21/12 : Villaricos/Vera

In first place, and jumping in before Dave's identical wishes, seasons greeting to all and good birding in the new year.

Leaving Gilly at home to do Xmas cooking, I headed down to the Almanzora Estruary earlier than the appointed time so I could do a bit of a seawatch from the Palmores beach. It turned out to be very fruitful. Close to the beach was a raft of about 25 Black-necked Grebes and a Great Crested one as well. Also there were at least 15 Razorbills. I also saw Sandwich Tern, Yellow-legged and Black-headed Gull.

I then met up with Rod, Brian and Mary at the ford further up the rambla towards Cuevas de Almanzora and we walked towards the town. There were workmen erecting a fence along the track. There were birds however, just past the disturbance. We spotted a Kingfisher flitting about. We flushed a Snipe and Green Sandpiper. We had good views of Greenshank, Water Pipit and Little Ringed Plover. At the irrigation pool there were 4 Pochards, 6 Black-winged Stilts and a Grey Wagtail. 3 Little Stints flew past
Walking back past the vehicles we checked out the rambla on the beach side of the ford. Another Common Sandpiper, a Ringed Plover this time and Mary was good to spot some Teal amongst the vegetation.
We walked along the beach from the Villaricos village end. On the rocks was a Grey Plover, a Dunlin, 6 Audouin's Gulls together with their Yellow-legged cousins and the inevitable Cormorants. Brian spotted a distant Gannet. The walk back to the cars produced a Kentish Plover.
Still work going on the estuary. A digger was dropping huge concrete blocks with floatation bags into the sea to be towed out to be sunk further out. I assume the pipe from the desalination plant will rest on these blocks.Rod and I ended up on the dual carriageway opposite to check out the pools there. Brian and Mary went to the wrong place! They didn't miss much....Shoveler and Little Grebe. At the other pool opposite the acuaparc there were 100s of Chiffchaffs and 12 White-headed Ducks.
47 species for the day. A merry Christmas to you all.

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