3 February, Rambla Morales, Arboleas Bird Group

Dave and Gilly were left to venture out on their own this last Wednesday, as Dave will explain. I draw your attention to his comments on the actions of the British dog walkers - Dave's mild description of them sums then up. Are you surprised that sometimes when I see British coming my way I cross the road and speak only Spanish? It makes me wonder what those men from 617 squadron, RAF, - the Dambusters - would have thought if they realised that they had given their lives for a bunch of ******** like those? I am ashamed to be from the same nation.

Gilly and I were on our own again as other members were abroad, or preparing to go there. The weather was sunny with a bit of cloud as we had a wander near to the chapel near Retamar. The sea was calm, but we only managed to see Cormorant and Black-headed Gulls. On the shoreline we had Turnstone, Kentish and Ringed Plovers and Sanderling. We drove off along the track and stopped for a little walk in a dried river bed towards a small tower. We were pleased to see a few Song Thrushes ....unusual here... a Blue Rock Thrush and our first Trumpeter Finch of the year. We'll definitely be stopping here again! Further along the track Gilly spotted movement on the steppes. A scan produced a flock of at least 52 Golden Plovers.

As we approached the Rambla de Morales we had good views of Lesser Short-toed Lark. Gilly managed to get some good photos. At the lake the water level was of course very high. 10 Greater Flamingos, 12 Shovelers, 3 Little Grebes, 7 Teal and a scattering of Coots and Moorhens were present. As we reached the far end we could hear a group of dog walkers approaching from the direction of the campsite. We increased our pace back to the track. As this loud English group, with their unleashed dogs, got level with the Flamingos they began to shout and whoop, causing the birds to take flight. As they flew off in formation these "scumbags" began to chant the dambusters theme song. There's never a warden or a Seprona officer around when you want one. Totally ruined our day. 39 species seen. Did see a sub-adult Golden Eagle on our way home up the motorway which cheered us up. Also, yesterday, the 6th, heard and saw our first Great Spotted Cuckoo of the "spring".

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