16/05 : Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales

Any complaints about Dave's opening comment should be addressed to him, not to me! As usual, the Arboleas group had a good day out. Those who go to Cabo de Gata should keep theirs eyes peeled for any yellow-billed terns, and in particular one wearing a yellow plastic ring and please inform me and I shall pass on the record. This bird was ringed in Valencia some years since and has been seen there again and also there are records of from the Atlantic coast.

It was a lovely sunny day (sorry to you folks in the UK!), but there was a bit of a stiff breeze to keep the smaller birds under cover. We met up with Brian, Mary, Colin, Sandra, Rob and Tony at the Pujaire cafe, before heading to the first hide overlooking the Cabo de Gata bird reserve. There were numerous Avocets, smaller numbers of Black-winged Stilts, Curlew Sandpipers, Dunlins and Kentish Plovers. On the causeway were three Grey Herons with some Slender-billed and Black-headed Gulls. I made a rough count of the Greater Flamingos (250). Smaller land birds seen included Hoopoe, House Martin and Zitting Cisticola.
      We made your way to the second hide, stopping for a quick sea/beach watch first. After only seeing a Cormorant and an Iberian Yellow Wagtail we yomped to the hide. Here we added Shelduck, Little Egret and Little Tern. Colin spotted a pair of Southern Grey Shrikes on a distant shrub. At the public hide, our next stop, we only added Black-necked Grebe to the list. However it was nice to see numerous Little Terns on the islands and that the distant ternary seemed to be full to capacity with Sandwich Terns and Black.headed Gulls.
     We had a refreshments break then headed to Rambla de Morales via the campsite. There was no sign of the Little Swifts, in fact it was noted we'd seen no swifts at all. Of course, a Common Swift then flew over. We also saw Red-rumped and Barn Swallows plus a few Sand Martins. On the water there were White-headed Ducks, MoorhensCoots, Common Pochards and a solitary Little Grebe. Gilly, Sandra and Val were further behind us lads when they spotted a pair of Glossy Ibis. About the same time a pair of adult Night Herons flew over the water to the reeds. Heard numerous Reed Warblers. About 5 Whiskered Terns flew over with some Sandwich Terns. Gilly and I then made our way back to the truck. The Ibises showed well, as they did when the rest passed back that way. The photo of the two together is mine. Val took the other one shown. 43 species for the day.

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