Birding the Cabo de Gata, Almeria

March is a great month for birding Cabo de Gata, in the eastern corner of Andalucia. We went for a weekend birdwatching tour that tourned out to surpass our birding expectations! We started in Malaga, then drove along the Mediterranean highway A7 and got to the Almería province in just 3 hours. We made a short stopp at some impressive cliffs in the Granada’s coast and saw Blue Rock Thrush that shined as blue as the sea in the background. A couple of Peregrines surprised us as they appeared out of nowhere from underneath. Quite good impressions at just the beginning of the tour. Once in the province of Almeria, we took it easy and tood advantage of theses longer spring days, so had a try on the salinas near Roquetas de Mar, where we came across a nice variety of waders.

Red-rumped Swallow  while birding in the Cabo de Gata in Andalusia

Red-rumped Swallow while birding in the Cabo de Gata in Andalusia

On the next day, the salinas de Cabo de Gata and the nearest shore provided interesting birds, including a nice number of Audouin’s Gull and a flock of around one hundred Avocets. A couple of hiking trails could not provide the Trumpeter Finch for the moment, and ended up at the Rambla Morales. The Amoladeras trail was the perfect secery to birdwatch during the sunset.

Some friends from the Andalucia Bird Society found the Trumpeters, and that boosted us to wake up early the day after, and patrol the Carboneras area. We found then great numbers of Black Wheatear and saw the first Red-rumped Swallows of the year. But no Trumpeters… until we were about to get back to Malaga. I could make the Trumpeter Finch out by its inmistakably sound just when it flew overhead and stopped just in front of us for a few seconds, just enough to take a short video a the attached picture. Do miracles exist? Well, when birding surprises like this keep a smile on your face for the whole day.

Trumpeter Finch - Wild Andalucia

Trumpeter Finch by Wild Andalucia

Herewith our birdlist for the trip:

Common Shelduck – Tadorna tadorna
Mallard – Anas platyrhynchos
Northern Shoveler – Anas clypeata
Common Quail – Coturnix coturnix
Greater Flamingo – Phoenicopterus roseus
Northern Gannet – Morus bassanus
Great Cormorant – Phalacrocorax carbo
Great Egret – Ardea alba
Little Egret – Egretta garzetta
Eurasian Spoonbill – Platalea leucorodia
Eurasian Marsh-Harrier – Circus aeruginosus
Common Moorhen – Gallinula chloropus
Eurasian Coot – Fulica atra
Stone Curlew – Burhinus oedicnemus
Black-winged Stilt – Himantopus himantopus
Pied Avocet – Recurvirostra avosetta
Kentish Plover – Charadrius alexandrinus
Little Ringed Plover – Charadrius dubius
Whimbrel – Numenius phaeopus
Black-tailed Godwit – Limosa limosa
Dunlin – Calidris alpina
Marsh Sandpiper – Tringa stagnatilis
Common Redshank – Tringa totanus
Black-headed Gull – Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Audouin’s Gull – Ichthyaetus audouinii
Yellow-legged Gull – Larus michahellis
Lesser Black-backed Gull – Larus fuscus
Sandwich Tern – Thalasseus sandvicensis
Rock Dove – Columba livia
Eurasian Collared-Dove – Streptopelia decaocto
Common Kestrel – Falco tinnunculus
Common Raven – Corvus corax
Skylark – Alauda arvensis
Crested Lark – Galerida cristata
Eurasian Crag-Martin – Ptyonoprogne rupestris
Barn Swallow – Hirundo rustica
Red-rumped Swallow – Cecropis daurica
Common House-Martin – Delichon urbicum
Cetti’s Warbler – Cettia cetti
Fan-tailed Warbler – Cisticola juncidis
Sardinian Warbler – Sylvia melanocephala
Robin – Erithacus rubecula
Black Redstart – Phoenicurus ochruros
Stonechat – Saxicola rubicola
Black Wheatear – Oenanthe leucura
Spotless Starling – Sturnus unicolor
Western Yellow Wagtail – Motacilla flava
White/Pied Wagtail – Motacilla alba
Meadow Pipit – Anthus pratensis
Corn Bunting – Emberiza calandra
Trumpeter Finch – Bucanetes githagineus
Greenfinch – Chloris chloris
Goldfinch – Carduelis carduelis
Linnet – Carduelis cannabina
House Sparrow – Passer domesticus
Spanish Sparrow – Passer hispaniolensis

It comes without saying we will consider birding Cabo de Gata from now on.