Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Cabo de Gata, Almeria Province.

Day Three, Back to the birds.

The last day was to be
spent at Cabo de Gata and surrounding area, the first stop was at the visitors centre at Los Amoladeras, the displays were very good and took quite a while to look around. Out side the number of birds was disappointing, Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator). We then move down to the salt pans where there were a lot more birds to be seen. From the hide we picked up good numbers of Greater Flamingo’s (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), the beautiful Slender-billed Gulls swam elegantly around the pools with a couple of summer plumaged Mediterranean Gull (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus). Waders were there in good numbers including Avocet (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia) and Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus). We then made our way along a road passed the Lighthouse to an area of rocks which looked like smaller version of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland; I think that they are hexagonal columns of basalt. The ground was covered in wild flowers including Convolvulus tricolor, Convolvulus siculus, Silene littorea and Seaside Daisy (Asteriscus maritimus). We then dropped back down to the Lighthouse where we had lunch and I found that I could not be dragged away from the birds on the saltpans. So I said a reluctant goodbye to what were a very very nice and interesting group of people.
They set off for a few more days geology and I had a cracking afternoon birding around the track on the far side of the Pans. I have seen Slender-billed Gull (Gaviota picofina / Larus genei) but to watch over 250 birds in one flock in what looked like a feeding frenzy. A small number of Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) were perched out on the low banks along with a few Sandwich (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Gull-billed (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) and Whiskered Terns (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chlidonias hybridus), waders were also feeding on these ridges including Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba), Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres), Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and Avocet (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta). On the margins Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) were very common, they were joined by the odd Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica). Growing in the saline soils there was the most pacular parasitic plant called Cynomorium (Cynomorium coccineum), quite common along the track edges. Towards the far end of the track I started to see a few small groups of Lesser Short-toed Larks (Terrera Marismena / Calandrella rufescens) along with a couple of Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops). Back near the visitors centre a small flock of European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) were perched in some Shrub Tobacco (Nicotiana glauca) plants trying to stay out of the wind which was by now blasting the area. The rain then started so I began the journey home.
Photographs from the top: Basalt area, Group shot, Cynomorium (Cynomorium coccineum), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Slender-billed Gull (Gaviota picofina / Larus genei, Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra.

1 comment:

Lindamaryolivine said...

Good geology Mick! The columnar jointed lava flow is at Punta Baja - yes - just like the Giant's Causeway. It used to be quarried for building blocks: because of the jointing they were neatly 'readymade' useful shapes!