10 December, Cabo de Gata

One has to admire the fortitude of we Brits. against the weather - I've given up, I'm being a devout coward now on the vet's advice - as Dave's report of his visit will show. It's not been great here either, Dave, if it's any consolation, and I'm off to Fuente de Piedra tomorrow!

The weather was not good down at Cabo de Gata this morning. Low cloud, poor visibility and cool easterly gusting winds straight into your face in the hides. But it was my only chance this week to do the Slender-billed Curlew search, so there I was as dawn broke in the first hide. Greater Flamingo, of course, Shelduck, pair of Teal flew over, Little Egret and Avocet. There were 2 Eurasian Curlews visible adjacent to the rocky causeway together with a Grey Plover and 12 Black-tailed Godwits. The godwits flew to the calm of the bank to my left to get some shelter. The Curlews, as is their routine that I've noted over the past weeks, took off at around 0815 & headed to for dry land, this time over the top of the hide to the north. A flight of 9 Cormorants headed out to sea. A Greenshank and Little Stint made an appearance.

On the beach near to the second hide there were 100+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls all facing into the wind. The wind at the hide made it impossible to use the telescope. There was nothing at all seen from the public hide except 6 Greater Flamingos on the huge expanse of shallow water.

Hoping for more success I drove round the rear of the reserve where logic said it should be more sheltered. An obliging Water Pipit posed nicely on the fencing, but waders were very few & far between: Redshank, Black-winged Stilts and Kentish Plover. Having almost given up hope I was rewarded by about 15 Stone Curlews taking to the air as I reached the end of the muddy track.

37 species in all. Disappointing but glad to be doing my bit for the Slender-billed Curlew team.

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