2 February, Almanzora estuary

Dave, Gilly and the Arboleas Group went to the Almanzora esturary and had a good morning-s birding, as you will see if you read on.

Having done lots of driving last week taking Gilly to and from Alicante Airport, we decided to stay local for this week's birding trip. Brian, Mary, Gilly and I headed the short distance to the Almanzora Estruary. From on top of the embankment overlooking the pool at the end of the rambla, there wasn't a lot to report.

Lots of Crag Martins. Could hear Cetti's Warbler and could see a few Chiffchaffs. On the pool itself was a solitary Coot and a Cormorant. We could see a pair of Gannets out to sea. A Blue Rock Thrush flew over.

We then made for the beach
On the beach we saw Lesser Black-backed and Audouin's Gulls and also a Grey Plover. A pair of Black-necked Grebes were fishing together with numerous Cormorants. A flight of 3 House Martins joined the Crag Martins. A pair of Sanderlings flew past and a Turnstone was spotted. A Little Egret flew by and a Shelduck was disturbed. Brian saw a Grey Wagtail and Mary spotted a Kingfisher.
Another 8 House Martins were seen as we headed to the beach closer to Villaricos Harbour. The rocks had numerous Cormorants on them together with Sandwich Tern. Another pair of Black-necked Grebes was spotted.

We then moved to the "ford" further back up the rambla. The drainage work there appears to have ended. The area on the sea side of the road was still a birding hotspot. We saw Black-winged Stilt, Common and Green Sandpipers, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Greenshank and a flushed Snipe. I spotted our first genuine Barn Swallow migrant of the year.

After a reviving cup of coffee in Villaricos Village, we moved along the coast towards Garrucha, stopping at the wetlands opposite the Aquapark. Here we added Little Grebe, Pochard, Shoveler and a solitary Greater Flamingo to our list. 47 species for the day so very satisfactory.

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