Cape Palos is a cape in the Spanish municipality of Cartagena, in the region of Murcia. It is part of a small range of volcanic mounts that form a small peninsula. The Mar Menor ("Little Sea") is also a part of this range. The name Palos is derived from the latin meaning lagoon, a reference to the Mar Menor.
The lighthouse began operating here on January 31st. 1865. The Cape is part of a marine reserve and is an excellent place for birders and divers alike.
A interactive map and more information about Cape Palos is available HERE
Local birder, Richard Howard, had visited this site yesterday and was lucky enough to photograph Ortolan Bunting, so I set my alarm, got up early and arrived on site around 8am. The weather conditions were better than those I left in Alicante, just a very light breeze compared to the strong winds 30 miles North.
As soon as I opened the car door it was evident that there had been a large influx of birds overnight. Nightingales were singing everywhere and Redstarts were all along the fence line that surrounds the lighthouse garden.
Richard was also on site and we teamed up as "four eyes are better than two". As Richard and I were talking about Ortolan Buntings a flock of 21 appeared from some scrub just beyond the lighthouse garden. We watched the flock disappear away from the lighthouse our eyes being diverted immediately to a stunning male Golden Oriole. It was almost impossible to keep a count of everything we saw as birds were landing all over the area. Below a selection of pictures from today, I have listed some of the species we recorded, and will update with a count tomorrow when Richard and I have had a chance to compare notes. One or both of us was at the site recording birds from 8am until around 2pm.
Ortolan Buntings (Not a great pic but shows numbers present)
Some of the Species recorded