It's great to be back birding. The cardiologist doesn't want to see me for 6 months. Thanks for all your best wishes for my speedy recovery.
Gilly and I got up early and headed south to Cabo de Gata. We stopped at the first hide and were greeted with the water level as my previous visit. The level hadn't dropped one iota. The only wader we spotted was a Black-tailed Godwit in the water-logged scrub between us & the water. There were 2 Sandwich Terns in breeding plumage on the flooded causeway and a few Shelducks. Three Slender-billed Gulls flew in, but that was it apart from the Greater Flamingos, of course. We then drove down to the pool on the opposite side of the road. We flushed a Snipe from one of the muddy puddles and a Green Sandpiper was feeding close to where we parked up. Lots of Barn and Red-rumped Swallows, lesser numbers of House, Sand and Crag Martins. A group of assorted Common and Pallid Swifts passed over.
A Marsh Harrier was quartering down the far end and an uncommon visitor for us, a White Stork, flew low over to our right and landed on an electricity pylon. Out to sea, although it was reasonably calm, we only managed to spot a couple of Gannets. On our walk to the hide we saw the first of many Corn Buntings.
Gilly counted 340 Greater Flamingos. Spoonbills were in their usual pose....asleep! On the steppe I spotted some large waders. They were an assorted group of Black- and Bar-tailed Godwits and Grey Plovers. Also seen was a Redshank. Lots of Meadow Pipits around together with Greenfinches and Linnets. On the water were at least 50 Shoveler and a couple of Black-necked Grebes. We then moved to the public hide. On our walk there we saw a Northern Wheatear and a Short-toed Lark.
Lots of Chiffchaffs around, some being very close to the viewing slots of the hide, so we were able to get some decent shots of them and a majestic male Black Redstart. Round the back of the reserve, where the ponds on the track had shrunk to large puddle size, 46 Audouin's Gulls were at rest. Got good views of Water Pipit and our only pair of Stonechats for the day. The Lesser Black-backed Gulls had all gone, as had all the smaller waders. Still had 4 Stone Curlews down the far end. Ended up with 63 species for the day.
Well pleased and so happy to be back!! Best regards, Dave & Gilly