18 September : Rambla de Almanzora & Vera

Nice to know that although Dave has his camera and telephoto lens back the birds won't come close enough. I have the same damned problem, especially with harriers, all I get is a shot of a rear end -
often with a white rump - disappearing rapidly over the horizon! Meanwhile I am still seeing occasional Pallid Swifts and have had a couple of small warblers - Willow/Chiffs at a guess - in the garden where a Spotted Flyctacher is engorging itself. For those of you who live over in western Andalucía, reports from the Bonanza salinas are of many, many waders and in variety.

  Without looking through my records, I guess a gathering of 17 members of the Arboleas Birding Group overlooking the Rambla de Almanzora this morning was nearly the maximum we've had on a day out. Sometimes we were stretched over a hundred metres or more so some at the front missed some birds seen at the rear and visa versa. There was a reasonable amount of water near to the ford but not anything too interesting. Mallard, Black-headed Gull, Ringed Plover and a 1st winter Yellow Wagtail. Further up we added Green Sandpiper. Some at the rear saw Spotted Flycatcher, Southern Grey Shrike and Hoopoe. Around the sewage farm there were a good number of Cattle Egrets and loads of Mallards. 3 female Shovelers were also on the small lake. A Southern Grey Shrike perched on the opposite fence and a small number of Common Sandpipers was seen. Kevin spotted a Little Ringed Plover. A small number of Red-rumped Swallows flew over, but I personally saw only one Barn Swallow today and no Martins or Swifts. Tony and Kas who live near us in Arboleas report seeing loads of Alpine Swifts over their house and we have seen late afternoon flocks of Bee-eaters heading south.
Audouin's Gull, adult
     After a cuppa in Villaricos, we headed in convoy down to the beach. On the rocky islands near the harbour were Audouin's and Yellow-legged Gulls. Closer to us were some Sanderling. Kevin spotted a single Turnstone. I decided we'd do the walk in an anti clockwise direction so the sun would be behind us walking back along the beach. We headed along beside the reeds, hearing or seeing only Sardinian warblers. We then cut across to overlook the estuary by the broken down embankment.  We had good views of Little Egret, Audouin's and Black-headed Gull. Walking a short way towards the sea, I could see some fishing boats about 400 metres out and there around them were at least 12 Cory's Shearwaters. Barrie spotted a Sandwich Tern, then Colin spotted a juvenile Purple Heron  partially obscured by reeds at the end of one of the islands. We then headed back along the beach. A Little Egret was on the rocks as I passed. The stragglers added a Dunlin and Kentish Plover as well.
     We then drove to the dual carriageway near to the Consum supermarket in Vera Playa. Our arrival spooked a group of waders, but thankfully, eventually most returned. There were Redshanks and at least two Ruffs together with Dunlin and Kentish Plover. Some Teal were also seen as was a Southern Grey Shrike and Cattle and Little Egret. Met up with Les Senior, a birder from Turre and hopefully he may join us on some trips.
     Then we headed to the pond opposite the Consum. Gilly and I had visited on Sunday and attempted, without much success, to hack down some of the reeds with a machete to re-install a viewing place. Through the small slot we saw Common Pochard, Little Grebe, Grey Heron and Little Egret
    Also seen whilst on the road, were Roller and Kestrel. We ended with 43 species. Still having trouble with the photos. Not the camera or lens, but the birds not being close enough!

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