18/04 : Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales

I trust that some of you managed to get to see the Cream-coloured Courser at Tarifa these last few days, which appears to have hopped it - undoubtedly largely due to the presence of loose, uncontrolled dogs whose owners refuse to think that signs do not refer to them. Also, the first Little Swifts have returned to Bolonia. My birding friend Federico, who has appeared in these blogs before, saw both last weekend and was a very happy chap whilst I believe that I am probably the only birder from west of Málahga who did not make the pilgrimage down there to see it, but I have seen quite a few in years gone by, and to prove it here is a photo taken on Fuerteventura.
Thank heavens for Dave & Co. filling in the information gap whilst I have been under the weather.

This week we decided to head back to Cabo de Gata, then Rambla Morales. Chris kindly chauffeured us down there in his snazzy Mercedes, making a more comfortable change to the 4x4!! We met up with Brian, Mary, Colin, Sandra, Dave and Myrtle at the Pujaire cafe before making our way to the first hide.
Amongst the many Avocets were three Oystercatchers, not common in these parts. We also saw a Black-tailed Godwit in breeding finery, Grey Plover, Greenshank and Kentish Plover. A Turnstone flew over. Also spotted was a single Collared Pratincole. Smaller birds included Northern Wheatear, singing Corn Buntings, Yellow Wagtails and Zitting Cistacolas.
Arriving at the beach adjacent to the second hide, the sea was quite rough due to the offshore westerly winds. Was hoping a shearwater or two might have been blown closer to shore, but alas no. We did see a distant adult Gannet and a fishing Sandwich Tern. Another Northern Wheatear was spotted before we walked to the hide. Large feeding groups of Slender-billed Gulls were observed, but Colin was the first to spot eight Purple Herons, high above us, flying east. Four Little Terns were also seen. At the public hide we added Black-necked Grebe and Kestrel. A Godwit kindly flew off, confirming it to be a Bar-tailed. A Blackcap was also seen.
We then headed to the Rambla Morales via the campsite. Tacking against the high winds we headed towards the lake. Dave spotted a Hoopoe. I was checking a group of swifts/martins when I spotted a single Little Swift. It was keeping low and it came quite close. I was extremely lucky enough to get a reasonably decent photo of it. Lifer for seven of the group! We carried on towards the lake, adding Little Ringed Plover, White-headed Duck, Coot, Moorhen and some more Black-necked Grebes, struggling in the choppy waters. Enough was enough, we headed back and Brian, bringing up the rear, saw a Whiskered Tern.
54 species in all. Todays sighting of the Little Swift makes it 28 days since I first spotted the three individuals on the 23rd March!

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