Wednesday 8 June 2022

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa

Wednesday 8 June 

Whilst I was up near Guadix in Granada province in search of Citril Finch and others, Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group seemed to be doing very well further east as they explored the Ramble de Almanzora and Vera Playa eventually amassing 40 species including some very good sightings.  Well done to the group and the cat rescue!

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 8th June

This week we stayed local.  I headed for the Rambla de Almanzora, joining it just past the Desert Springs golf complex turn off.  I wanted to check the state of the shallow pools.  Glad I did because they had all but evaporated.  There was some water at the bases of the concrete weirs.  I could only see Moorhen, Mallard and the odd Black-winged Stilt so not worth returning with the rest of the group.  I also saw 5 Bee-eaters, some Spotless Starlings and a Magpie.  Crossing the ford, which did have water in it, I only saw a Moorhen with chicks.  Already at the meeting place were new birders, Peter and Sarah. We were joined by Barrie and Beryl, Mike and Kierston, Trevor and NZ Peter.  Barrie pointed out a Greenfinch and a Woodpigeon.  Overhead we saw Barn Swallow, House Martin and Common Swift. 

Bee-eaters Merops apiaster (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We began to walk up towards the sewage works.  I spotted a Hoopoe on the far side. Barrie added another.  A Zitting Cisticola flew by and was strangely quiet.  A Yellow-legged Gull was seen.  At about this point I heard the sound of a cat in the bushes.  Poor thing was half starved with an infected eye.  Calling it out it stayed with us as we approached the little pools.  There was work going on so nothing to see there.  Barrie spotted the first of many Glossy Ibises in the corner of the large pool.  There were lots of female Mallards on the water or on the bank.  A Little Grebe was seen.  Keirston spotted a pair of White Wagtails.  I decided to rescue the cat so carried it back to my truck.  The others added Red-rumped Swallow, Sardinian Warbler and Little Ringed Plover.  They also heard Reed Warbler and Serin.

Flamingos Phoenicopterus roseus with friends

After a cuppa in Villaricos village we headed to the beach where there were a number of sunbathers. Barrie spotted an Audouin's Gull.  We thought there was nothing on the rocks till we saw a silhouette which turned out to be a Turnstone. 

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

Myself and NZ Peter drove round to the estuary embankment where we met up with Jacky.  She'd seen Grey Heron, a Night Heron, Red-crested Pochard and heard a Nightingale.  The others walked over to us, some forgoing the climb up the embankment.  There was a row of Audouin's Gulls by the beach.  A Little Egret was causing panic within a shoal of large fish.  A Kentish Plover showed well just below Trevor and I.  Barrie added a Cormorant when they returned to the cars.

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Meanwhile NZ Peter and I had made our way to the dual carriageway behind Vera Playa.  The first birds we saw were some Glossy Ibis as well as Little Egret.  We were joined by the others.  Also seen were Black-winged Stilts, Common Pochard, Coot and nesting Black-headed Gulls.  A Cattle Egret seemed to fly up and down the wetlands a few times.  Trevor spotted a single Avocet.  Jacky found a resting Night Heron and I saw a low flying Little Bittern.  We moved to the other side of the hump.  Had a better view of the Night Heron, albeit at a distance.  

Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

I found a Black-necked Grebe on a nest.  Being in a bit of a rush due to the cat, Trevor and I left them to go to the elevated viewing platform opposite the Consum supermarket.  We usually go to the far one, but as the lake is covered in blanket weed, we gave it a miss.  Before us were 30 Greater Flamingos, Common Pochards and Black-headed Gulls on a sandy spit.  A female Red-crested Pochard with ducklings was swimming in front of us.  A Bee-eater was hunting and dipping down for a drink as well.  We missed the Little Bittern that Barrie saw flying towards us.  They added a Kestrel.

Female Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina with ducklings
(PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We ended up with 40 species seen.  A great day.  Saw 6 flying Glossy Ibis by the Desert Springs turn off.  The cat is settling in at home.

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