10 August : Cabo de Gata

Dave and company have been, like many a good solid British birder, out in the midday sun which can cause mental damage.... as he put down the date as 19 August! Into time travelling now, Dave? 'Cause I think that you'll have been at the Bird Fair on Sunday 19 August.

And I too think that it looks like a Black-eared, Dave. And if Dave will permit, when ring reading note which leg and if reading up or down and the presence of a metal ring on the other leg. Fuente de Piedra birds have rings which read upwards with a horizontal bar just below the top number, for example.

25th May....my god, is it that long since I've been to Cabo de Gata. What with the heat, tourists and the delights of the Sierra de Maria I have no regrets but do feel a little bit guilty! I left Gilly tucked up in bed as I left the house at 0600hrs to get down there at first light. My first surprise at the hide just outside Pujaire was that the water level was quite high, Weather wise there was a bit of a easterly breeze. The was a large group of Avocets feeding in a pack close to the hide. There were 100s of Greater Flamingos, Also seen were Black-winged Stilt, Black-headed and Slender-billed Gull, Little Egret, Redshank and Kentish Plover. Then noticed two largish waders flying to my right towards the grassland. An Eurasian Curlew followed by a smaller "Numenius" species. It was too distant to cause a heart stopping moment, so It went into the notebook as a Whimbrel. No, I really can't afford another weekly survey to check for Slender-billed Curlews! A couple of Greenshanks brought me back to reality.

I next checked the " pool" on the opposite side of the road. No water at all. In fact I drove round it only logging a Southern Grey Shrike. I then headed to the second hide. There were a group of Yellow-legged Gulls on the beach....beating the grockles! Disappointingly I didn't have a single addition to the list at the hide. No resident or migrating warblers seen or heard all day! There were some Sea Daffodils (Pancratium maritimum) in full flower...hope you're impressed, Mary!

Had a bit more luck at the public hide, adding Yellow Wagtail, Little Stint and Sanderling. Little and Sandwich Terns were seen. Huge numbers of Greater Flamingos here. Got to be nearing 1,000 for the day.....escaping the Fuente de Piedra count?
There were more round the rear of the reserve, one of which was close enough for me to see the ID number ( black on white) JATT on its right leg. Also round the back were a small flock of 28 Audouin's Gulls, Curlew Sandpipers, Ringed Plovers and Dunlins. A Wheatear posed nicely on a fence. Think it was a Black-eared but checking in Collins it had characteristics of Northern as well. I'm sure someone will prove me an idiot!
All in all a good day. Only 32 species, but 3 mozzy bites.

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