Thursday 2 December 2021

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa

 Wednesday 1 December

What better way to start the new month than be out birding with friends.  As for me, I was driving up and down between Stamford, Lincolnshire and Warsash on the mouth of the Hamble river it meets Southampton Water.  Lots of Red Kites seen both yesterday and today and this afternoon as I crossed the Isis (Thames) on the A43 west of Oxford. Meanwhile Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group were out birding and I certainly know where I would prefer to be.

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 1st December

I picked up Juda from the Ballabona service station and we made our way to the Desert Springs end of the Rambla de Almanzora.  On or near the first pools we saw Coot, Moorhen, Shoveler and the first of many Teal. Waders included Dunlin, Wood Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover.  The stars of the show were 4 Lapwing.  Little birds included Greenfinch, Goldfinch, White Wagtail and Water Pipit.  Further down we saw a Kestrel and a couple of Green Sandpipers.  Juda spotted a Snipe.  We heard a Cetti's Warbler.  Also added Iberian Grey Shrike, Stonechat, Chiffchaff and Northern Starling.

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

There was nothing at the ford possibly due to a very loud bird scarer banging nearby!  We met up with Les, Kevin and Nevill.  They had seen Long-tailed Tit, Mallard, Collared Dove and House Sparrow.  We were joined by Michael, Karen, Val after a long time in France and Trevor.  We wandered along the embankment towards the Sewage complex.  I found a Robin and Les saw a Black Redstart.  Some Woodpigeon flew over.  The small ponds only produced White Wagtail and Collared Dove.  The big pool had Shoveler, Teal and Mallard swimming about.  Juda found a Grey Heron.  A Dunlin was identified.  Les spotted a Blackbird flying low through the shrubs.  A pair of Thekla Larks were seen.

Male Shoveler Anas clypeata

After a coffee in Villaricos village we checked out the rocks from the promenade.  There were a couple of Cormorants, a Black-headed Gull and possibly a flight of Turnstone.  We moved on to the estuary, viewing it from the Vera side from the embankment.  There were lots of Cormorants drying their wings. We added Little Egret and Yellow-legged Gull.

We headed to the dual carriageway opposite the Consum supermarket at the rear of Vera Playa.  Kevin and Trevor both spotted Little Grebes.  Nevill found the two Greater Flamingo.  Amongst the shrubs were Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Coot and Moorhen.  I found 6 Shelduck on the far side.  Trevor then spotted a male Marsh Harrier whilst Karen spotted one of two females.  Les added a Sardinian Warbler.
We carried on round to the elevated platform opposite the Acuaparc.  Les possibly had some Crag Martins en route.  There were 19 White-headed Ducks seen.  Nevill found the first Barn Swallow, whilst Les spotted a Purple Swamphen.

We ended up with 45 species.  Lovely weather if a bit chilly.  Great company.  When I was dropping Juda off at the Ballabona she spotted a raptor overhead.  A Bonell's Eagle!

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