Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Wednesday 16 September

Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group seem to have had a wonderful last visit before Dave and Gilly's upcoming autumn break back in the UK.  No doubt Dave is wondering about the 14-day self-isolation when he arrives to be followed by the possibility of the same when he returns here!  Good luck with that Dave but trust that you both have a wonderful time back in the UK.

Some lovely birds seen by the group and obviously some serious migration presently underway.  Why is it that I keep finding Woodchat Shrikes and the Iberian Grey Shrike favours your group?  I liked your wader and warbler sightings, especially the Sub-alpine Warbler.

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 16th September

For my last outing before Gilly and I go back to the UK for our pre-xmas seeing family and friends jaunt, I decided to keep it local and plump for the Rambla de Almanzora and the back of Vera Playa.
I picked up Rob, Claire and then Juda and headed for the rambla entering it just past the Desert Springs entrance. Immediately I spotted an Iberian Grey Shrike high up on a power line. Driving along the embankment we saw a Moorhen followed by a group of House Sparrows.  A small number of Barn Swallows flew by.  A Sardinian Warbler showed distantly.  Magpies were seen in small groups.  Rob identified some perched Chaffinches.  We slowly approached the ford.  On the left I found a juvenile Little Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper.  To the right was a Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Mallards and Moorhens.

Juvenile Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We parked up on the far embankment to wait for the others which included Pippa, a new member.  There were 13 of us in the end. John added a Red-rumped Swallow to the list which he'd seen en route. We commenced our walk towards the sewage plant.  Some Woodpigeon flew over.  Below us a number of warblers were flitting about in the shrubs.  They were mostly Chiffchaff, but I did ID a Subalpine Warbler.  We heard a Cetti's Warbler.  Kevin saw a wagtail with yellow on it but it was too quick to confirm a Grey or Yellow.  At the first pools there were some Black-winged Stilts, Little Ringed Plovers and both Green and Common Sandpipers.  John was first to see the Kestrel flying over.  Us up front had a Blackbird whilst John, Rob and others behind had a Blue Rock Thrush.  On the main pool there were lots of Mallard with Black-winged Stilts and Black-headed Gulls.  John did well to spot the two Teal.   Kevin added a Cattle Egret.and John, a White Wagtail and Kentish Plover.

Common Sandpiper Actitus hypoleucos PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

After a refreshment break in Villaricos village we made our way to the beach.  Despite the sunbathers and swimmers, there was a white fronted juvenile Cormorant on the harbour entrance rocks with a Yellow-legged Gull.  We walked over to the new sand embankment.  After climbing up it we had a good view over the estuary.  Two anglers below didn't seem to distract the Coot and Mallards.  Also seen was a Grey Heron and Little Egret.  John found some distant Audouin's Gulls as well as a Turnstone and Ringed Plover.  I spotted a Sandwich Tern.  Some Cormorants were closer to the sea with some on it as well.  A Greenfinch flew by. Kevin found a distant Iberian Grey Shrike.  We moved round to the beach which gave us better views of John's Audouin's Gulls and some resting Sandwich Terns.  Rob then spotted a Great White Egret next to a Grey Heron which nicely showed the size comparison.  He also found a juvenile Greater Flamingo.

We then convoyed to the dual carriageway opposite the Consum supermarket behind Vera Playa. Overlooking the shallow water John found a Curlew Sandpiper.  Kevin spotted another distant wader which I identified as a Wood Sandpiper.  There were lots of Coot, Mallard, Little Egrets and Black Winged Stilt.  Juda spotted two flying Glossy Ibis and John got some Shoveler and a Shelduck.  I had an Avocet.

Moving further along I spotted a Kingfisher. The Glossy Ibis had settled on the far bank.  Lots of Greater Flamingo here.

We walked round to the first elevated viewing platform.  Some went up top, but I, with others plumped for the shade underneath.  It was very hot and I was feeling rather faint, especially with wearing a mask. We had better views of John's Shovelers and Shelduck.  I found a Greenshank on the sandy island. Kevin found some distant Little Grebes.  John spotted a Black -necked Grebe.

I thought it best that I headed home.  We ended up with 50 species.  Lovely days birding in great company.
Will be back at the end of November.  Sending our best wishes to Lynn and Marion.
Regards, Dave

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