Wednesday 17 May 2017

Cabo de Gata area, Almeria Province.

Granada Wildlifes Tour of Eastern Andalucia and beyond.
Day Five of Eleven, A day around the Saltpans and the coast.

In the hide at the Northern end of the Salinas.
Before we got going I was woke up by the day light and the song of a Lesser Short-toed Lark (Terrera Marismena / Calandrella rufescens) which was right over the buildings. 
In the hide at the Northern end of the Salinas.
Before breakfast some of us had a walk out on a track nearby but things were quiet, however we did see Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis). I also had a new shrub for the list, Periploca laevigata which had some very smart vargated flowers.
The view from the hide.
After a very good breakfast at Los Palmitos we headed out towards the salt pans at Cabo de Gata, on the way we picked up a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) on the wires. 
Down by the lighthouse.
At the hide on the roadside we soon picked out Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Slender-billed Gull (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei), Little Tern (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons), singles of both Bar-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colipinta / Limosa lapponica) and a Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea) which was in full summer plumage, Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluviali squatarola), Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna) and the main bird of the day (John) a Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos). 
We drove past the coastal hides and went out to the Lighthouse and soon located a single immature Shag (Cormorán Mondudo / Phalacrocorax aristotelis) on the rocks with several Yellow-legged Gulls
Crucianella maritima.
We then had a walk around the area looking for the Trumpeter Finches (Camachuelo Trompetero / Bucanetes githagineus) but failed to find any but added Black (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and Black-eared Wheatears (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes).
Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis).
We then moved on to the first of the hides along side the saltpans on the seaward side and on the walk out found Crucianella maritima, Cyperus capitatus, Silene littorea, Lycium intricatum and once we were at the hide Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Gull-billed Terns and then Mike picked up bird of the day a dark phase Eleonora's Falcon (Halcón de Eleonora / Falco eleonorae) which was first seen on the far side of the pans but eventually came closer but high over the hide.
Silene littorea.
We next went for some tapas lunch before going out to Rambler Morales but it was relatively quiet compared to past visits, however we had good views of some stunning summer plumage Sanderlings, lots of Kentish and Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and out to sea Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) and Little Terns and on the beach 4x Mediterranean Gulls (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus).
Eleonora's Falcon (Halcón de Eleonora / Falco eleonorae).
Our last stop of the day was at a spot near San Jose where we check the sewage works and the run off pools adding Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) before heading back to the accommodation and then later back down to San Jose for another good meal.
Black-headed, Slender-billed and Audouin's Gulls.
A beer after a good days birding.
The evening meal.

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