06/03 : Cabo de Gata

Dave, with all due respect I really do think that you should change your web site for weather - all the ones that I looked at said heavy rain, and as it had been bucketing down all night I think the best way is to look out of the window, and if it looks damned dark, black and generally foreboding in any direction, forget it! And if you don't believe in a visual check, look at aemet.es and go to the radar, that helps. I find eltiempo.com useless. They had us for sun and showers here yesterday and I was looking for the ark building plans!

     Alan phoned me on Tuesday evening to check the trip to Cabo de Gata was still on today as  he'd seen a weather forecast stating rain. To be honest, the one I looked out said only a few showers so it was on as far as I was concerned. As Carolyn, Gilly and I headed south in brilliant sunshine I had a little smirk on my face! However about 10km from our destination there was grey skies and low clouds. We met up with Colin, Sandra, Val, Kevin, Richard, Maria and their holidaying friends, Tony and Pauline at the cafe in Pujaire for a coffee. It began to drizzle. We got to the first hide, some of us staying outside. There were numerous Shelducks and a pair of Mallards. We didn't see any Avocets, but saw Black-tailed Godwits, Black-winged Stilts, Redshanks and Dunlins. A Grey Heron and Little Egret were also observed. A few Barn Swallows flew by. A Stonechat and Sardinian Warbler were noted. And of course there were plenty of Greater Flamingos.
     The drizzle had now evolved into squally showers so the yomp to the second hide was ignored as we headed to the comparative safety of the public hide. We were greeted by the sound of Corn Buntings. Usually perched atop of bushes and easy to see, but due to the weather were intelligently hiding away for a time before showing themselves. From the hide we added Black-necked Grebe, Kentish Plover, Sanderling and Grey Plover. A suspected Black-tailed Godwit flew to prove it was in fact a Bar-tailed. On the causeway to the right were at least 35 Sandwich Terns. Kevin spotted a solitary Lesser Black-backed Gull .... the last of the winter? 
      Kevin then led us to a viewing spot behind the houses in La Almadraba de Monteleva, overlooking the far end of the salinas. Unfortunately there was very little water as it had been drained to leave only salt. A group of about 25 Audouin's Gulls sat there. Val first spotted a Kentish Plover, then a Greenshank and also a Redshank.
      The muddy track to Morales was a no no, so after a coffee we gave in to the elements. Yes Alan you were right, damn it! 15 km north, yes, you've guessed...sunshine! We ended up with 35 species and, sorry, no photographic evidence.

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