Wednesday 1 March 2023

Rio Almanzora & Vera Player

Wednesday 1 March

Happy St David's day to all the other "Welshies" around!  Great to see Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group finding a better return in terms of species noted compared with recent visits.  Particularly good to note the Crag Martin, Barn and Red-rumped Swallow along with a House Martin.  But where the Sand Martins?  So, lots of good birds about which makes great reading for me as I am scheduled to be back in Spain in mid-May for about three weeks.

Iberian Grey Shrike Lanius meridioalis

Rio Almanzora and Vera Playa: Wednesday 1st March

With the sun out, but still a tad chilly, I picked Juda up from La Alfoquia and headed to our local patch, the rambla de Almanzora.  As we entered from the Desert Springs golf complex end we saw our first bird, a Collared Dove.  As before there was no standing water at the "weirs", so we only got Crested Lark, Stonechat and an Iberian Grey Shrike perched on a shrub.  Further along we saw Magpie, Black Redstart and another shrike sat on a plastic greenhouse.  Approaching the ford we flushed 4 Teal from the brook.  The ford itself had a pair of Teal plus a Moorhen.  Peter was already at the parking lot.  He'd seen a Grey Wagtail by the water filled dyke and a Hoopoe.  As we waited for the others to arrive we checked the dyke again, but only saw Common Sandpiper and a Meadow Pipit.  We were joined by Kevin, Trevor, Peter 2, Val, Phil , Sue and Phil 2.  Sue spotted a Goldfinch.  Also seen were Kestrel, Mallard, Chiffchaff and Woodpigeon.  We made our way to the beach.  Juda and I saw a pair of Barn Swallow as we left the car park.

There were Sanderling and Turnstone on the water line and 10 Cormorants on the harbour rocks.  Sue saw a diving bird where the waves were breaking.  A Black Necked Grebe.  Peter 2 spotted a House Martin with some Barn Swallows over the shrubland near the tower.  A Crag Martin was seen there later.  Sue added a male Blue Rock Thrush on top of that tower.  Juda added a flying Grey Heron as we were leaving.

We headed for the estuary embankment.  There were a number of Greater Flamingos there with Coot and Moorhen.  I spotted a Re-rumped Swallow.  Kevin had a Shoveler.  Also seen were White Wagtail, Little Egret and Shelduck.  Phil spotted a single Sandwich Tern.  We saw two Blackbirds as were were leaving.

The cafes in Villaricos village centre were all closed so we ended up at the El Tiburon (shark) cafe off the roundabout.  We added House Sparrow to the list.  Suitably refreshed we made our way to the dual carriageway opposite the Consum supermarket behind Vera Playa.

Again the right hand end was full of Moorhen.  Noisy Black-winged Stilts were flying around.  There were lots of Black-headed Gulls seen.  We also had Little Grebe, a Snipe and a Redshank.  Phil spotted a very distant raptor circling towards the Cabrera mountains.  It turned out to be a Booted Eagle.  Kevin found another male Blue Rock Thrush perch on a distant concrete post.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis

The majority of us drove round to the elevated viewing platform next to the Acuaparc whilst the Phils and Sue began to walk.  Juda quickly found the Western Swamphen on the far bank/reed line.  Some White Headed Duck were close by as was a Little and a Black-necked Grebe.  I found some Common Pochard.  We heard a Cetti's Warbler.  We heard later from Phil that they also had seen a Western Swamphen and a pair of Red-crested Pochard.  Strangely they also saw a flying bat!

Western Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio

We ended up with 48 species, a lot better than the recent totals!  A great mornings birding in good company!
Regards, Dave

Male White-headed Ducks Oxyura leucocephalus

Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis

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