March 2016 – Gabo de Gata

Saturday 12th March dawned bright and clear, a beautiful blue sky and light breeze for my first ever ABS field trip. I ventured into the hotel where the group were having breakfast and was given a very warm welcome. We were soon organised into smaller groups and off to the first hide on the edge of the village. Numerous Greater Flamingo were feeding and a single Yellow Wagtail was present along with Dunlin, Kentish Plover, Redshank and Grey Plover. Our group then went to the large public hide near Almadraba. Here we found large numbers of Avocet, several Black winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Dunlin, Little Egret, Slender billed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Yellow legged Gull, Black headed Gull, Shelduck and more flamingos. It was then on to the lighthouse in search of Trumpeter Finch. Sadly the little blighters eluded us but we had great views of Black Wheatear and Stonechat and higher up a Blue Rock Thrush performed atop a telegraph pole. On the sea we found Northern Gannet and Balearic Shearwater. We then made our way round the back of the saltpans where our identification skills were tested by Little Stint. We also saw Sanderling, Redshank, Kentish Plover, Shelduck and more gulls including Slender billed and a possible Audouins.
After a pleasant lunch on the seafront we headed to Rambla Morales. Short toed lark greeted us along with more flamingos, Shelduck, Shoveler, Common Coot and a flock of Spanish Sparrows. A shepherd herded his flock past us and Barn Swallow, House Martin, Pied Wagtail and Grey Wagtail were feeding on the insects stirred up by the numerous hooves. My personal highlight of the day was a close up of Cattle Egret hitching a lift on the back of a sheep.
It was then back to the hotel to discuss the day with the other groups, shower and enjoy a cold drink in the evening sunshine. An extremely enjoyable day with knowledgeable, friendly companions. I expect it is the first of many such days for me.

Garry Pearson – ABS member

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