03 July : Rambla de Almanzora & Villaricos

It's a good job that Dave and the 18 brave members of Arboleas Group ventured out today, warm though it has been, as the metcast for tomorrow is for lots of HOT in their part of Andalucía. Black-winged Stilts are noisy, Dave? And then you send a photo of one with its mouth shut. I'm guessing that you got your telephoto back, Dave! 
    There were 18 of us Arboleas Birding Group members who met up above the Rambla de Almanzora outside the village of Villaricos. I won't go through all the names but i'd like to welcome two "newbies", Phil and Jen to our illustrious group. It was hot and sunny, but the atmosphere wasn't helped by whoever had dumped loads of melons at our parking spot. The smell was not pleasant neither were the thousands of accompanying flies. We hastily headed up the rambla towards the sewage deposit hoping that it might smell somewhat better! Let me finally get to the birds......
rare shot of Black-winged Stilt with beak closed!
Most numerous birds were the noisy Black-winged Stilts. Waders also seen at the commencement of our walk were Redshank and Green Sandpiper. There were at least 20 Mallards, one female with a crowd of ducklings. Nearer the sewage works, which did smell, we saw a pair of Little Ringed Plover. Also seen down the gully were both Green and Common Sandpipers. Smaller birds seen or heard included Common and Pallid Swift, House Martin, Barn and Red-rumped Swallow, Serin, Sardinian Warbler and Goldfinch. Also seen were Roller, Hoopoe and Kestrel.

     After coffees and some tostadas at the Villaricos cafe, we headed down to the beach....as had numerous sun worshipers.  We did manage to see three Turnstones on the rocky islands just off the beach. Behind us on the flattened area were Yellow-legged and Audouin's Gulls. We walked along the beach towards the estuary. A family were rock pooling where the Whimbrel used to be. At the estuary we saw a Little Tern, Kentish Plover and more Audouin's. A Sandwich Tern was spotted out to sea.

We then convoyed down to the dual carriageway overlooking the pools at Vera. Again Black-winged Stilts were numerous, one of which gave an excellent flying display above us. 
Barn Swallows : 'There were two in the nest and the little one said ...
There were about half a dozen Little Egrets, but nothing else of real interest seen till a family got too close to the birds near the main road and put up a small group of Greater Flamingos. A short stop at the pool opposite only added White-headed Duck and Little Grebe. The reeds were getting obstructively high.

We ended up with 40 species after Barrie and Jan got a Cetti's Warbler on the way to lunch! I don't think we'll be returning to today's birding spots till after the tourist season has ended....too much interference! 
An additional photo attached from Kevin and Troy of their nesting Barn Swallows. News re the Eagle Owls near Adrian's house near Velez Rubio....went there on Sunday...they left after 10 consecutive days on the Saturday. Well, that the way it goes sometime!

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