Wednesday 13 June 2018

Wednesday 13 June 

Looks as if Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group found sun and sun-bathers to interrupt their birding today but, nevertheless, some great sightings.

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa:Wednesday 13th June

Richard, Steve and I were kindly picked up in Arboleas by Paul. We joined the Rambla de Almanzora near to the Desert Springs golf complex and headed slowly towards the ford.  There was no water in the rambla until we were virtually there, but we did managed to see Bee-eater, Spotless Starling, Blackbird, Magpie, Goldfinch, Black Headed Gull and Woodpigeon.  At the ford we only saw Moorhen, Mallard and Black-winged Stilt.  Brian and Mary were already there.  We were joined by Barrie and Beryl​.  We walked onto the embankment overlooking the water-filled channel and were joined by Jacky.  Lots of Black-winged Stilt.  I spotted a Green Sandpiper and Paul found a Little Ringed Plover nearby.  Barrie added some more Green Sandpipers and a Ringed Plover.  Overhead we had Common Swift, House Martin, Barn and Red-rumped Swallows.  Richard checked out the channel further towards the bridge as the rest of us, now joined by Trevor and Ann made for the sewage works.  We could hear Reed Warblers.  A Hoopoe posed well.  I thought I had taken some photos of it, only to discover, once on the computer, I had very sharp images of the vegetation behind it!  We added Sardinian Warbler before we got to the larger pool.  I added a Common Pochard to the list.  Only other birds were Mallard and yet more Black-winged Stilt!  We heard a Stone Curlew calling from the rambla very close to us.  It eventually flew up the rambla on the far side. 
Resting Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Leaving the car park area about last, us in Paul's car had a close encounter with a perched Roller on a power line.  We retreated to the Lucky bar in Villaricos village for refreshments.  On the table next to us was Steve, a holidaying birder from Buckinghamshire who might be moving out our way.  I've added him to my e-mailing list. 

Roller Coracias  garrulus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
After a short detour back to where we'd parked at the ford as Paul's rubber knob had come off the bottom of his crutch, we joined the others on the beach......with the increasing numbers of sunbathers! The harbour rocks produced a single Cormorant and a few Little Egrets.  Trudging over to the estuary as it was getting a bit hot now (31c predicted on the weather forecast this morning!), we saw a female Common Pochard, 3 Shoveler, a male and 2 females as well as Coot and Mallard. I spotted a distant Kestrel perched on a telegraph pole adjacent to the road. Jacky was first to hear an overflying Zitting Cisticola.  Moving further towards the beach we saw more Coot and lots of jumping fish.  A couple walking with two dogs removed any chance of seeing much along the estuary's beach end.  I did briefly see a Sanderling.  Barrie managed to find a Kentish Plover.  Paul saw a Yellow-legged Gull. On the walk along the beach back to the vehicles, Barrie spotted a small flock of feeding Greenfinch. 

Female Common Pochard Aythya ferina (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We then drove to the dual carriageway opposite the Consum supermarket behind Vera Playa.  It was not a shock to hear the numerous Black-winged Stilts, some with chicks.  The Black-headed Gull colony seems to have had a successful breeding season.  Moving a bit further along I found a single Slender-billed Gull.  Barrie saw some interesting birds on a sandy spit even further along.  We walked onto a flattened area where we could get a closer view.  A Little Tern was diving for fish.  A wader proved to be a Curlew Sandpiper.  We also saw White-headed Duck and Little Grebe.  Barrie found a sitting Mediterranean Gull with a last year juvenile nearby.
We ended up with 41 species.  Due to the increasing heat and the numbers of people on the beach, I think we shall return here in the autumn.  Still a good days birding in good company.  We wish Barrie and Beryl good luck on their future holiday to Outer Mongolia looking for Snow Leopards.  They've promised to send me photograph!
Regards, Dave

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