Cream-coloured Courser, Corredor Sahariano (Cuisorius cursor) at Tarifa
The bird was first discovered by teachers and a party of local school children taking part in a field study along the coast from Tarifa. One of the teachers was interested in birds and realised that this wasn't like any species of bird he'd seen before in Europe and phoned some of the biologists at Fundacíon Migres a local NGO working on The Strait of Gibraltar. From his description of the bird they concluded that it was a Cream-coloured Courser and alerted some staff on duty at a nearby migration watchpoint.
It was a bit of an overcast day with strong winds from the WSW and rain squalls coming in from the Atlantic. This would have aided any migrating bird that was departing from Africa from the Atlantic coast in Morocco.
The sun going down along The Strait of Gibraltar
A search was made of the coastline where the bird was last seen and it was located close to one of the old Spanish Civil war bunkers close to the Playa de Los Lances reserve.
I was working on the other side of the county at the Guadalquivir river, guiding a lovely French family, showing them the delights of Marbled Teal, White-headed Ducks, Collared Pratincoles, Booted Eagles and Slender-billed Gulls... when I received a text to tel me of the new from Tarifa. After my day tour, I made my way down to Tarifa, arriving there just as the sun was beginning to set.
To my delight I saw the bird very close to the wooden boardwalk within five minutes of leaving the car.
The bird was in good condition and feeding well, walking past and ignoring Greater-Short-toed Larks and Kentish Plovers that breed there on the edge of the long sandy beach.
I managed to get some shots of the bird in the evening light which I'm happy to say turned out really well!
I scanned along the coastal path in the direction of the old bunker and could see people with telescopes stopping and searching for the bird. I quickly walked along trying to attract their attention and whn I got close enough I shouted to them that the bird was further along towards the town. We all walked back and sat there enjoying watching the bird settle down for the night.
Cream-coloured Coursers are quite a specialist bird, inhabiting some of the driest and lonliest habitats often with little vegetation. They are mainly insect feeders foraging on foot amongst plants, often seen running - hence their name. At one time they were breeding birds in Andalucia, across in Almeria province.
Personally it was the end to a very long and satisfying day out in the field and a fantastic bird at the close of the day at sunset