25/04 : Río Almanzora & Vera

Dave and the Arboleas group had yet another good day's birding, lucky devils. Mine is restricted to the garden from the terrace as I am having great knee problems and rationing time out because of after effects. It's called envy in simple English!

Thankfully the high winds of the past ten days had subsided somewhat as Gilly and I supped thermos coffee overlooking the Rio Almanzora rambla waiting for the other members of the Arboleas Birding Group to arrive. We observed 16 Red-billed Choughs, overflying Bee-eaters and a Spotted Flycatcher in an eucalyptus tree. Luckily the others all saw them as well. Eventually twelve of us sauntered along the embankment towards the desalination plant. The bushes and shrubs were busy with what could possibly be a "fall" of small migrants. Prettiest was a male Common Redstart, initially spotted by Brian. Both Spotted and Pied Flycatchers were seen, some of the later had the iberiae subspecies larger white forehead spot. Also seen were Iberian Chiffchaff, a Spectacled Warbler and  a possible Western Olivaceous (Isabelline) Warbler. There were a few Pallid and Common Swifts, plus Barn Swallow and House Martin. Not the numbers of previous weeks. Some Red-rumped Swallows appeared to be very interested in a culvert set into the concrete embankment. On the wader front we saw many Black-winged Stilts and small numbers of Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers. We had singles of Green and Wood Sandpiper and Little Stint. A Nightingale was heard and Colin did manage a brief view. Reed Warblers and Zitting Cistacolas  were also heard. On the way back a Great Spotted Cuckoo gave us good views. Before we departed for coffee a Snipe made an appearance.
Down on the beach we saw a couple of Whimbrel, a Greenshank and a couple of Cormorants. Further along at the brackish pool was a Redshank, Ringed Plover and a Dunlin. We also saw Audouin's Gull, Grey Heron and Little Egret.
We then headed for Vera, stopping at the dual carrigeway overlooking the shallow lake.  We counted at least 25 Whiskered Terns quartering the water. Also added to the day list were Little Grebe, Common Pochard, Cattle Egret and Black-headed Gull.
     At the pool opposite the Consum supermarket Brian, Mary, Dave & Myrtle arrived first and saw a pair of Little Bitterns before we got there. White-headed Duck and Common Pochard were resplendent in their breeding finery. As we departed for lunch Gilly and I heard a Great Reed Warbler
     Very good days birding. No raptors at all. Even so 59 species in all.

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