Wednesday 15 December 2021

Almanzora & Vera Playa with the Arboleas Birding Group

 Wednesday 15 December

Looks like both Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group and Jenny and I were out and about around the same time today and even seeing matching birds during our birding.  However, I suspect the weather was much warmer the the Arboleas Birding Group than here on the Hamble River off Southampton Water.  For us a calm 12C but cloudy and no rain as yet.  Obviously more choice with Dave and the group managed to record almost twice as many as we in our 80 minutes alongside the river.  One difference in the species seen today, we did not see a single House Sparrow nor a Collared Dove!

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 15th December

I picked up Juda at the Ballabona service station on the A7/E15 and we headed to the Rambla de Almanzora, joining it just past the Desert Springs golf complex.  At the first weir where there were numerous pools and puddles.  We started our list with Coot, Mallard and Moorhen.  We saw the first of about 20 Teal for the day.  A Stonechat flitted from bush to bush.  Juda then found a single Lapwing whilst I added a female Wigeon.  Next we had Green Sandpiper, Shoveler, Dunlin and a wading Water Pipit.  It was followed by a female Black Redstart, White Wagtail and a brace of Magpie.  At the next weir Juda found a pair of Black-winged Stilt.  Also there was a Redshank and a pair of Little Stint.  We carried on.  Juda spotted an Iberian Grey Shrike on the road side power line.

Eclipse male Shoveler Anas clypeata

We got to the ford and there was a Grey Heron posing nicely.  We met up with Kevin, Peter, Trevor, Michael and Karen.  As well as a Green Sandpiper, Kevin had also seen House Sparrows and Northern Starlings.  A flight of Black-headed Gulls flew up the valley.  A single Hoopoe flew by as did a number of Woodpigeon and Collared Doves.  Trevor added a Cormorant whilst Karen spotted a Robin popping in and out of a shrub.  As we walked towards the sewage works we saw a small number of Chiffchaff. Kevin observed a flying Kestrel which landed on a distant pylon.  On the smaller ponds I found a Common Sandpiper whilst Karen spotted a Little Ringed Plover.  On the main pool there were plenty of Mallard with two pairs of Gadwall.  A couple of Dunlin grazed the shoreline beneath us. We returned to the vehicles and had hot coffee in Villaricos.  Richly deserved as the weather was overcast with a chilly wind.  In fact I had to de-ice our cars first thing!  (You make it sound worse than British weather!)

Dunlin Calidris alpina

We made our way to the beach. On the harbour rocks were two Cormorants and a Yellow-legged Gull. On the sandy beach was a Turnstone and a Sanderling.  There was a Grey Plover on the point as well as another Turnstone and Sanderling.  A male Black Redstart flew on to a nearby pole.

Turnstone Arenaria interpres

We drove round to the far side of the estuary.  Looking over it from the embankment we saw more Grey Heron, Moorhen and Coot.  I spotted a bird just beyond the breaking waves on the sea.  I got my scope on it.  A Red-breasted Merganser.  It's been many years since I've seen one here.  Trevor spotted two more birds to the right.  A Great Crested  and a Black-necked Grebe.  Karen added a Crag Martin.  A Little Egret was also seen.

Heron Ardea cinerea

We convoyed down to the dual carriageway behind Vera Playa.  Looking down on the shallow pools we saw more Shoveler, Teal and Mallard.  I spotted a Shelduck which was joined by 5 more.  There were 7 Greater Flamingo present.  We heard a Cetti's Warbler.  Trevor found a Greenfinch, Karen a Stonechat and a Blackbird.  Little Grebes were added to the list.  Numerous Crag Martins were quartering the pools and shrubs.

We moved round to the elevated viewing platform opposite the AcuaParc.  Kevin claimed the three new birds.  A female Common Pochard, White-headed Ducks and as a finale, a magnificent male Marsh Harrier.

Gadwall Anas strepera

What a great days birding to end our year.  We ended up with 50 species.  Thanks to all who attended for your good company. Les, Dave and Myrtle sadly missed out.  Our best wishes to Les and his wife Lynn on their move back to the UK.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my readers'
Regards, Dave

Common Coot Fulica atra

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