Wednesday 29 June 2022

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa

Wednesday 29 June

An excellent morning's birding by Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group for their last group meeting before the summer break.  I certainly liked the ide of Little Egret, Night  and Squacco Herons; what a way to end the season.  By the time the group have rested they should all be ready for the heady days of the autumn migration, certainly something to look forward to.  happy holidays one and all!

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 29th June

For our trip before the summer break we kept local and opted for the Rambla de Almanzora and Vera Playa.  I picked up Juda from the Ballabona service station on the E15/A7 and made for the Desert Springs golf complex entrance to the rambla.  Having already spotted a Magpie, we added House Martin and Black-winged Stilt in the muddy pool by the first concrete weir.  The rambla from then on was as dry as a desert, but we did see the first of many Glossy Ibis flying over.  Also seen were House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Goldfinch and Hoopoe.  Juda then found a perched Roller on the power line.  Next was an Iberian Grey Shrike sitting on a shrub.  There were workers near the desalination plant and they seemed to be pumping water into the rambla, but the birds weren't there yet.  The ford pool produced some Mallard.  We met Bill in the parking area.  He'd already logged Greenfinch, Barn and Red-rumped Swallow, Sardinian Warbler, Spotless Starling, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove and Common Swift.  He'd also heard a Cetti's Warbler.

Roller Coracias garrulus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We began to do the walk to the sewage works.  Bill added a Kestrel and Little Ringed Plover.  On the two smaller pools we had Black-winged Stilts and a Glossy Ibis on each.  On the big pool there were numerous female Mallards with older ducklings and a number of Black-winged Stilts.  Bill identified a distant Iberian Grey Shrike on a power line.

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

After returning to our vehicles we headed for the beach.  Juda spotted a Cormorant on the harbour rocks.  She also found a flying Grey Heron . I added a pair of White Wagtail.  As we were leaving a pair of Yellow-legged Gulls flew by.

We drove round to the estuary.  As I drove along the embankment I spotted a Night Heron below us. When we got to the turning circle, there were two more resting on a washed up tree trunk.  We were joined by Jacky.  There were two more Grey Herons, a Little Egret, Coot and Moorhen in the water.  On the beach I identified an Audouin's Gull.  Bill spotted a pair of Turnstone and some Kentish Plovers.  I added a Common Sandpiper.

Night Herons Nycticorax nycticorax (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We drove to the dual carriageway behind Vera Playa which overlooks a wetland.  I spotted the first of three Squacco Herons. There were more Glossy Ibis.  Jacky found a Little Grebe.  I found a couple of Avocet.  Bill added a female Common Pochard with diving youngsters.  Nearby was a Black-necked Grebe seen by Jacky.  She heard, then spotted a Bee Eater.  Bill observed a White-headed Duck and I found a Slender-billed Gull.  There were over 30 Greater Flamingos present.

Female Mallard Anas platyrhynchos with young (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

After doing both sides of the hump we walked over to the first elevated viewing platform.   Bill saw a Great Crested Grebe with chicks on its back.  We added a number of flying Cattle Egrets . Bill scanned the sandy spit and found, together with Common Pochard, Black Headed Gulls and Black-winged Stilts, that there was a female Shoveler and a couple of juvenile Shelduck. 

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus with passenger (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

A great final day. 47 species in total. Good birding. Good company.

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