17 July : Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales

Grief but they're brave in Almería! I hope that I feel as brave tomorrow at the Guadalhorce but I doubt the endurance. Poor Linda, at least the shingles appears to have gone but being attacked by a bidet can't be much fun. 
I understand that there are a lot of Black- and Bar-tailed Godwits on the Atlantic coast of Andalucía, White Storks are heading back to Africa and the first Black Kites won't be far behind now. Did the Flamingo fly-past include the Dambusters March? Joking apart, we have had a few small flocks moving along the coast here. I too have detected odd small flocks of Bee-eaters flying westwards. And for the cetacean watchers, both Fin Whale and Orcas have been seen on the trips out from Tarifa.
Question (and thus revealing my ignorance): Is 'retail therapy' the same as going shopping? If so, forget it.
baby Avocet / Avocetlet
     It was back to one of our favourites today despite the hot weather. We drove Ros down to the cafe at Pujaire where we met up with Brian, Mary, Dave, Myrtle, Rod and Linda. The latter has been in the wars again. Whilst recovering from shingles, she picked up a tummy bug which caused her to faint. She hit her face on the bidet causing double black eyes. Can't keep an Arboleas Birding Group member away from our days out! Now to the birding....... 
Having already picked up a Bee-eater prior to Pujaire, we headed for the first hide. Lots of birds on view from here. Greater Flamingos in vast numbers. Gilly later counted 738. The next most numerous were Avocets. Around the causeway and in front of us in the pools were odd groups of Black-tailed Godwits, some still in breeding plumage. On the causeway itself were Black-headed Gulls together with singles of Common and Gull-billed Tern. Kentish Plovers were numerous round the shores. I manage to spot a Common Sandpiper. Also seen were Mallard, Shelduck, Redshank, Hoopoe and small groups of young Yellow Wagtails.
Wild Boar watching Flamingo
Flamingo watching Wild Boar
Sea Daffodils
We then headed to the second hide. There was a small flock of Yellow-legged Gulls resting on the beach. The Sea Daffodils were blooming. Dave Green was the first -to the hide. He was amazed to see a Wild Boar. By the time the rest of us got there it was walking across the salina to the separating causeway. The only new birds added were Black-winged Stilt and Thekla Lark. Also but not identified were two large birds of prey perched over the other side of the reserve on an electricity pylon. We had fabulous view of a triple Greater Flamingo fly pass as the headed out to sea towards Roquetas across the bay.

On the way to the public hide we added Little Tern to the list. At the hide itself there were again numerous Greater Flamingos and Avocets. An Eurasian Curlew was seen. On the causeway to the right a line of terns included both Sandwich and Common.
After refreshments at the next village we walked to "Kevin's" viewing point over the salina. There were at least 150 Audouin's Gulls at rest. Red-rumped Swallows were also seen.

At this point the group split up. Rod and Linda headed for the Rambla de Morales. Gilly, Ros and I wanted to go round the rear of the reserve in search of those distant big birds of prey. The rest headed to Almería for retail therapy.
The track round the rear was not too bad. We had good views of Avocet and their young. Gilly spotted Alpine Swift amongst a swirl of its Common and Pallid cousins. A Southern Grey Shrike was also seen. An obliging, but angry looking Little Owl was on one of the ruined buildings. Unfortunately no sign of the birds of prey. My best bet would be Short-toed Eagles.

non-buzzing ugly Cicada
We met up with Rod and Linda at the Pizzeria in Retamar for lunch. They had added Coot, Moorhen, Crested Lark, White-headed Duck and Kestrel. Having spent all their previous Spanish summers up in wet and cool Galicia they didn't know what was making that god awful and persistent buzzing sound. Attached here, for their information, is one the ugly critters (Cicada) which came into our house with some washing.
The total today was 40....yes, more than initially reported. Might have to sack my secretary! A good day, but it was very hot. Heading for altitude next week!

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