Friday, 8 April 2011


We arrived at Horcajo de los Montes, in the Cabaneros ( the Montes de Toledo)  for a two night stop that ended up a four night stop due to a broken wheel on the camper, that we at first thought was a puncture, finally rescued by the lovely village mechanic who acquired a new wheel from Ciudad Real just over one hour away. 

Then we traveled on to the Parque Nacional de las Tablas de Daimiel, (above) where we enjoyed the very well laid out lakes, hides and walkways, seeing many migrators that use this important wetland.
Among the huge number of Red Crested Pochard here we were captivated by this pair below, watching when he called to her, she then emerged from the rushes,  he then dived and dived again to present her
  with big clumps of weed, which she delicately nibbled. Just like taking the lady friend out to lunch, this is how to win your woman... just keep feeding her!!

We were also so surprised to see two Grey Lag Geese with one well grown cygnet and two other pairs with with younger ones, four each, as we did not realize that they bred here, but whatever, it was lovely to see the little families doing so well.

Leaving Daimiel we go in search of twelve windmills and a castle in the land of Don Quixote, before heading south.

Consuegra and its windmills high above the town, enough to keep Don Quixote busy for awhile!!
We spent the night at Santa Elena in the de Despenaperros, south of Valdepenas, where we celebrated Mikes birthday at a very good local restaurant, having the best steaks we have had in a long time and a few glasses of local wine... Cheers!

The road from here leads down to Granada and the wonderful Sierra Nevada, still capped with snow.

Passing Guadix and south of Tabernas with its mini Hollywood, left over from the spaghetti westerns, we arrive at El Cabo de Gata, one of our favorite birding and tapas stops. 

 The Iconic picture of this area of Almeria, must be the old church at La Almadra, near the Laguna de Rosa and the salinas. This area is full of bird life, but our particular interest is the passage migrants, some of which Mike photographed in the vicinity of the laguna.

A male Blackeared Wheatear, will stay in southern Europe.

Female blackeared Wheatear, Quite hard to identify

Male Redstart, perhaps heading to North Dorset or the South Wilts Downs.

A male Spectacled Warbler, will be staying around the Mediterranean. 

Male Subalpine Warbler.

Our favorite part of Cabo de Gata, has to be the Ramblas Morales, which is a huge migration passage, constantly changing, where birds arrive, rest and depart on their jouneys, after perhaps hundreds or thousands of miles already traveled. It is a seemingly small stretch of water, but big in its importance to the birds and to us. Below are some of the birds we have seen there.

Purple Heron.

Night Herons resting.

More Night Herons passing through.

Swallows & Sand Martins, resting. ( also House Martins & Redrumped Swallows passed through)

Male Whiteheaded Duck, often seen here (one of the most endangered ducks in Europe) This is not a Ruddy Duck, which it is often confused with!

Whiskered Tern.

The old Guarda Civil Fort at Cabo De Gata
It is with regret we say goodbye to Cabo, but we have more places to see on our migration passage North.