4 February, Cabo de Gata

Dave in action yet again, this time at Cabo de Gata .... tomorrow a post of my own (now won't that be a treat?).

I arrived at the first hide at Cabo de Gata at the usual time. The sun was just about to rise over the hills so I'll need to get there earlier in the future. A pair of Stonechats were getting their breakfast in the shrubs in front of me as a flock of 52 Black-tailed Godwits were getting theirs in the shallow water. I could hear the Eurasian Curlew calling, a signal that they were about to move from their overnight roosting area. Sure enough I saw 11 fly on to the grassland to the right. I noticed a small flock of large waders feeding apart from the large flock of Black-tailed Godwits. These were 9 Bar-tailed Godwits. Other waders included a Ruff and Reeve, Avocets, Ringed Plovers, Dunlins, Little Stints and Redshanks. A large flock of Slender-billed Gulls were group fishing. 3 Lapwings made an appearance.

I moved to the pool next to the small desalination plant. Here I counted 4 Snipe and 2 female Teal before moving to the beach road. I saw movement on the steppes to my left so stopped to observe about 25 Golden Plovers together with another Bar-tailed Godwit feeding. A Grey Heron flew up the reserve being mobbed by some gulls as I headed to the 2nd hide. 6 Spoonbills were unusually awake and feeding on the far side. 3 Stone Curlews could be seen on the steppes soaking up the warming suns rays. A large flock of 30+ Eurasian Curlews flew past the hide to the area near the Golden Plovers. On the trudge back to the truck I observed a large flock of Serins, together with a few Linnets.

As I got to the public hide parking area there was the usual reception committee of small birds waiting on the fencing to drink from the puddles. All Greenfinch apart from a very dapper male, I assume, Trumpeter Finch. No sign of the overwintering Black-necked Grebes from the hide. Only added Lesser Black-backed Gulls to the list.

The track round the rear of the reserve had improved somewhat. Much less standing water and dry mud. Little birds were out in force soaking up the sun. Water Pipit and a Corn Bunting showed well as did a Bluethroat, Zitting Cistacola and Dartford Warbler.

49 species for the day. Expected to see the odd Swallow or Martin, but you can't have everything!

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