Cabo de Gata
Gilly, Chris and I headed down to Cabo de Gata again to continue the Curlew survey (note: I suspect Dave is also referring to the Slender-billed Curlew survey, about which a note later). There were lots of small waders feeding in front of the first hide. Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Kentish Plover and Sanderling. The larger varieties included Avocet, Redshank, Black-winged Stilt and Black-tailed Godwit. Counted 176 for the record... 20 odd more than the previous week. Also sitting on the mud was a juvenile Gull-billed Tern.
Every so often an adult returned to feed it. A pair of Turtle Doves flew past and Zitting Cistacolas were flitting about the scrubland. Checking out the back I spotted a distant bird of prey. Reckoned it was a Montagu's Harrier. There were two Eurasian Curlews on the right hand beach. Suddenly a Marsh Harrier quartered over the savanna behind them and about another 8 Curlews took to flight. 2 adult Woodchat Shrikes were still around together with 3 Southern Grey Shrikes.
Having only added a Sandwich Tern to the list at the public hide we headed round the back of the reserve. We were greeted by a flock of 100+ Audouin's Gulls at rest. Again lots of little waders. We added Little Stint to the list, plus a breeding plumaged Grey Plover and a Turnstone. But the star was a female Montagu's Harrier quartering the savanna to our right.
A note re Slender-billed Curlew: This morning (Sunday, 12 September), when I opened my e-mails, there was an odd query from José Sencianes, excellent photographer and birder who lives and works in Doñana, asking if any of us on his mailing list knew anything about a rumoured Slender-billed Curlew having been seen somewhere in Málaga in August. Anyone know anything about this? Take a look at this link: