Friday 30 June 2023

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa

 Wednesday 28 June

So, whilst Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group were exploring the Rambla de Almanzora and the Vera Playa, I was up well into the Arctic Circle in distant Spitzbergen at the farthest north of my Arctic cruise.  Dave and company might have seen more species, and some very special ones at that, but did he get to see all the breeding Barnacle Geese and Eiders, nevermind Arctic Skua and Tern let alone the sleeping Snow Goose?  For more information you'll need to to read my latest blog now that we have arrived back at the northern tip of Norway, and once more have an Internet connection.

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 28th June

I picked up French Claire from near Coviran in Arboleas and we made our way to the Ballabona service station on the A7/E15 to await Juda to arrive. I got a message from her to say she had a flat, but was on her way. As soon as she got there, we were on her way. We joined the Rambla de Almanzora near the Desert Springs golf complex, but didn't hang around. We slowed as we passed the ford. There we saw a Moorhen! Alan had just arrived, closely followed by Trevor and Peter.  As we chatted we saw Woodpigeon, Magpie, Goldfinch and House Sparrow. A Kestrel flew by with a Common Swift seen in the sky behind it. We walked towards the sewage works, adding Black Headed Gull, Spotless Starling, Jackdaw & Barn Swallow. We heard Reed Warblers. The recent rains and subsequent flood had uprooted many shrubs and created shallow pools. Peter spotted some Black Winged Stilts on one of these. There was nothing on the small sewage works pools as workers were strimming around them. On the main pool we had Mallard & a Little Grebe. A Glossy Ibis flew up and down the rambla. Alan added a pair of Green Sandpipers on one pool. I found a Little Ringed Plover. Also seen were House Martins and a Collared Dove. Alan spotted a Yellow Wagtail. I had a distant Little Egret and some Red Rumped Swallows.

Black-headed Gull and chicks (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We adjourned for coffee at the "shark" cafe in Villaricos. We then headed to the beach. Holiday makers were swimming near the harbour rocks so there were no birds there. Alan did find 4 Cormorants flying low over the very calm sea. We drove over to the estuary embankment. Peter drove round to the opposite bank. With the sun behind us we had better views from this side. The usual sandbar across the estuary had been breached by the sea.  Alan found a Kentish Plover. On an island I counted 10 Audouin's Gulls. Juda was first to see the Grey Heron flying in. Also seen were Coot & Little Egret. A pair of Sandwich Tern flew past out to sea. Peter, from his side, added a Crested Lark.

The breached sandbar (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We moved to the dual carriageway opposite the Consum supermarket behind Vera Playa. There were numerous Black Winged Stilts on the first mudflat plus a Kentish Plover. I counted 80 Greater Flamingos present which must be some sort of record. I found a single adult Night Heron perched on a leafless shrub.  A couple of Cattle Egrets and 4 Glossy Ibis flew past. I found a single White Headed Duck. 4 Black Necked Grebes were seen. Alan added a Slender Billed Gull. A Blackbird was flushed. We moved on to the smaller pool opposite the water park. Much of it was covered in duckweed. Alan found a female White Headed Duck and a White Wagtail.

Night Heron (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

A good day's birding. We had a coolish breeze to start with but by the end it was getting hot. 38 species in total.

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