17 April : Cabo de Gata

My apologies to Dave & Gilly and you, the readers, for getting this out late, today has been on the hectic and stressing side of the divide.

Our newest member, Kathryn from Cantoria, has a birding visitor, Mark. So Gilly and I showed them round Cabo de Gata. To be honest, we could've chosen a better day. Yes, it was sunny, but the wind was excessive and, being the weekend, there were a lot of visitors around.
On the approach to the reserve a flight of Cattle Egrets battled the wind above us. I've never seen such a lack of birds from the first hide. There were a few Shelducks, a solitary Kentish Plover and a few passing Barn Swallows and House Martins. The stars were 3 Gull-billed Terns. A Corn Bunting sat obligingly on the fence to the right of the hide. We then drove to the "pool" on the opposite side of the road. Dry as a bone. Heard a Zitting Cistacola. Saw a Sardinian Warbler and a group of Common Swifts.

Things improved a bit at the second hide. 4 Spoonbills were sheltering from the wind with a group of Little Egrets. About 200+ Greater Flamingos could be seen. Also saw a Redshank, numerous Black-winged Stilts and a few Avocets.

Due to visitors and time moving on we missed out the public hide and headed round the rear of the reserve.A Woodchat Shrike was reasonably undaunted enough by our truck to be photographed. There was a feeding flock of 132 Slender-billed Gulls, whilst Pallid Swifts flew over. A probable Booted Eagle was high up over the mountains. We had good views of 3-4 Lesser Short-toed Larks. An impressive 6 Black-eared Wheatears were within yards of each other as a Spectacled Warbler made a brief appearance.
Only 31 species for the day, but we enjoyed ourselves.
Dave & Gilly

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