Wednesday 16 February 2022

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa

Wednesday 16 February

Well our David may be up and about birding again but it sounds to me as if his leg is like mine; on the mend but not completely better yet.  I suspect we are both about 10% off being to take part in the next Olympic sprint for oldies! Along with the rest of the Arboleas Birding Group they certainly had a good morning's birding and it's one thing having to wait for an Audouin's Gull until I return to Spain in late April but, more to the point, in which country will I see my first Barn Swallow of the year?

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 16th February

Doing my usual thing, I left home early and made my way to the Desert Springs end of the Rambla de Almanzora.  Overlooking the pools below me, my first bird was a male Shoveler, closely followed by Coot, Moorhen and a White Wagtail.  As before the majority of wildfowl were Teal with a number of Mallard.  I then saw about 5 Snipe, a Green Sandpiper together with a Wood Sandpiper.  Small birds included Meadow Pipit (more later), Thekla Lark and Chiffchaff.  The following pools added a single Lapwing, Redshank and some amorous Black-winged Stilts.  At the ford I saw a Common Sandpiper with Coot and Moorhen.  I parked up in the limited space left by a group of French motor vans and waited for the rest to arrive.  I saw a female Black Redstart, Northern Starlings and Collared Doves.

Female Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Nine other members turned up including Ab who was last with me about 3 years ago. (He did attend last week's trip). Richard had seen a Woodpigeon and Kevin, who'd also done the far end of the Rambla, had seen five Little Ringed and one Ringed Plover.  Richard and I stayed where we were due to our temporary and permanent disabilities whilst the others under Alan's leadership walked up to the sewage works.  Richard spotted a Barn Swallow, Robin and Grey Wagtail while I added Sardinian Warbler and Yellow-legged Gull.  We observed and (luckily) photographed what we thought was a Water Pipit directly below us.  Later, looking at the colour of the legs on the photo, it was a Meadow Pipit!  The others returned having added Gadwall, Grey Heron, Serin and a heard Cetti's Warbler. On our way to the Villaricos "Lucky" bar I saw an Iberian Grey Shrike perched on a power line.  Kevin also saw a Kestrel.  House Sparrows surrounded us hoping for a scrap of tostada!  The owners informed us they won't be open on Wednesday for the foreseeable future. (John..they asked how you were.)

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We moved on to the beach.  On the harbour rocks were a pair of Sandwich Terns and two Audouin's Gulls.  They were joined by a Cormorant. Richard spotted a Gannet and some flying Cattle Egrets.  Alan found three more Gannets. 

Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We moved round to the Estuary.  A large flock of wildfowl took off on our approach.  A search out to sea revealed 26 Shelducks in a raft.  There were numerous little waders.  Alan and Kevin identified them as Ringed and Kentish Plovers, Little Stints and numerous Dunlin.

Snipe Gallinago gallinago (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We convoyed to the dual carriageway opposite the Consum supermarket at the back of Vera Playa.  Alan added Stonechat and Little Grebe.  A Little Egret was also seen.  Beyond the hump I found some Common Pochard.  Kevin identified some Mediterranean Gulls amongst the Black-headed group.  There were 14 Greater Flamingos.  We moved round to the elevated platform opposite the AguaParc. There were 45 White-headed Ducks, Little Grebes, a single Black-necked Grebe, Shelducks, Common Pochards, Shovelers and Mallards.  Two Marsh Harriers were seen, the first being spotted by Kevin.  A distant raptor was seen.  Alan got his scope on to it.  It was possibly a Common Buzzard.

Male Shoveler Anas clypeata (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We ended up with 54 species.  A great day in good company.  Lovely weather as well.
Dave ( My left leg is 90% better. Identified as a trapped sciatic nerve in my pelvis. Being careful as still tender)

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

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