What a marvelous way to end the present birding season and take a break from what will, inevitably, be a month or so of hot,almost unbearable weather. Great decision to stay local and well-rewarded with some cracking birds, especially the Little Bittern, Squacco and Night Herons. But, there again, many would give their hind teeth to catch up with White-headed Duck, Glossy Ibis, Red-rumped Swallow and Bee-eater to name but another quartet of the birds recorded by friend Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group. Let's hope that, come the autumn, all may be back to just about normal. I will be back from my drive over to the UK to meet family and can hopefully find a mutual date to once again join Dave and his birding friends for a day's birding. Certainly looking forward to the return of the Dotterels and another visit to Cabo de Gata, one of my favourite sites east of Malaga.
Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 1st July 2020
For our last outing before the summer break we chose to go local. I picked up Juda from the Ballabona service station and cut across country via Cuevas de Almanzora to join the rambla close to the Desert Springs golf complex. En route we saw two Rollers on the roadside powerlines. We drove seaward along the embankment, checking out the various shallow pools below us. They all contained Mallard, Moorhen and Black-winged Stilts. One had a Little Ringed Plover, but the stars were two Glossy Ibis. Also seen were Barn Swallow, Common Swift, Red-rumped Swallow, Spotless Starling, Crested Lark, Blackbird, House Sparrow and Goldfinch.
We checked out the ford pools. They also had Mallard, Black-winged Stilts and Moorhen. We joined Neville at the parking area. He'd seen a Grey Heron. As we waited for the others a Stone Curlew flew over. Eventually we had 14 members with me. Astounding considering the predicted 40C heat! We scanned the area. I spotted a Bee-eater and an Iberian Grey Shrike on distant power lines. John saw a Green Sandpiper and a juvenile Grey Wagtail. Steve added a Serin. A Glossy Ibis flew up the valley.
We walked towards the sewage works, but nothing of interest till we got to the pools. In the reeds below us, we saw Reed Warblers flitting about. Black-headed Gulls gave us a noisy welcome. As well as the Black-winged Stilts, a Little Ringed Plover was seen and Kevin added a Common Sandpiper. The big pool only had Mallard and Black-winged Stilts. Also seen were House Martin and Woodpigeon.
We adjourned to the Lucky Bar, Villaricos for well deserved refreshments!
We then convoyed to the dual carriageway opposite the Consum supermarket, Vera Playa. Apart from many more Black-winged Stilts, we added Coot, Little Egret, White-headed Duck and Common Pochard. John found a pair of Avocet. Alan was first to pick up a low flying male Little Bittern. Showed well during its 500m flight! I spotted a very distant Kestrel. Kevin found a Little Grebe. I saw what I initially thought was a Grey Heron flying away, but it landed in the far shrubs. You could see its head & neck....a Night Heron. Obligingly, it flew back in our direction and perched on a dead tree. I then spotted a lone Purple Swamphen in the far reed line. John found a Kentish Plover. A young Black-headed Gull was swimming below us.
We moved round to the pool opposite the AguaParc. Most of the surface weed had gone. Lots of Coot swimming around. There was a Great Crested Grebe with a strippy headed chick. A Common Pochard was seen. Karen spotted a snake in the water below us. Checking my Wildlife in Spain book, I think it could be a young Ladder snake? As I was saying my goodbyes, a Squacco Heron landed on the surface weeds close by. What a bonus! After I left the remainers saw Black -necked Grebe, White Wagtail, Bee-eater and Cetti's Warbler.
John and Alan popped into the Puerta Laguna and added Audouin's and Yellow-legged Gulls.
We had a total of 48 species. Very respectable indeed! Luckily with a bit of a sea breeze the temperature wasn't horrendous! It was a great day in good company. I wish everyone a safe summer break. Will be back in September.
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