Wednesday 14 September 2022

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa

 Wednesday 14 September

Seems as if Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group had an excellent morning's birding on their home territory.  Always good to see Kingfishers and very jealous to note both the Wood Sandpiper and Hobby recorded by the group.  So you all met up with local birder Jesus Contreras; must be all of fifteen years since I last had the pleasure of his company up at Cabo de Gata.

Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus
(PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 14th September 2022

This week, with temperatures a lot lower, we decided to go to the Rambla de Almanzora.  I picked up Juda from the Ballabona services on the E15/A7 and headed to the rambla bypassing Cuevas de Almanzora.  We joined near the Desert Springs golf complex. Needless to say, despite a shower the other morning, the rambla was bone dry.  All the vegetation was beigy brown.  Didn't see any birds on the ground.  Saw Thekla Lark, Barn and Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Magpie, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon and a couple of Cattle Egrets which Juda spotted.  There was a lot of heavy drainage work being done to add to the birdlessness!  (I thought I'd created that word, but Google spellcheck hasn't reacted!)

The first water we came to was at the ford and very stagnant it was too!  On it was a solitary Mallard.  On the dry side of the road was a Little Ringed Plover.  House Sparrows were in the bushes. We met up with Kevin, Barrie and Beryl, Michael and Karen and Trevor.  Whilst we waited for any other takers a Collared Dove and a Grey Heron flew over.  Barrie spotted a warbler on a shrub.  Turned out to be a Subalpine Warbler.  He then trumped that spot by identifying a Hobby flying along the coast much to the horror of a flight of Spotless Starlings!  A Glossy Ibis flew by.  A Sardinian Warbler was heard.  Barrie added a Serin before we headed to the beach, the walk to the sewage works was thought to be a waste of time due to the workings.

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

The rocks by the harbour only produced a Grey Heron and a Little Egret.  We made our way to the far side of the estuary.  There was a lonely young Greater Flamingo in the water filled dyke below us.  Apart from Coot and Moorhen we saw a couple of Grey Heron, a Black Headed Gull and about 20 Audouin's Gulls.  Kevin spotted a Turnstone, Sanderling, Ringed and Kentish Plovers.  Barrie added a pair of Sandwich Terns followed by an immature Yellow Wagtail.  We adjourned for coffee.

Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus
(PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We convoyed to the dual carriageway behind Vera Playa where there was the normal amount of water.  First on the list was numerous Black-winged Stilts.  I found some Little Grebes.  I spotted a medium sized wader on the far bank.  Barrie identified it as a Wood Sandpiper.  Another medium sized wader flashed by.  Barrie went in search of where it was thought to have landed.  A Greenshank, plus a bonus Kingfisher seen.  I found a White-headed Duck.  A Glossy Ibis landed on the shrub in front of us.  Nice to bump into Jesus Contreras who was guiding a small group. 

Moving round to the first elevated viewing platform I spotted Common Pochard and Shoveler in the line of Mallards on the sandy spit.  I next found a Great Crested Grebe over the far side, another one closer later.  A Little Grebe with recently fledged chicks was a bit of a surprise.  We heard a Cetti's Warbler.  Another Yellow Wagtail flew by.  A Kingfisher posed on a distant shrub.

A great day's birding in good company. We ended up with 41 species.
Regards, Dave

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