10/04 : Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales

A nice day's birding with Dave & Arboleas, Co., Ltd. Warning : this blog contains bad language, and from Dave! Who would have thought it of him?

Gilly and I having missed last weeks birding with a trip to Extremadura with Rod and Linda, we were keen to get back to our local patch. So, having picked up Carolyn, we headed south to our old favourite, Cabo de Gata. We met up with 9 other Arboleas Birding Group members, including most welcome newbies, Tony and Karen, at the cafe at Pujaire. We made our way to the first hide. On the wader front we saw 4 Eurasian Curlews on the causeway, Dunlins, Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Ringed and Kentish Plovers and Little Stint. Another wader was being very elusive on the causeway, being on the opposite side. It was eventually identified as a Spotted Redshank. Also seen was a Sandwich Tern, numerous Slender-billed GullsShelducks, a Northern Wheatear and a couple of Yellow Wagtails. A Corn Bunting was on a power line (photo from Extremadura) and a Woodchat Shrike was perched on a shrub.
      At the second hide Gilly counted 203 Greater Flamingos. I saw a red tail flash into a bush, calling a Black Redstart. It appeared a short time later as a lovely male Common Redstart.....not my only blurt of the day! A called Dartford Warbler turned into a Subalpine Warbler (R) after reviewing Gilly's photo. Also seen were a pair of Ravens, Sardinian Warbler and Hoopoe.

      As we approached the public hide we could see a coach unloading hoards of kids, so we reverted to plan B and went to what is now called Kevin's Viewing Point behind the houses in the next village. Here we added Audouin's Gull, Greenshank, Turnstone, Redshank and Sanderling. I checked the old farm buildings way over the other side of the salina. A blob to one side was a Little Owl though some said it could be anything!

     As we headed back towards the public hide, seeing the coach coming towards us was a welcome sight! Alone in the hide we saw Black-tailed Godwits and Curlew Sandpipers. There were still 5 Black-necked Grebes present. I scanned the long line of Sandwich Terns on the right hand causeway not spotting the Common Tern in their midst....good spot, John!

      Suitably pleased with our tally so far we headed to the Rambla Morales via the campsite. A Kestrel sentry did not move as we passed. We were met by a Bee-eater near to the parking area. Later, whilst we were at the lake, Rob, who stayed with the vehicles, saw a second one going into a nest hole. The rest of us headed along the track towards the brackish water being shouted at by a flight of Black-winged Stilts and serenaded by Reed Warblers. On the water we added Common Pochard, Coot, Moorhen and White-headed Duck
A feeding Zitting Cisticola (R) gave Gilly great shots with the camera. She also managed to grab one of the three Gulled-billed Terns (above L) that flew up then down the lake. On the water there were lots of Black-headed Gulls with the odd Slender-billed.  A great find was a Little Gull, obligingly swooping low over the water flashing its black underwings. A flock of birds then flew directly over the top of us. 

I blurted, " Bloody feral pigeons!". To my embarrassment they began to feed over the water.....Whiskered Terns! It was just one of those days! A Little Grebe and Cattle Egret were also seen to end a very enjoyable day in good weather for a change. 62 species in all.

I was asked today to put on some websites for birding information in Spain. 
www.rarebirdspain.net ..............................   the month's rarities (in English) 
www.birding-the-costa.blogspot.com .........  Andy Paterson's website (dat's me, folks) 
www.reservoirbirds.com ............................  rare birds in Spain as they occur (in Spanish)

www.andalucianguides.blogspot.com ........ Stephen Daly's website (super photos)

Good birding,


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