Wednesday 9 March 2022

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa


Wednesday 9 March

Sounds like a great day's birding by the Arboleas Birding Gropup up at the Rambla de Almanzora and Vera Player.  Lovely to read about all the returning summer visitors, none as yet seen by me over here in Hampshire.  Paricularly liked the sightings of Wood Sandpiper and water Pipit.

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 9th March

As I was waiting at the Ballabona services on the A7/E15 south of Huercal Overa,  What should fly over but my first Red Rumped Swallow of the year.  Juda arrived shortly afterwards and we made our way to the ford on the Rambla de Almanzora.  From the track we saw Black Winged Stilt, Shoveler, Little Ringed Plover and a Meadow Pipit.  We parked on the embankment to wait for the others to arrive.  We added Mallard, Magpie, Collared Dove, a single Barn Swallow and Goldfinch.  But the stars were two Red Billed Chough flying up the rambla.  We were joined by Peter, Val, Alan, Trevor, Bill and his wife, Jennifer.  They had seen a Marsh Harrier near the bourgenvilla roundabout.  A quick scan over the rambla added Moorhen and Greenfinch.  We then drove round to the pools area further up towards Cuevas, Juda spotting some Grey Heron by the large sewage works pool on the way. 

Mrs Shelduck Tadorna tadorna (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

At the crossover point we saw White Wagtail, Black Winged Stilt and Green Sandpiper.  We carried on  along the opposite embankment, stopping at the various shallow pool areas.  The next stop added Greenshank, Teal and Shelduck.  Bill had spotted a Wood Sandpiper and a Ringed Plover.  Alan & co saw a Black Redstart.  He then spotted a bright Yellow Wagtail, another first for the year.  There was a small group of Dunlin as well as Spotless Starlings.  Alan found a Water Pipit.  Right before we turned around we found 10 Moorhen.  En route to Villaricos for coffee Juda and I had a Woodpigeon whilst Alan saw a Jackdaw.

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We drove down to the beach.  There were a few Cormorants on the harbour rocks plus a Grey Heron.  I spotted a Gannet out to sea.  Alan then found some Sanderling and Turnstone on nearer rocks.  He spotted a pair of very distant raptor soaring over the hills. We suspect they were possibly Booted Eagles.  He then found about 12 Red Billed Chough flight displaying over another peak.

Greenshank Tringa nebularia (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We moved onto the embankment overlooking the estuary.  There was a Little Egret, Grey Heron, Coot, a couple of Greater Flamingos and a Grey Plover.  There were a few Cormorants resting on a sandbar together with sleeping Audouin's Gulls and a small flock of Mediterranean Gulls.  These were later joined by 30+ more.  Bill added a Kentish Plover.  Alan found some Little Stint.  A Blackbird was seen. I added a Hoopoe as we made our way to the dual carriageway opposite the Consum supermarket behind Vera Playa.

Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

The usual suspects were here; Shoveler, Teal, Little Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Black Headed Gulls, Shelduck and Black Winged Stilts. There were30 Greater Flamingos. I found an Avocet. Alan added White Headed Duck and Common Pochard.  Bill did well to spot a landing Black Tailed Godwit, but Jennifer did better in spotting a Purple Swamphen.  A distant group of hirundines was seen.  House Martins.  We moved round to the elevated viewing platform near the AquaParc.  We only added Gadwall, but we saw more Shoveler, Common Pochard and White Headed Duck.  There was a large raft of more Mediterranean Gulls.

Female White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We ended up with 56 species.  Great weather, birding and company.
The news about Tony is encouraging.  Val is hoping he'll be out of hospital in the next few days.  We wish them both well.

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

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