Wednesday 11 January 2023

Rio Almanzora & Vera Playa

 Wednesday 11 January

Good morning's birding at the Rio Almanzora with Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group.  Here the sun was shining but all change by the end of the morning with rain adding to the cold and very blustery wind so, probably, no afternoon river walk for me. Happy memories reading about all those species that I no longer see in the UK but, all being well, I'll back in Spain soon.  So look forward to continuing to  hear about what the group is doing and seeing etc.

Estuary de Rio Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 11th January

Decided to go local this week by heading to our nearest coastline at Villaricos.  I picked up Juda at the Ballabona services and made our way to the Almanzora rambla, joining near the Desert Springs golf complex.  There was still no water and the construction works continues.  We did see flocks, some large, of Northern Starlings.  One group perched on a bush had a Hoopoe with them.  Two more joined it when it flew off.  A pair of Stonechat was seen.  Juda added a Blackbird.  Nearing the ford where there was some standing water I spotted some Teal.  At the ford we had Moorhen, Teal, Common Sandpiper and a Shoveler. Whilst waiting for the others to arrive we saw Magpie, Collared Dove and Woodpigeon.  We were joined by Kevin, Peter, Trevor, Val, Michael and Karen.  The latter spotted a Black Wheatear and Kevin found the first Chiffchaff of the day.  Also seen were some passing Mallard and a Yellow-legged Gull.

Mr & Mrs Shelduck Tadorna tadorna (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

From there we moved to the beach. Lots of camper vans parked up.  On the rocks by the harbour was a Cormorant plus two others swimming off the beach in front of us.  Kevin spotted a Turnstone and some Sanderling.  Also seen was a Black-headed Gull and a House Sparrow.

We made our way to the embankment overlooking the estuary.  We were on the Villaricos side whilst Kevin went to the far side.  Due to a couple sitting just below us, all the birds were at the beach end.  We saw Cormorant, Black-headed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Little Grebe and Little Egret.  The star of the day, not seen by some including me, was a Kingfisher doing its hover and dive directly in front of Kevin.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We adjourned for coffee in Villaricos village and then made our way to the dual carriageway opposite the Consum supermarket, Vera Playa, where it overlooks some wetland.  As we arrived a Cattle Egret flew over.  There were lots of Coot, Moorhen, Shoveler plus a few Teal.  Juda spotted an Avocet.  Kevin added a second a bit later. Also there were Black-winged Stilts, Greater Flamingos and a Redshank.  Kevin found a female Marsh Harrier flying over the reeds on the far side.  It was joined later by the magnificent male.  Kevin then spotted some little waders below us.  Kentish Plovers and Little Stints. He also found a White Wagtail.

We went round to the elevated viewing tower opposite the Acuaparc.  Hundreds of Coot there with a few Little Grebes.  Juda found a pair of Shelduck on the far side.  Whilst looking at them, a Western Swamphen appeared out of the shrub/reed line.

We ended up with 35 species. A good morning birding in good company!

Synchronized swimming Shelduck Tadorna tadorna (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

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