22 June : río Almanzora/Vera

Don't talk about expenses, Dave! My bank account hasn't recovered from the North Carolina trip and won't until at least October, I reckon. And there's me costing out what a spring Thursday-Tuesday weekend's birding in New York would cost! Anyone interested? Central Park and Jamaica Bay around the end of April-beginning of May? Warblers and other migrants and waders.

Having sent an expensive week in the UK, I was glad to get back to some relaxing birdwatching in the company of Gilly and Helen. Sadly Helen is intending to move to the Aguilas area shortly, so she got to chose the destination of her final trip. Hence we headed the short distance to the rambla at the Rio Almanzora. We noted a Green Woodpecker and a Roller on the approach drive. The best bird we saw on the rambla itself was a nicely perched Little Owl. There was no water on the actual ford, but a steady stream making its way uner the road into the reeds and scrubland. Zitting Cisticolas were the most prominent species, but we did hear a Reed Warbler as well. The Policia Local made an appearance and were well impressed with my telescope picking out a family of Woodchat Shrike on a distant power line.
We then headed down towards the beach. The large flat area adjacent to the moorish tower has been ploughed up, we gather, to prevent an influx of gypsies but it wouldn't have pleased nomadic motorhome owners or the local model aeroplane club. There's still vehicle access round the periphery to the beach. A pair of Turtle Doves were churring in the shrubs. On the beach were about 10 Kentish Plovers and there were 3 Audouin's Gulls on the rocky outcrop. A Little Ringed Plover was seen flying, as was a Sand Martin with the numerous Barn Swallows and House Martins.
After a refreshing cup of coffee in the village of Villaricos we headed along the coast to Vera. At the roundabout prior to the Aquaparc we turned right onto the dual carriageway. Coming back on yourself at the first roundabout you get a good view from the parking lane on to the expanse of shallow water below. It seemed to be a haven for breeding Black-winged Stilts and Black-headed Gulls. Examples of both species decided to mob me even though I was a good 50 metres from them.
Gilly spotted a Slender-billed Gull. Not a lot else apart from Coots and Little Egrets.
Going back to the main road we came off at the Aquaparc roundabout onto rough ground to the right which overlooked other parts of the lake.On this section there were 6 Whiskered Terns resting and on the next pool were 3 male White-headed Ducks.
Only 33 species. We wish Helen well in her new house. Her first job is to sort out some good birding spots so the group can descend upon her for the day.

The pictured plant is a Yellow-horned Poppy (
Glaucium flavum) on Villaricos beach. For Mary, happy birthday for Friday!!

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