Thursday 9 September 2021

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera with Arboleas Birding Group

 Wednesday 8 September

Another good day's birding by the Arbloeas Birding Group visiting the Rambla de Almanzora and nearby Vera which has really got me excited for next week's visit to Cabo de Gata where I , too, will be bale to join Dave and friends.  Looking to catch up with all those familiar species which I have not seen for the past two plus months, especially the Iberian Grey Shrike and Audouin's Gull. And a Golden Oriole would certainly be much appreciated!

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera: Wednesday 8th September

I was out at the crack of dawn, heading down to the coast as I had to check out a friend's apartment before they arrived in a couple of days.  That being okay, I made my way to the Desert Springs end of the Rambla de Almanzora.  The first weir had some stagnant water with weeded up muddy riles above which were quartering Barn and Red-rumped Swallows.  On the water were some Moorhen and Mallard, a Little Grebe and a pair of Black-winged Stilt.  Also seen was a single Sand Martin, a few House Martins and an overflying Cattle Egret.  Moving further towards the estuary the water dried up.  I saw a single flying Glossy Ibis, an Iberian Grey Shrike, a Kestrel and a Little Owl.  A charm of Goldfinch flitted amongst the bushes.  I got to the ford, only seeing Moorhen on the stagnant water.  Being very early I headed to the dual carriageway to check it's status as as I passed earlier it looked as if it might be closed. It was closed on one side, the pool side was two way traffic so that's okay.

Iberian Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Returning to the ford parking area, I waited for the others to arrive.  A flock of 200+ Woodpigeon took off from the opposite fields.  Also seen was a Magpie and some Spotless Starlings plus a dishevelled looking Iberian Grey Shrike on the power line behind me.  I noticed Alan's car had stopped by the ford. I missed the female Golden Oriole Alan and Jeff saw!  Once Peter, Trevor and Michael arrived we wandered up towards the sewage works.  On the small settling pools were a couple of young Little Ringed Plovers.  A pair of Black-headed Gulls flew to the larger pool to join the others there.  Also around the larger pool were numerous Mallard, the aforementioned Black-headed Gulls and Black-winged Stilts.  There was a Little Grebe up the far end.  Alan and Jeff added White Wagtail and Common Sandpiper.  As we walked back to the vehicles I spotted a female Marsh Harrier on the far side.
Scruffy version of a second Iberian Grey Shrike
 (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We stopped for a coffee in Villaricos village with Molly, Michael's dog, causing mayhem when a couple of cats appeared!

We followed Alan to the Vera side of the Almanzora estuary, me seeing a pair of Sardinian Warblers on the way.  A kestrel flew off from a telegraph pole.  Up on the embankment we had good views on the small muddy shorelines which harboured some small waders.  We saw Dunlin, Sanderling, Little Stint and both Kentish and Ringed Plover.  There were at least 4 Grey Heron around the estuary plus Audouin's Gulls, Coot and Little Egrets.  Jeff also saw a Turnstone.

We made our way to the restricted dual carriageway opposite the Consum supermarket behind Vera Playa.  Alan immediately spotted a Ruff, quickly followed by a Wood Sandpiper.  The usual suspects, Black-winged Stilts, Mallard, Moorhen and Coots were seen.  I spotted a Grey Plover still in breeding plumage which was nice.  Further down there were 5 Greater Flamingos and a similar number of Little Egret.  I found a single Glossy Ibis.

We moved to the elevated viewing platform opposite the AcuaParc.  A marsh tern in winter plumage caused some discussion.  It turned out to be a Whiskered Tern.  I also spotted a Common Swift.  A Little Egret showed well.

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

And that was the end of a lovely day birding in good company.  A total of 41 species were seen.
Regards, Dave

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