05/06 : Rambla de Almanzora & Vera

How's about letting us all have a bit on your Moroccan adventure, Dave?
Gilly and I got back from our Moroccan adventure last Thursday and  are still tired. Gilly still has an upset tummy! So we decided we didn't want to travel too far and selected a visit to our very local Rambla de Almanzora and the Vera pools. Apologies for no photographs. As you might have heard my telephoto lens's autofocus went up the shoot (no pun intended!). It is now in the A&E at Sigma Photo in Barcelona. Anyway back to today.......
There were 10 of us members who met up at the usual "ford" overlooking the rambla. The sun was shining, but a bit of a breeze. There was a fair bit of standing water on the far side, but we could only see a few Black-winged Stilts. There appeared to be smaller long yellow legged waders as well, but they turned out to be young Stilts! Also seen, but before the others had arrived, were Southern Grey Shrike, Kestrel and Magpie. Above were Barn Swallows, House Martins & Pallid Swifts.

We slowly wandered up the path/cycle way hearing Cetti's Warbler and Nightingale in the shrubs to our right. Back on the Rambla we finally spotted some Little Ringed Plovers and Mallard. A pair of Turtle Doves zipped passed fast and low. The sewage deposito was very smelly and attracted no birds or any inclination to hang around! Some more Little Ringed Plovers were near the man-made weir. On the way back to the vehicles we added Little Egret, Hoopoe and Red-rumped Swallow.

     During our coffee break in Villaricos we told the group about our delivery of 19 binbags full of clothing for the poor of Ait Souka, a "suburb" of Imlil in the High Atlas Mountains. The community had managed, with help, to build a small nursery school for 4-6 yr olds. They needed about €150 to buy a log burner. It was decided we'd donate one euro per person each birding trip to help them towards their goal. Thank you all.

     We then headed to the beach. The wind had picked up and breakers were crashing over the rocks near the little harbour. There was a small group of Audouin's Gulls on the now flat area behind where we parked up. We walked along towards the estuary seeing only a pair of Whimbrel on the low rocks. There was very little at the estuary. Eventually, through minor heat haze, we spotted Kentish Plovers which were joined by about half a dozen Turnstones.

     It was then off to the pools at Vera. We first parked up on the dual carriageway (in laybys) overlooking them. There were numerous Bee-eaters hunting above the shrubs. On the water were Mallard, but predominantly Coot. There was the odd Yellow Wagtail. I then spotted a Squacco Heron on the far side. It gave good views. Not so the Little Bittern I saw for a split second before it disappeared behind a small island. As we made our way back towards the main road, stopping at various points, we added Little GrebeCommon Pochard, White-headed Duck and a couple of Shovelers. Oh, and possibly a pair of Booted Eagles seen disappearing over the hill ridge and a pair of Great Tits as well.

     The view over the good little pond opposite the Consum Supermarket is severely obstructed by rising reeds. We did see more White-headed Ducks, one pair with young. Reed Warblers were heard. Gilly spotted another disappearing Little Bittern.

      A total of 43 species seen. Good to be back.

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