Wednesday 14 December 2022

Almanzora and Vera Playa with he Arboleas Birding Group

 Wednesday 14 December

Good to see David and his Arboleas Birding Group back in the saddle following Dave's recent dental expedition.  No doubt some gird birders and avian friends put the smile back on his face.  Strange Dave mentioning the Wigeon, a species I always struggled to find in Spain and now back here I have hundreds on the doorstep for Christmas.  (See either/both the or "Axarquia Birds and Wildlife" Facebook page.)

Estuario de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 14th December

Hi all!

Glad to be back birdwatching after last week's trip to the dentist.  It was back to Villaricos.  As I approached the turn off  I saw a huge murmuration of thousands of what I assumed to be Northern Starlings.  I made my way along the rambla de Almanzora from the Desert Springs golf complex end to check on its state.  Still no water so no birds until I came across some shallow pond past the sewage works on the opposite side where there were workers.  The ponds and their surrounds only contained Moorhens.  The pond by the dry ford had three Shoveler swimming around.  As I waited for the others to arrive I logged a Stonechat, a Woodpigeon and a Black-headed Gull flew by with an Iberian Grey Shrike perched on a power line.  Also seen were a Robin, Magpie and Mallard.  First to arrive was Peter, followed by Trevor, Karen and Michael.  Due to the continued workings, I decided we'd go to the beach first.

Black-headed Gull with Sandwich Tern (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

On the harbour rocks there were 8 Cormorants, a Grey Heron and a Little Egret.  A Sandwich Tern flew by.  We made our way to the viewing point over the estuary.  As well as more Cormorants and Moorhens, I spotted a Gadwall followed by a female Red-breasted Merganser then by a Ringed Plover. There was a resting Sandwich Tern next to a Black-headed Gull. 

Red-breasted Merganser with Ringed Plover (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We retired to Villaricos village for a coffee.  Suitably refreshed, we headed to the dual carriageway opposite the Consum supermarket behind Vera Playa.  We added Coots, Black-winged Stilts, swimming Avocets and feeding Greater Flamingos.  I spotted a Teal and a female White-headed Duck.  Karen added a White Wagtail.  As I was observing a distant Shelduck a fabulous adult male Marsh Harrier flew at low level over the opposite shrubland, eventually landing.  Trevor noticed three little waders landing on the mudflat below us.  Little Stints. Lastly I found a male Red-crested Pochard swimming along the distant reed line.

Wigeon (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Peter had stopped earlier at the pond opposite the Acuaparc and confirmed it was now free of blanket weed.  We headed there.  Lots of Coot with a Common Pochard as well.  An immature Yellow-legged Gull flew over.  A female Marsh Harrier cruised above the opposite reed bed.  Karen then spotted a Purple Swamphen in the reeds opposite.  A nice find was a Wigeon.  Our last bird was a Cetti's Warbler heard.

Purple Swamphen (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

34 bird species seen.  A good day's birding in good company!

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