28 January, Cabo de Gata, plus Málaga news

Once more, a brave act in view of the amount of rain that had fallen in Almería (and indeed all over Andalucía) Gilly and Dave ventured forth on another possible twitch. Also, there are one or two bits of Málaga news after. So, read on and enjoy Dave's account.

28 January, Cabo de Gata, Arboleas Bird Group After a few days of rain, delaying our trip by 24hrs, Gilly nd I made our way to Cabo de Gata, hoping to
"twitch" the recently sighted Red-necked Phalarope. As anticipated the water level was extremely high. At the first hide a Curlew was sauntering between us and the water.
There were a few Black-tailed Godwits snoozing on the mostly submerged causeway. A pair of Black-winged Stilts flew over. On the scrub Chiffchaffs, Sardinian and Dartford Warblers were enjoying the sunny, windless conditions, as were the Stonechats. We moved to the beach, trying not to disturb the film crew making a Honda car advert! Out to sea Gannets were patrolling and a flotilla of 30 Balearic Shearwaters were on the water. Also out there, sadly, was a large rescue ship which presumably was above the crash site of the Rescue helicopter on which 3 in which crew lost their lives. As we walked to the hide we put up a small flock of mixed finches ... Linnet, Corn Bunting and Greenfinches. Gilly counted 165 Greater Flamingos. We saw a few Shoveler and a single Sandwich Tern. On the steppes 6 Stone Curlews were sunning themselves. Gilly spotted an Oystercatcher, but that was about it.

We faired slightly better at the public hide. 6 Black-necked Grebes were out there as well as a Grey and Kentish Plover. We then went along the front, right to the end to find a suitable seawatching point. We found one about 200m passed the last cafe. From here we manged to see 7 Razorbills reasonably close in and a Black Wheatear on the rocks behind us. The trip round the rear of the reserve was "interesting"! The puddles were ponds, one of which interested a Redshank. There was a large flock of gulls, mostly Lesser Black-backs, but a few Audouin's as well. The mozzies were out in force. Did see Black-tailed Godwit, Avocet, Shelduck and Dunlin, but no sign of the Phalarope.

With the successes of the Great Spotted Eagle and the Belted Kingfisher we can't moan.....much!!
A total of 47, so a good day.

News from Málaga
The peculiar northern calidus type Peregrine that caused so much discussion (see the blog) was still at the Guadalhorce as of 29 January (Bob Hibbett). There have been several records of 1-3 Purple Sandpipers at Calaburras, as well as a Grey Phalarope and a Great Northern Diver in the past week (Paco Ríos and Paco Villalobos). Almist a rarity and certainly a jolly nice bird to see is the Guillemot in Fuengirola harbour, first seen last week (Bob Hibbett) and obviously liking the place as it was still there yesterday, 28 January (me).

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