07/12 : Arboleas Birding Group

Dave got this to me just in time as I was having a last look at any e-mails before starting to pack a small case for the trip to the UK later today. The wife has offered to make me an early lunch and drive me to the airport - should I read any significance in to this?

There I was, sitting in front of the computer, in our front room late Tuesday afternoon when I heard a honking sound from outside. Ran out and there above the house was a flight of 34 Common Crane circling above me. That's a good tick for my garden list!!
I travelled on my own down to the Almanzora estuary, as Gilly had other commitments. As I got there early, I went to check out the beach to the right of the rambla. You have access now but it's quite muddy. I checked out to sea, hoping for a Red-breasted Merganser or Razorbill but only logged some gulls and a pair of Gannets.
I got back to the arranged meeting point, the "ford" further up the rambla, and then met up with Dave, Myrtle, Rod, Linda and Val. There was quite a lot of shallow water away from the beach side and from the raised sides of the rambla we had good views below us. On the wader front we had both Little Ringed and Ringed Plover, Green and Common Sandpiper, a Dunlin and a couple of Snipe. Both Little and Cattle Egret were seen. A Kingfisher flashed by ( missed by me....drat!). A Cetti's Warbler was heard, but we did see Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Black Redstart, Black Wheatear, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Sardinian Warbler and Serin. On an irrigation pool was a pair of Black-winged Stilts. As we got back to the vehicles we were joined by Helen and Adrian so we had a short walk in the opposite direction only adding a Robin and a Water Pipit to the list.
Next we went to the beach via the ploughed up flat field. Still not a lot out to sea, only the Gannets. On the rocks were numerous Cormorants and a single Audouin's Gull. Greenshank, Turnstone and Kentish Plover were also seen.
After a reviving cuppa we headed to the pools opposite the Consume supermarket. A lot less there than our previous visit, but did see Grey Heron, Southern Grey Shrike, Shoveler,Teal, Coot and Little Grebe. Access to the end of the pools by the road was blocked by claggy mud so we moved to the pool opposite the Acuaparc. There was much more here. At least 6 White-headed Ducks, Common Pochards and a Black-necked Grebe. A Crag Martin and a Barn Swallow made an appearance.
After lunch on my way home I spotted a Lapwing on some flooded fields at the back of Garrucha, making it a 52 species list for the day. Very acceptable as was the sunny weather!

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