Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa

 Wednesday 28 April

Sounds as if friend Dave Elliott-Binns and his Arboleas Birding Group have had another great day's birding.  I especially felt envious with the reports of Purple and Squacco Heron along with Great Spotted Cuckoo.  Just goes to show what can happen when the rains cease ad our feathered friends start moving about again..

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa:  Wednesday 28th April

With all the recent rain it was going to be interesting to see how it affected the Rambla de Almanzora near Villaricos.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

I picked up Juda from the Ballabona service station on the A7/E15 and headed for the rambla, joining near the Desert Springs golf complex.  We could immediately see that there was a lot more standing water, but it was still shallow.  Driving along the top of the embankment overlooking the patchy pools we saw Moorhen, Mallard and Black-winged Stilts.  A Common Sandpiper was on one of the concrete weirs.  There were three Glossy Ibis feeding in one of the meadowy areas.  A Grey Heron flew off. A Little Ringed Plover posed well on the side of the embankment.  Also seen were Little Egret, Redshank and a standing Shelduck on another concrete weir.  Smaller birds included Barn Swallow, Greenfinch, Spotless Starling and an Iberian Grey Shrike on one of the power lines.  There were only some Moorhen and Black-winged Stilts at the ford.

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)


We were joined by John, Trevor, Michael and Karen.  John had seen Bee-eater, Red-rumped Swallow, Green Sandpiper, Kentish Plover, Jackdaw, Blackbird and Woodpigeon on his little tour prior to meeting up.  He'd also heard a Nightingale.  We wandered up towards the sewage works, hearing Reed Warblers.  Beside one of the little pools was another Common Sandpiper.  A pair of Serin perched on the chain linked fence.  On the larger expanse of water were Common Pochard, Shelduck and a single male Gadwall as well as the usual Mallard. Black-winged Stilts littered the shore line.  I spotted a Sardinian Warbler, but was trumped by John's Spotted Flycatcher.

Shelduck Tadorna tadorna (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We returned to the vehicles and made for the Lucky Bar in Villaricos village for a coffee and tostada. We added House Sparrow and Yellow Legged Gull.

We headed for the beach. John checked out the view from the promenade and saw some Turnstone. Unusually there was nothing on the harbour rocks so we began to walk over to the estuary.  A Great Spotted Cuckoo noisily flew across the flattened area.  From the top of the sandy embankment we saw Coot, Cormorant, Moorhen and Ringed Plover.  John found adult & immature Audouin's Gulls near the beach.  There were numerous Little Egret and Grey Herons lining the shore line.  I spotted three Gull-billed Terns near the breached beach.  We then walked along the beach towards the vehicles.  John added a Grey Plover to the list.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We then convoyed to the dual carriageway behind Vera Playa which overlooks a wetland.  John stopped first.  We carried to be nearer the hillock.  We first saw a Purple Heron flying low over the water and shrubs.  John joined us saying he stopped further back he'd seen other Purple Herons flying.  I had the briefest of glimpses of a Squacco Heron.  I spotted a Black-necked Grebe and Trevor a Little Grebe. There were at least ten Greater Flamingos there as well as lots of nesting Black-headed Gulls.  Moving down beyond the hillock we added White-headed Duck and Red-crested Pochard.  John and I identified some distant Whiskered Terns.  He then found a solitary sleeping Spoonbill.

John stopped at the first elevated viewing platform.  Trevor, Juda and I stopped at the second.  Not a lot was seen from ours.  White-headed Ducks, Common and Red-crested Pochard.  Our only addition to the list was a Great Crested Grebe.  John had added Black Wheatear and Kingfisher from where he had excellent views of the Whiskered Terns.  After we'd left to go home he added White Wagtail and Cetti's Warbler.

We ended the day with 54 species.  Very pleased with that.
We send our continued best wishes to Phil Naylor and to Richard Hirons who has been diagnosed with pneumonia.
Regards, Dave


Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional informatio

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