13 January : Cabo de Gata & Rambla Morales

So, there I was yesterday afternoon, seated on the terrace with the last daylight over the sea still sufficient to see what was moving when past me shot my first Barn Swallow of the year. A nice end to a day which had hardly been brilliant. So when I opened my mail this morning there was Dave's report on the trip to Cabo de Gata and Rambla Morales which he described below. First, take the canine terrorist for a walk as one does otherwise an always precarious peace is totally impossible. 
Coming through the centre of Torremolinos I heard a thin tseep type call from a large ficus. I am not good on warbler calls but this I didn't know so there was I, standing looking up into the ficus while this bird continued calling and passersby wondered if I'd flipped my lid whilst Whisky tried to attack any other passing canine. Eventually view one when the said warbler, a tiny little soul, came down from the heights and showed a good strong wing bar. Heart leaps. When the second view showed a nice bright supercilium the heart even went pitter-patter-pit and when the third view gave both the large wing bar, the supercilium and a second small and ill-defined wingbar, that clinched it - a Yellow-browed Warbler - and only 5 minutes from home. By the by, these are no longer classed as rarities as of 1 January this year.
The rest of the day went by and it is now evening and I am now going to put together Dave's report and then add a second that he has sent which will be in front of this. Sorry, Dave, but that's the way it goes.
Before I start on today's report (i.e.: Wednesday's), Colin and Sandra were at Cabo de Gata, near the first hide, yesterday and they saw a Short-toed Eagle (aguila culebrera). Wonder if we can beat that! We met up with Colin, Sandra, Rod, John, Alan and visiting birders, Paul and daughter Sara. After a coffee in Pujaire we made our way to the first hide. Apart from numerous Greater Flamingos (flamencos)we also had a few Slender-billed Gulls (gaviota picofina), Mallard (azulón) and Shelduck (tarro blanco). There was a wide variety of waders but not in large numbers. We saw Redshank (archibebe común), a probable Spotted Redshank (archibebe oscuro), Greenshank (archibebe claro), Whimbrel (zarapito trinador), Eurasian Curlew (zarapito real), Grey Plover (chorlito gris), Bar-tailed Godwit (aguja colipinta), Ringed Plover (chorlitejo grande) and Avocet (avoceta). I beat John to finding a group of about 12 Spoonbills (espátula), but he "trumped" me shortly afterwards by noticing just to the left of the distant Spoonbills were three Common Cranes (grullas)! 
Stone Curlew
Also seen were Little Egret (garceta común), Cormorant (cormorán grande), Kestrel (cernicalo vulgar), Iberian Grey Shrike (alcaudón real) and the first of many Stonechats (tarabilla común). Sandra spotted a Crested Lark (cogujada común) on the stone wall. 
We made our way to the beach for a quick seawatch. Only saw another Cormorant (cormorán grande), but did have Crag Martin (avión roquero) over the savannah. At the second hide we saw a couple of Stone Curlews (alcaraván) and a pair of Golden Plovers (chorlito dorado). A rare find was a Wigeon (anade silbón). A Lesser Black-backed Gull flew over. Gilly managed to count 625 Greater Flamingos (flamencos).
At the public hide we saw both Sardinian (curruca cabecinegra) and Dartford Warblers (curruca rabilarga). Only one Black-necked Grebe (zampullín cuellinegro) was visible. Waders added to the list included Common Sandpiper (andarríos chico), Black-winged Stilt (cigüeñuela), Dunlin (correlimos común), Kentish Plover (chorlitejo patinegro),  Little Stint (correlimos menudo) and Sanderling (correlimos tridáctilo). Also seen were a female Blackcap (curruca capirotada) and Meadow Pipit (bisbita pratense). A small number of Golden Plovers (chorlitos dorados) were seen on the scrubland. As we had a cuppa by Cabo de Gata beach a small flock of Turnstones (vuelvepiedra) flew by.
Golden Plover
I led the convoy along the beach track to the Rambla de Morales. A small flock of Lesser Short-toed Larks (terrera marismeña) flew across our path. The Rambla itself was quite disappointing. We added Little Grebe (zampullín chico), Coot (focha común), Moorhen (gallineta de agua) and a number of Shoveler (pato cuchara) to the list. A Chiffchaff (mosquitero común) was seen. Yes, just the one! A Cattle Egret (garcilla bueyera) flew over. Gilly and I saw another Meadow Pipit (bisbita pratense) as we made our way our via the campsite. John and Alan spotted a flock of smaller birds on the savannah on their journey out. Mostly Skylarks (alondra común), but also a few Corn Buntings (trigueros). Gilly and I stopped at Los Gallardos on the way home to see Val and Rob. I may have been mistaken, or was it an imitating Starling, but I'm certain I heard the first few chords of a Great Spotted Cuckoo (críalo)! The list total for Cabo and Morales was 54, even though we dipped out on White-headed Duck, Zitting Cisticola and Cetti's Warbler!

​Golden Plover

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