Wednesday 5 January 2022

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa

 Wednesday 5 January

The start of a new year and Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group were once more out and about.  Reading Dave's report, it sound a s if he is experiencing some of the strong winds that seem to been with us here in the UK for the past fortnight. A smile on my face having just returned from some local birding around Warsash on the south cost of Hampshire this morning to see the number of same specis seen in the two far-apart countries.  Likewise, those common to each other, in my case birds like Dunnock and Wren and with Dave, Black-winged Stilts and Flamingo.  But I shall be back on home territory within the fortnight!

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 5th January

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year.  For our first trip of the year we returned to the Rambla de Almanzora.  I travelled alone to the Desert Springs end of it.  It was just after first light.  The wind was howling, but there were lots of pools and puddles in the rambla below me.  I saw Mallard, Teal, a Snipe and Moorhen to start with.  Movement in a shrub revealed a Chiffchaff.  Further along I saw a large shrub with 12 Magpies perched. (12 is for wealth according to Google....hope so!)  Next I had a Collared Dove, followed by an Iberian Grey Shrike.  Seeing lots more Teal . On one of the shallow pools there was a White Wagtail, Little Ringed Plover and Black-winged Stilt.  A Kestrel flew by as did a flock of Northern Starlings.   One of the last pools contained some Shoveler.

Shoveler Anas clypeata

I met Kevin in his campervan travelling the opposite way.  A quick chat, then I continued to the ford where I only had Coot and a Teal.  I parked up and was met by Peter, Kevin and Pete Thom.  Kevin had added a Black Redstart.  A female was seen on the fence posts.

Due to the high winds I decided we'd forgo the walk to the sewage plant and headed to the estuary. From above, Kevin soon spotted a small flock of Dunlin and some Grey Heron.  A Cormorant flew seaward.  I spotted a Sandwich Tern which landed by some gulls.  Mostly Black-headed but also one Mediterranean, a couple of Slender-bills and Yellow-legs.  Peter spotted a Little Egret, then a Greenshank.  We drove round to the beach.  The sea was much calmer here.  There was a Cormorant and a Yellow-legged Gull on the rocks nearest the harbour.  There were about 6 Sandwich Terns on a nearer group of rocks.  I found a Turnstone.  We made for the village for a cup of coffee.

Sandwich Terns Sterna sandvicensis

We then headed for the dual carriageway behind Vera Playa.  Overlooking the shallow pools we saw more Shoveler, Mallard and Teal.  There were numerous Shelduck.  After a bit of a search I managed to find the sole immature Greater Flamingo.  There were at least 4 Little Grebe seen.  I spotted a Marsh Harrier over the far reeds, Peter found a second one.  A small number of Crag Martins were seen.  Kevin spotted a Black-winged Stilt.  I found another Snipe.

Moving round to the elevated viewing platform by the AcuaParc overlooking the large pool we saw a large number of Shoveler sheltering from the winds.  Peter found some White-headed Ducks.  I identified a female Common Pochard.

White-headed Ducks Oxyura leucocephala (in front)

As the wind was cold and some asking, "Can we go home now?"  we decided enough was enough!
We ended with 33 species.  Despite the cold, windy conditions we had a good day. 
I'm sure some of you older members will remember Norman.  He sadly lost his wife, Gill, over Christmas.  We send our deepest sympathies.
Regards, Dave

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