17/10 : Río Almanzora & Vera

Dave and the Arboleas Group visited the río Almanzoraand Vera, but not before Dave did my trick, forget to bring a charged battery but in my case today on La Janda (of which more tomorrow) I had no cause to miss it as I had all the photos I needed before the one in the camera failed and I had no missed opportunities to bemoan and say things like, 'Oh dear me' (sic).

There were 12 group members today on our expedition to the Rio Almanzora rambla and estuary. If I try to name them all I'll forget someone....like I forgot to take my camera battery off charge before I left home! (hence no photos today!) We all met at where I usually call the "ford". After the storm it is no more. Gone are all the reeds and most of the shrubs. What you're left with is a muddy flat landscape with flattened tamerisk strewn with dead vegetation. There were a few birds. A Grey Heron flew over. A pair of Stonechats was on the pylon support wire and a Sardinian Warbler was chattering away nearby. Below us in the odd pools we saw White Wagtails, a Green Sandpiper and a Little Ringed Plover. Not a lot else. We wandered  towards the Desalination Plant. It had, apparently, been wrecked by 2 metres of flood water. Large sections of the concrete rambla embankment had been removed to clear the water from there. We don't know if all the pipework down to the sea survived, but there were numerous lengths of the same strewn along the kilometre down to the shore. On the approach to the sewage pool we were serenaded by Cetti's Warblers. There were numerous Chiffchaffs flitting in the bushes. There was a small herd of Cattle Egret by the waters edge. On the next pool were a few Black-winged Stilt and a pair of Common Sandpiper.
     After a cuppa in Villaricos we headed towards the nearby beach. On the rocks I spotted a Turnstone and a pair of Sanderling. Sandwich Terns were patrolling close to shore. We walked towards the estuary, but couldn't reach it as there was now a rivulet blocking our way. It appears all the reedbed has gone, as have large sections of embankment on both sides of the rambla. There is now an island just off the new coastline. A Cormorant flew past.
     We then drove to the pool which is overlooked by the dual carriageway near the Consume Supermarket, Vera. The water level wasn't as high as expected and there appeared to be very little damage. We added Shoveler and Kentish Plover to the list. There were scores of Black-winged Stilts. A Crag Martin flew over and a Southern Grey Shrike was also seen.
      There appeared to be little change at the pool opposite the Aquaparc. Numerous Shovelers were dozing there, but also a few Teal and a single Pintail. Also seen were Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe and a wonderful Kingfisher.
       32 species in all. Obviously a ton of refurbishment needs to be done to repair the Desalination Plant and its infrastructure which will put off lots of birds but eventually wildlife will return. I'm relieved to say that even if I had had a battery in my camera I wouldn't have got many photos today.

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