zondag 22 januari 2012

31st of December: The last day of 2011

Apologies for the lack of updates recently but I have been quite busy with work the last week (yes work!). I will proceed with updating the trip report now =).

31st of December


We started the morning at the playa of Torre Garcia. The day before I had seen on the website of Rare Birds Spain that a Desert Wheatear had been present there for a while. Since it was closeby we decided to check it out and maybe we could even add a rare bird to our Spain list!

During our visit at the Torre Garcia we didn't find the Desert Wheatear. We didn't know the exact place but we checked the area around the parking lot thorougly. We did have a cooperative Southern Grey Shrike next to the car:
Southern Grey Shrike

Next stop was the Lagune of the Rambla for the White-headed Ducks. Just before the Laguna we came across a very handsome male Sardinian Warbler:
Male Sardinian Warbler

Arriving at the Laguna my dad suddenly shouted: hey look at that swift hunting in front of the car!! I immediatly saw the bird he meant: it was a fine Little Swift! We quickly got out of the car and got amazing views of the bird. Later it even turned out that there were at least 3 birds hunting amongst the Crag Martins! It is a very unusual sighting since these Little Swifts normally only occur in really low numbers around Tarifa or Cadiz, but these birds were more than +400 km off to the east! It seems this is the first time that Little Swifts have been sighted here near Almería. 
Little Swifts!

We had even better views on the White-headed Ducks this time too:
Adult winter, male
Adult summer, male

On the sea we saw two floating Razorbills and next to the beach we had a flock of mixed birds: Corn Buntings, Skylarks and Lesser Short-toed Larks. Impressive was the group of 23 Stone Curlews that flew past, we had good views eventhough the group was pretty distant.
The 23 Stone Curlews.

Just seconds after we had this group we also had one flying by really close:
The single Stone Curlew

Near the campsite of Cabo de Gata we had 19 Golden Plovers again. On our way back to San José we did a quick check at the Saltpans resulting in a Ruff and 44 Black-tailed Godwits as new species for the list. In the afternoon we did a tour on the nothern side of the Cabo de Gata. We went to Los Esculios and Las Negras. At a cafe along the shore of Las Negras we saw three Gannets and three Razorbills. At the northern edge of the village we found a pretty male Blue Rock Thrush.
 Blue Rock Thrush, by Tammo Meijer

Here are two pics made by my dad of some Lesser Short-toed Larks we saw near Roquetas de Mar. I wasn't able to get pics and since these birds are skulkers, he did well!
That's what you get when you've got a Canon 7D!

We arrived at San José when it was already dark. We made ourselves a delicious New year's Eve meal and during the evening we did some fun games together. Unlike any other New Year's Eves this evening was ended calmly, without the tremendous noise of fireworks. After a good night of sleep we packed our bags and on New Year's Day we headed off to Granada.

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