Thursday, 14 September 2017

Arboleas visit to Almanzora & Vera Playa

Wednesday 13 September

Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group have just been out on their latest weekly field visit and certainly found some interesting birds.  Yet more signs that migration is on the move with summer visitors working their way south from their northern breeding ground and even our winter visitors starting to appear in small numbers.  Now if only we could have some proper rain to freshen up the rivers and lakes.  In my local case, a thoroughly good and persistent downpour to flush out the local river of all the debris and unwanted growth.

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa
Wednesday 13th September

We decided to stay local today, so Gilly and I picked Steve up in Arboleas and headed towards the Rambla de Almanzora.  We joined it just passed the entrance to the Desert Springs golf complex and drove slowly atop the adjacent embankment. In most of the pools were small numbers of Little Grebe, Coot, Moorhen and Mallard. Some House Martins and a Magpie flew over.  A farmer had dumped a large amount of unsaleable water melon.  The Cattle Egret and Jackdaws loved them.  A pair of Little Ringed Plover were loitering with intent on the periphery.  Gilly also spotted a Southern Grey Shrike.  Also observed was some Spotless Starling, a Little Egret and a female Teal.  We first met up with John, who'd come in from the other direction and had also seen Kentish Plover and had heard Cetti's Warbler.
 At the "ford" we met up with David, Myrtle, Adrian, Jacky and Frans. Trevor and Ann joined us later for a total of 11 members.  The start of the walk was not very productive, only adding House Sparrow, Collared Dove, Goldfinch and Sardinian Warbler.  At the sewage works there were some Black Winged Stilt, Common and Green Sandpipers and Little Ringed Plover.  Gilly saw a White Wagtail and I spotted a female Shoveler amongst the Mallard on the large pool.  Also seen were Blackbird, Chiffchaff and Greenfinch. 

Dunlin Calidris alpina (PHOTO: Gilly Elliott-Binns)

We the adjourned to the Lucky cafe in Villaricos for some coffee before heading for the beach.  John spotted a juvenile "pink footed" Shag on the harbour rocks near a Yellow Legged Gull.  I was expecting loads of rubbish in the area after the "Dream Beach" pop concert a few weeks ago but was pleasantly surprised by the lack of it!  Over in the estuary we had the usual Coot and Moorhen, but in small numbers.  Loads of jumping Grayling fish.  Gilly spotted a Kestrel.  A Grey Heron flew round us.   Nearer the beach the shallows produced Dunlin, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Sanderling and Turnstone.  A Sandwich Tern also flew by.  On the rocks by the beach we only saw a Little Egret and a Turnstone.  The resident Whimbrel was not seen.

Juvenile Shag Phalacrocorax aristoelis with Yellow-legged Gull Larus mchahellis

John had seen some small waders on a pool behind the Palomares Repsol garage on the way this morning so we decided to swing round there on our way to the dual carriageway.  We only saw an Audouin's Gull and a Kentish Plover, but Frans and Gilly, who stayed on to take some snaps of the gull, were joined by some Dunlin!  Gilly noted that the Audouin's was missing a foot.  It was eerily joined by a Yellow Legged Gull with no feet at all!

Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii (PHOTO: Gilly Elliott-Binns)
From the carriageway overlooking the pools opposite the Consum Supermarket we saw loads of Coot and Black Winged Stilt together with Little Egret and Grebe.  John spotted a Crag Martin.  There was a juvenile Greater Flamingo plus a what looked to be a recently deceased adult bird in the water.  We'd been admiring 3 Ruff when all of a sudden everything took to the air.  Gilly was first to spot the female Marsh Harrier coasting in.  I scanned its flying prey and found a Redshank in the melee.  Frans also found some Serin.  At the far end directly opposite the supermarket, we saw more Black Winged Stilt and another Ruff.  Further along opposite the Acuapark, where pipe-laying operations had removed some of the reed screen we only had Little Egret and Little Grebe.

Ruff Philomachus pugnax (PHOTO: Gilly Elliott-Binns)
We ended with a respectful 47 total. A good days  birding in good company.
Regards, Dave

A departing Grey Heron Ardea cinerea (PHOTO: Gilly Elliott-Binns)

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