28/03 : Río Almanzora & Vera

Dave & Co. have been having some good birding in the east, as can be seen below in Dave's report from Wednesday. So has Stephen Daly at Barbate in the west, and Ron Appleby and Antonio Miguel Pérez at the Guadalhorce ponds in the centre. Big passages of Marsh Harriers and Bee-eaters in the west, Black-eared Wheatears by the tens at the Guadalhorce and me stuck at home with visits to the doctor (me) and vet (for the dog) so all I've seen is from the terrace. Anyone want to change a pair of knees?

An amazing 15 members turned up for this morning's venture down the Rio Almanzora. Numbers will be down from now on as various couples depart to the UK or to their summer homes....alright for some!! We met at the ford on the rambla.The first bird on the list was a Purple Heron flying up from the beach direction. Around the ford we saw House Martins, Corn Buntings, Black-winged Stilts and Moorhens. We then strolled along the rambla embankment towards the desalination plant.There were numerous Little Ringed Plovers, but also a pair of Kentish Plovers and singles of Green, Wood and Common Sandpipers. Water Pipits were still around, but we only saw one or two Chiffchaffs. An Iberian race Yellow Wagtail showed well.
Heading back past the cars to the other side of the ford, Helen leading. She suddenly stopped and pointed down on to the rambla. Too excited to get her ID out, I saw she'd spotted a Night Heron. It obligingly flew from behind a shrub and landed in full view for all the group to see. The walk back to the cars flushed a Snipe.
Having caused constination at a local cafe as 15 arrived for a coffee, we went down to the Villaricos beach. The sea was quite choppy so there were many Cormorants, Audouin's Gulls and Sandwich Terns on the rocks. Feeding on the rocky waters edge were a pair of Sanderling, a Little Egret, a Turnstone and a Greenshank. A Marsh Harrier flew lazily over the reeds. I also spotted an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull.
Next we went to the pool opposite the Consum supermarket at Vera. The sky was alive with Pallid and Common Swifts plus Barn Swallows, House Martins and the odd Sand Martin. On the water were numerous Common Pochards, some White-headed Ducks and a few Shovelers. A Purple Heron made fleeting appearances. We then moved to the dual carriageway overlooking the main lakes. Here we spotted five Grey Herons. A Great Spotted Cuckoo obligingly sat in a shrub nearby. I then spotted a Great White Egret over the far side. This good bird was the last on our 53 species long list. It was then off to Colin and Sandra's house, which overlooks these lakes, for a sumptuous lunch. Many thanks from us all.

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