Two reasons why I was delighted to receive a report from my dear friend Dave Elliott-Binns this evening. Firstly great to see that after the long lock down his Arboleas Birding Group is once more up and about and finding some lovely bird sightings to share with readers. Even more important to me to have confirmed that Dave is now out of hospital and, hopefully, fully recovered from his recent heart problem. Lovely to see you back home with Gilly, Dave.
And what birds were seen in the 41 species recorded. Hoopoe, Iberian Grey Shrike, Purple and Squacco Herons and, for me, the bird of the day would have been the Roller. Yet to see one this year and they arrived back after the start of lock down and I cannot leave Malaga province until at least the end of the month. Within this province I have only ever had one recording and that was back in about 2005 so, I expect, I still have a long wait ahead of me.
Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa Wednesday 3rd June
The last day out was the 11th March to Sierra Maria. A lot has happened since then, namely me having a heart incident & ending up in hospital for my fourth stent! All seems ok now.
Today I set out early and headed to the Rambla de Almanzora, joining it near to the Desert Springs golf complex entrance. There were various pools containing Moorhen and Mallard. Common Swifts, House Martins and Red-rumped Swallows were seen. Another set of pools contained at least 17 Glossy Ibis, some Cattle Egrets & Black-winged Stilts. All were excited as a couple of stray dogs were wandering around. The only other wader I saw was a flying Little Ringed Plover. An Iberian Grey Shrike was perched on a shrub. Also seen were Spotless Starling, Magpie,Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove and House Sparrow. I heard a Zitting Cisticola. I reached the ford and was rewarded with close views of a pair of Little Ringed Plover. I parked up in the usual place and waited for the rest to arrive.
John was first. He'd seen a Hoopoe. A Purple Heron flew up and down the rambla, my first of the year! John spotted a Greenfinch and I found a Kestrel. The others arrived. Michael, Karen, Alan, Jan and Trevor. With masks and social distancing we wandered up towards the sewage works. Didn't see a lot to be honest. White Wagtail & Goldfinch. Karen did well to spot a very obliging Reed Warbler perched & singing. We also added Serin & Blackbird. A pair of Hoopoe was also observed. We walked back to the vehicles see resting juvenile Barn Swallows and just fledged Goldfinches on a branch.
I led the convoy back to where I'd seen the Glossy Ibis. En route a Roller was sitting high in a dead tree. As we arrived on site I saw a Bee Eater. 11 Glossy Ibises were on view as well as the Cattle Egrets & Black Winged Stilts.
We then adjourned for a break in Villaricos village. From previous visits, John & Alan said a beach visit wasn't worth it and It was best to go direct to the dual carriageway.
There was a reasonable of water still there. Black-headed Gulls were nesting on the small islands. Most of the wildfowl, Mallard, Common Pochard & White Headed Ducks had ducklings in tow. There were 3 Greater Flamingos present. I spotted a distant Iberian Grey Shrike. Alan added both Little & Black Necked Grebe. John spotted a pair of Whiskered Tern. I had a Yellow-legged Gull. John did well to spot some distant Kentish Plovers.
We then moved to the pond opposite the Aguaparc car park. There was a lot of surface weed. I spotted a lone Squacco Heron on the far reed line. John added a Great Crested Grebe. An unfortunate result of the Corona Virus was the amount of discarded plastic gloves on the surface.
An amazing first day back. 41 species in total. Great day, great birds, great company!
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