Wednesday 23 December 2020

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa

 Wednesday 23 December

Good to see that Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group are making the most of these strange times and getting out once again on a regular basis, just in case more severe restrictions appear on the scene in the not too distant future.  This might also be an opportune moment to pass on my best wishes to all the Group's members for a peaceful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year and the hope that 2021 will be more like previous years than was the case in 2020.  Here's to some great birding in the  months to come.

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 23rd December 

This week I thought we'd stay local and venture down to the Rambla de Almanzora.  I picked up Rob early as I wanted to check out the rambla from the Desert Springs golf complex end.  Our first bird was a White Wagtail.  There were a lot of shallow pools which we scanned each from the embankment.  We saw Mallard, Little Grebe and Moorhen in the first pool.  The next had a couple of Snipe.  We saw more further down.  The bushes fluttered with Chiffchaff.  Carrying on we added Shoveler, Teal, Green and Wood Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt and Little Ringed Plover.  Little birds included Meadow Pipit, Gold and Greenfinch and Stonechat but the star was a first winter Bluethroat. Rob spotted an Iberian Grey Shrike on the power line.  Also seen were Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Northern and Spotless Starling.

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Getting to the ford I prepared the camera in case birds were feeding there.  Sure enough we saw Black-winged Stilt, Common Sandpiper and a Teal which exited left very rapidly!  We waited in the parking area for the others to arrive, adding Sardinian Warbler and Black Redstart. 

Rapidly departing male Teal Anas crecca (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Another 8 members turned up and we wandered along to the Sewage works seeing a few Chiffchaff on the way.  The small pools were deserted but there were Magpie, Moorhen and White Wagtail interested in the rubbish skips.  On the water we found Common Pochard, Mallard and Black-headed Gulls.  A Common Sandpiper was scurrying around the water's edge.  Kevin added three Iberian Grey Shrikes on the power line.

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

We made our way to the village for a coffee.  House Sparrows joined us as a few Crag Martins flew over.  We then headed for the beach, Jen seeing a Hoopoe on the way.  We checked out the harbour entrance rocks.   There were three Cormorant and a young Yellow-legged Gull on the largest "island". On another was a Ringed Plover, Sanderling and a Dunlin.  I then spotted the resident Whimbrel which made a brief appearance.  Surprisingly there was a Grey Wagtail flitting around the rocks as well.
We walked over to the estuary, climbing up the new sandy embankment.  Rob spotted another Grey Wagtail.  There were about 100 Coot.  Kevin found the first of four Grey Heron.  There was a solitary Little Egret.  Over the beach Rob  found a feeding Sandwich Tern.  We wandered round to the beach, where it was muddy underfoot as some work was being carried out.  I spotted a few Little Stint and a single 2nd winter Audouin's Gull.  Unfortunately only Rob saw the Kingfisher as it shot off.  As we walked back to the vehicles along the beach, we checked out the rocky isthmus. There was a good flock of Dunlin, resting Sandwich Terns and Ringed and Kentish Plovers.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We then convoyed to the dual carriageway saying goodbye to Phil and Jen.  Rob spotted the only Avocet of the day.  All the usual suspects were evident.  Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Shoveler and Teal. Moving beyond the hump I found some Shelduck.  There were 6 Greater Flamingos present.  We heard a Cetti's Warbler.  Rob had seen two Marsh Harriers there on Monday.  Only one was seen today. Moving round to the elevated hide near to the Acuaparc, we saw loads of Shoveler, a Common Pochard an about 25 White-headed Duck.  Kevin did well to spot the Purple Swamphen preening in the reedline.  There were constant flypasts of Crag Martins, but I spotted a Sand Martin amongst them. I seem to remember Richard mentioning one when he visited last week.

A very good day birding in good company. Was lovely to see Pete, Carolyn, Steve, Phil and Jen and of course the regulars!  We ended up with 54 species.

Regards, Dave

Lovely report Dave and some jolly good birds recorded.

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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