanderlings reminds me that I received a heads-up about colour ringed Sanderlings from a project organised by the Dutch but involving birds from such cold places as Greenland. So, if you happen to see one bearing colour rings,please do take note as to what colours, in what order,on each leg and let me know. I shall get in touch with the Dutch and let the oberver know the history of his bird. The same goes for any colour ringed bird, remember the history of the Spoonbill I saw recently at the Guadalhorce.

Anticipation was high this morning as 4 members of the group headed for Cabo de Gata. The weather was sunny with a few clouds, but there was a strong wind from the west. We were hoping that any migrants would be held in abeyance on the coast waiting for a more northerly wind to assist them on their way to Africa or an easterly to push them towards the Straits of Gibraltar.
Our hearts dropped when we arrived at the first hide. The water level had dropped so we were over 300m from its edge. In the distance we, of course, could see the Greater Flamingo. (Gilly's total for the day was 346). Numerous Avocets were identified, but other waders needed closer examination. A Southern Grey Shrike and a Subalpine Warbler were seen in the scrubland. Checking the sea from the beach didn't produce anything, so we walked to the next hide. 23 Grey Herons were in a group. Black-tailed Godwits were numerous. Ringed and Kentish Plovers were in good numbers and singles of Curlew, Grey Plover and Oystercatcher were seen. A few Little Terns were still here as were a small number of Sandwich Terns. A female Marsh Harrier put all to flight apart from the Flamingoes. A flight of 6 or so Yellow Wagtails were on the scrubland as well as a juvenile Woodchat Shrike and a Corn Bunting. We had the same lack of water outside the public hide, but there was water to the right. A Whimbrel was wandering along the waters edge and a female Black-eared Wheatear was on the scrub near Thekla Larks. Around the back of the reserve a 200+ flock of Audouin's were resting. Lots of waders seen. A single Turnstone was spotted as were numerous Sanderling, Green and Redshank. Shoveler Ducks had arrived in force in their eclipse form. The female Marsh Harrier was joined by a male. Melodious and Spectacled Warbler were noted and a low flying Sparrowhawk was spotted.

On the way to lunch, close to the visitor centre entrance we stopped to check out two birds of prey which turned out to be Honey Buzzards, but even more surprising was a flock of over 60 Turtle Doves hanging around in the tall Aloe Vera type plants.
A very satisfactory 50 species for the day.

PS: Yes, John, I should have written Red-necked Nightjars but you are correct in surmising I had been thinking about the divers as it was the sheet that I was working on at that moment!

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