Thursday 27 February 2020

Almanzora and Vera Playa with the Arboleas Birding Group

Wednesday 26 February

Yet again, Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group have beaten me to a birding hotspot this week. I enjoyed reading Dave's report, especially the mention mention of  both Long-eared owl and Wood sandpiper, two species I am yet to see this year.  It certainly sounds a great day's birding with a good species total and well-attended.  Now look forward to catching up with Dave at the Charca de Suarez on Saturday when, just perhaps, I might find both Wood sandpiper and Kingfisher.

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 26th February

This weeks report actually starts yesterday when I took Gilly to Corvera airport near Murcia.  On the way back I popped into see my friends near Lorca who have the roosting Long Eared Owls in their garden.  Two were present, but slightly obscured by leafed branches.

Long-eared Owl Asio otus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Right, back to today. I picked up returning holiday birders, Phil ans Sue near to the Consum supermarket and headed to the Rambla Almanzora.  We drove slowly down the left hand embankment, seeing Moorhen, White Wagtail and a flushed Green Sandpiper. Crossing the ford we added Black-winged Stilt, Mallard, Little Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper.  

Common Sandpiper Actitus hypoleucos (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We met up with the 10 other members, including new boy, Jan from Flanders, at the parking area.  John had also seen Dunlin en route.  Checking the ford area more closely and from above, Alan found a Greenshank and a Little Stint.  Phil spotted Spotless Starling, Magpie and Serin.  He also saw a yellow-coloured wagtail flying past. A flock of Greenfinch flew over.  Also seen were Collared Dove, Crested Lark and Chiffchaff.  We walked slowly towards the sewage works.  Phil's wagtail appeared in the form of a Grey Wagtail.  There was not anything on the small pools apart from the wagtail.  The large pool had only Mallard thereon, but over the far side of the rambla the winter resident Blue Rock Thrush was still around.  I heard the distant sound of Stone Curlew.  I did spot an Iberian Grey Shrike.  For a change we drove further up the rambla to check out the shallow pools there.  The first area we checked gave us a small flock of Teal plus Meadow Pipit.  Alan found a Shoveler.  Driving slowly back, we checked other pools and were rewarded with a Barn Swallow, Wood Sandpiper, Redshank, another Greenshank and a small covey of Snipe.  John also had a Black Redstart.

It was now coffee time. As we supped a cuppa a pair of House Martins flew around the Villaricos square.  Moving onto the beach, the only bird on the harbour entrance rock was a Yellow-legged Gull.  A small flock (8) of Sanderling was on another outcrop.  The embankment work at the rambla end of the estuary was still ongoing, so we checked out the middle section.  John found a nice Mediterranean Gull in full breeding plumage on the opposite bank with some others.  Phil added a Sandwich Tern.  Also seen were Coot, Moorhen and Little Egret.  Karen then found a lovely Purple Swamphen.  The walk along the beach did not trouble the scorer!

Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We made our way to the dual carriageway behind Vera Playa.  We had more Black-winged Stilt, Shoveler, Teal and Mallard plus a Little Grebe.  Phil counted 21 Grey Heron and I, 45 Cormorants.  Alan found a small number of White-headed Ducks. John added Red Crested Pochard and Kestrel to the list.  I think I heard Phil mention a Gadwall.

We then ended up at the viewing area near the water park.  There were more Shoveler, White-headed Duck, a Red-crested Pochard, a pair of Gadwall and some Common Pochard to complete the days list of 50 species.

A great days birding in good company!
Regards, Dave

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