Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa, Almeria

Wednesday 28 September

Dave and his Arboleas Bird Group seem to have another eventful day and even managed to record a good shower.  Not to worry, dave we also had spots of rain down on the coast here in Mezquitilla between Torre del Mar and Torrox.

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa
Wednesday 28th September

Today I drove Steve down to the Rambla de Almanzora.  We joined it from the Cuevas de Almanzora end to check out the birding state heading towards the estuary.  At the first patch of water below a small dam there were three Little Grebe.  The next area was a shallow pool which contained three Ruff, a Green Sandpiper, a Snipe and some Black Winged Stilt.  The area where the Solitary Sandpiper was last February was an arid scrape.  We drove on to the "ford" where we met up with Dave, Kevin, Colin, Sandra, Rod and John.  The latter had also seen a Kingfisher and, out to sea, a Gannet.  It began to rain, but luckily it was only a passing shower!  There was very little water in the rambla at this point and all on the far side.  An occasional Black Winged Stilt was seen or heard.  We walked up towards the rather smelly sewage works. Colin found a Stonechat on a power line.  Also seen were Moorhen, White Wagtail & Blackbird.   At the sewage pools we had Little Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper.  Barn Swallows were quite regular, together with the odd Red-rumped Swallow.  Steve spotted an Iberian Grey Shrike perched in a tobacco shrub.  On the large pool next to the Sewage works were numerous Mallard with one eclipse male Shoveler.  It was a good day for Grey Heron. There were three in this area.  We heard Sardinian and Cetti's Warbler.  We added Magpie on our walk back to the cars, where we met up with Richard, who added Chiffchaff to our list.

White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala (PHOTO: Dave Elliott-Binns)
After a refreshing cuppa in Villaricos village we made our way to the beach. There was a strong inshore breeze making the sea quite choppy, hence there were no birds on the harbour rocks.  There were however a small flock of variously plumaged Sanderling on the shoreline.  They were joined by a Turnstone. We walked over to the estuary. There were a couple of juvenile White Headed Duck, which Rod suggested had come from the now dry pools opposite the Vera Playa Consum supermarket, and a female Common Pochard.  Also seen was a male Kestrel, some Coot, a Little Egret and a Cormorant.  Three more Grey Heron were seen.  On the beach itself there was a mixed flock of Audouin's Gull and Sandwich Tern.  I spotted "Johns" Gannet far out to sea.  The waders in the shallows consisted of a Ringed Plover and 12 Turnstone.  We walked back along the beach seeing more Sandwich Tern.  Kevin spotted the returning/resident Whimbrel on the rocks.

Retreating Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis  (PHOTO: Dave Elliott-Binns)
As previously mentioned, the pools at the back of Vera Playa were dry, so we next stopped at the laguna near the Millionaire's bar.  There were lots of Mallard there waiting for bread from the tourists.  Further back John found a good flock of mainly male Common Pochard.  I spotted a Little Grebe.

Common Pochard Aythyaferina (PHOTO: Dave Elliott-Binns)
We ended up with 38 species for the day.  Suppose it wasn't bad considering it was just after the summer season.  Boy, could we do with more rain, but not as much as we had 4 years ago today when the whole area, including Tony and Val's flat near Garrucha got flooded out!

Dave Elliott-Binns

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