Wednesday 13 April 2022

 Wednesday 13 April

Looks as if friend Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group made the right decision with their last minute change of destination and so enjoyed a great, dry, day's birding with lots of recently-arrived migrants including Red-rumped Swallow, Bee-eater and Woodchat Shrike.  Amazing to be regularly reminded how much sooner these migrants arrive in Spain compared with the UK. Here, just a couple of Barn Swallows but neither Red-rumped Swallow nor Woodchat Shrike, never mind Common Swift. Now there's something to look forward to in a fortnight's time!

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 13th April

Well the intention today was to go to the Sierra de Maria, but the weather forecast for there was rain and thunderstorms so we went to the Rambla de Almanzora where the forecast was somewhat better. Juda and I waited for the others, Alan, Peter and Trevor, in the car before checking out the ford area from the embankment.  We saw Black-winged Stilts and a White Wagtail.  We heard a Nightingale.  We began to drive up the valley to the pools further up.  A Woodpigeon crossed our path followed by a Red-billed Chough. Also seen en route were Goldfinch, Serin and Barn Swallow.  We stopped at the crossover. Alan spotted some Ringed Plovers.  I found a Shelduck.  Not getting a good view from where we were, we climbed up the embankment and walked further down.  We had elevated views of Redshank and a pair of Ruff.  We could hear a distant Hoopoe.  A pair of Squacco Heron flew in.  Alan added both Common and Wood Sandpiper.  A small flock of Yellow Wagtails flew by.  Some Common Swifts passed by with a few Sand Martin as well.  Driving further up the opposite embankment we added Mallard and Shoveler before seeing a Woodchat Shrike and a Corn Bunting.  Leading the convoy back towards Villaricos for coffee, Juda and I saw a Bee Eater.

Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Suitably refreshed we headed for the estuary.  Juda spotted a Grey Heron.  At the end we could see Cormorants and some Audoin's Gulls with a few immature Yellow-legged Gulls.  Two more Squacco Herons were seen, one of which landed below us and posed well. 

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides  (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Alan spotted a Turnstone on the beach where a Kentish Plover was also found. I spotted a Whimbrel but Alan trumped me with two more!  As we departed a Kestrel flew over.

Three Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We made our way to the dual carriageway opposite the Consum supermarket behind Vera Playa.  I spotted some Common Pochard whilst Peter found the first of about a dozen Greater Flamingos present. Alan identified some Mediterranean Gulls flying over.  I found a single White-headed Duck.  Above us we added a Red-rumped Swallow and some House Martins.  A Little Grebe was added . Peter and I combined to find three Avocet.  Alan discovered a Purple Swamphen.  I added a Blackbird and a Little Egret. On the far sand spit Alan found some Dunlin with a Black-headed Gull.  A partly melanistic female Common Pochard was seen. 

Headless male CommonPochard Aythya ferina with partly melanistic female
 (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We moved round to the elevated viewing platform opposite the Aquaparc.  Saw more Common Pochard and Trevor added two male Red Crested Pochards . There were about half a dozen White-headed Duck. Alan spotted a Gadwall.

We ended with an impressive 52 species.  As I type this we have heavy rain and thunderstorms so we were lucky with the weather as well.  Good birding in good company.


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