26/09 : Cabo de Gata

Dave and Co. are getting back into gear. Herewith the account of their visit to Cabo de Gata yesterday. Don't know what the weather's like there today but it's raining here with more forecast for tomorrow!
Brian and Mary recently went to the Cabo de Gata Birdfair where they met up with Kevin and his wife Troy from Sorbas. We were delighted that they could join us today at Cabo de Gata. After a coffee at the Pujaire cafe with Brian, Mary, Dave and Myrtle as well we headed to the first hide. It was cloudy with a gusty westerly wind which didn't bode well.....how wrong I was!
1W Yellow-legged Gull
     As we arrived a Marsh Harrier was quartering over the scrubland to the left of the hide. In the water closest to it was a group of Black-tailed Godwits. I counted at least 40. I then had a bit of a roll. First I spotted a pair of Spoonbills flying in with some of the 405 Greater Flamingos. Next in the distance I saw a pair of Great White Egrets and then spotted a pair of Knot on the causeway! Other waders seen were Kentish and Ringed Plovers, Redshank, Greenshank and Black-winged Stilt. On the causeway were Slender-billed and Black-headed Gulls and Sandwich Terns. Also seen were about 12 Grey Herons and some Little Egrets
On the savannah to the right some Eurasian Curlews were seen. Virtually no little birds raised their heads from the undergrowth. A Greenfinch and some Serins were noted and a Sardinian Warbler was heard. There were lots of low flying Barn Swallows and Gilly and I did see a swift species on the way down.
       We next stopped by the beach opposite the second hide. The sea was quite rough and seabirds were being pushed towards the coast. Saw some Balearic Shearwaters and Yellow-legged Gulls, including a juvenile which Gilly managed to photograph. There were some Lesser Black-backed Gulls hunkered down on the beach. From the hide we added Cattle Egret. We also saw a tern species that was bigger than a Little but smaller than a Sandwich. Guessed it was probably a Common. We also frustratingly saw some distant Buzzard-like raptors.
Honey Buzzard
      At the public hide we gained a Shelduck and some Sanderlings. Then to the right lots of birds took to the air as a Peregrine Falcon flew over. At least 3 or 4 Kestrels were seen flying close to the deck over the scrubland. One of the distant raptors began to fly towards us to be positively identified as an Osprey.
At the far end of the salina to the right of the hide was a flock of 100-200 Shovelers sheltering under a bank.
     As we then headed towards the next village for a coffee we spotted about 4 juvenile Gannets close inshore. A short seawatch after refreshments proved fruitful with Cory's Shearwater and an adult Gannet as well. Due to the wind we decided a visit to Morales would be unwise. As we approached Pujaire from the south the buzzards flew over the road...... Honey Buzzards, at least five!
     So yes, the wind helped us no end by stacking up raptors on migration and bringing seabirds closer inshore. 42 species in all.

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