Wednesday 20 September 2023

Rio Almanzora & Vera Playa with the Aboleas Birding Group

 Wednesday 20 September

Whilst I am back in the UK enjoying a bloomin' awful day with very strong winds and continuous rain, Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group are not only enjoying the Spanish sunshine but a wealth of super birds including a Red-backed Shrike.  Now that really is a great sighting, even in southern Spain.  Well done Barrie for finding what might/must have been a lifer for most of the group.  Oh to wish I was there and a good job I saw many whilst up in the Pyrenees back in early July!

Rio Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 20th September

It was a lovely sunny day as I picked Juda up from the Ballabona service station on the A&/E15 motorway.  We made our way to the Rio Almanzora rambla, joining it at the Desert Springs golf complex end.  There was water below the first concrete weir where we saw some Moorhen and numerous Barn Swallows resting on the tobacco plants.  Driving on a bit further we overlooked some shallow water pools which contained numerous wading birds. Juda spotted some Glossy Ibis.  I decided we'd return with the group so they could indulge in the avian feast before us.  We carried on to the ford which only had some Moorhen and Mallard swimming around.

Resting Barn Swallow (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We met up with Kevin, Barrie, Beryl, Trevor, Peter, Michael and Karen.

We made our way back to the pools where I'd previously logged Mallard, Green Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover and numerous Glossy Ibis.  I'd also seen Red-rumped Swallow, Yellow Wagtail, Magpie, Iberian Grey Shrike and Woodpigeon.  At the first pool Kevin found a charm of Goldfinch.  He'd previously seen a flock of Cattle Egret. Barrie then spotted a young shrike perched on a leafless small tree.  It was a Red-backed Shrike.  In the same tree were a Hoopoe with another on the ground below, a couple of Yellow Wagtails and a Zitting Cistacola.  Moving up to the wader pool Barrie scanned the birds and added to my previous brief scan.  Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Ringed Plover, Little Stint and Sanderling.  Also seen were Common Swift, Sand and House Martin, Crested Lark and Jackdaw.  Kevin also had a White Wagtail.  What a good start to the day!

Some of the very many Glossy Ibis (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We retired to the "Shark" cafe in Villaricos for coffees and tostadas.  Suitably refreshed we headed for the beach which still had some sunbathers.  There was a single Yellow-legged Gull on the harbour rocks and a Sandwich Tern flew by.

We drove round to the far side of the estuary.  Kevin was hot off the mark, spotting a Whimbrel and a Kentish Plover.   That was it until Barrie added a Turnstone.

We convoyed down to the dual carriageway opposite the Consum supermarket behind Vera Playa.  There were numerous Greater Flamingos, Little Egrets and Coots.  I found a pair of Slender-billed Gulls.  Juda was first to see one of the Little Grebes.  Peter saw a Cormorant. Kevin observed a Kingfisher which I later found perched in a leafless tree.  Kevin also found a pair of Bee-eaters and Barrie spotted a distant Kestrel.  Also seen was another Ruff, Black-winged Stilts and Moorhens.

We moved round to the raised observation platform opposite the Aguaparc.  The tall reeds obscured most of the water in front of us.  We saw some Greater Flamingos.  Barrie, from a different angle, saw two White-headed Ducks.

We ended up with 45 species, the star, thanks to Barrie, was the juvenile Red-backed Shrike. Great to be out in good weather in good company.

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