15 / 02 : Cabo de Gata

Dave, Spoonbills sleep during the day because they're basically nocturnal feeders. The flamingo ring (L)orange 8 bar TM (reading down) is one from Doñana, the bird being ringed in 2003.

After the adventures of Morocco, we were apprehensive about getting back to our Spanish birding. We met up with Val and Rod for a cuppa in Pujaire before heading to the first hide. We were greeted by a Barn Swallow fly past. In fact, apart from Crag Martins they were the only hirundines we saw all day, which was a bit of a surprise. The weather was sunny with a few clouds, but a cold easterly breeze kept our fleeces on all day.
There were numerous waders: Avocets, Little Stints, Curlew Sandpipers, Dunlins, Redshanks and Ringed Plovers. We saw the first of many Stonechats, usually in pairs.
We briefly checked the "pool" on the opposite side of the road. No water, but did see a Song Thrush.
On the way to the second hide, I spotted an Eurasian Curlew on the savanna. It flew a short distance away joining 30 others. None with short bills! Also in this feeding group were about 10 Golden Plovers.
The sea appeared devoid of bird life, so we proceeded to the hide. There were 327 Greater Flamingos and 4 Spoonbills (Why are they 99% of the time asleep?) Also seen were Shelducks, Cormorants and Black-winged Stilts. The walk back to tshe car produced Linnest and Corn Buntings.
The public hide added Shoveler, Sanderling and a Robin to the list. On the fence by a puddle colourful Greenfinches were waiting for us to leave.
We headed round the rear of the reserve. A group of about 10 Audouin's Gulls were resting with a couple of hundred Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Waders were few and far between but we did see one Bar-tailed Godwit and about a dozen Black-tailed cousins. The scrubland and ruined buildings produced Southern Grey Shrike and Little Owl respectively. As we got near the end I said to Val that we sometimes get Stone Curlew here, as she'd never seen one and two seconds later two flew up. It just happens like that sometimes!
A very good days birding. 51 species in all. Photos by my assistant, Gilly!!

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