4 December : Rambla de Almanzora & Vera

OK, yes, it's been a long time since the last entry but I have, perforce of family circumstances, been in England between mid November and mid December. I have news of various things which I shall give in a followup to this blog. However, I am back until mid January and there will be information but first this of Dave, Gilly & Co. and their disasters but also some birding, albeit rather dated.
     It's been ages since Gilly and I have been birdwatching. We had a disastrous journey to England. Our truck's engine blew a piston out 50km north of Madrid. It's still there having a new engine fitted. My Sigma 150-500mm lens's auto-focus gave up the ghost for the third time. It's now been sent to Japan for repairs at HQ. So it was really good to meet up with the group after an absence of nine weeks.

     We met above the ford overlooking the Rambla de Almanzora on a cool, grey day. On the water near the ford we saw a pair of Teal, Black-winged Stilts, Mallard and Black-headed Gulls. A Dartford Warbler showed well on a nearby bush as did a Black Redstart on the wooden fencing. We wandered further along, seeing Ringed Plover, Green and Common Sandpiper and a Snipe. Above us were a few Crag Martins. Also seen were Magpie, Hoopoe, Stonechat and House Sparrow. Further along towards the desalination plant I spotted a Grey Wagtail. Meadow Pipits were observed. Les saw a Water Pipit. A Redshank and some Shovelers completed the Rambla list.

     After a pick-me-up cup of coffee in Villaricos we made our way to the beach to the south of the harbour. There were 49 Cormorants with some white fronted juveniles on the rocks. A Black-necked Grebe was feeding nearby. Out to sea a 19 long string of presumed Balearic Shearwaters flew past just below the horizon. 3 Gannets were also seen. A Sanderling was seen before we walked over to the estuary. Loads more Cormorants were there together with Little Egrets, a couple of Grey Herons and a flock of Black-headed Gulls. Alan spotted a pair of Little Grebes. A Knot was a good find. A distant Kingfisher showed well. Sandwich Terns were resting on a pebble spit as was an Audouin's Gull

A Great Crested Grebe together with another Black-necked Grebe was swimming just beyond the breakers. A pair of Whimbrel was seen as well as a sleeping Grey Plover.
     We then convoyed to the road overlooking the pools at Vera. A juvenile Greater Flamingo was present. Les spotted a smart male Pintail. We also added Shelduck and Blackbird to our day list. 

 At the pool opposite the Consum supermarket we saw a number of White-headed Ducks. There were numerous Chiffchaffs flitting around, some being Iberian. Our list was completed by Lynn, Les's wife who saw a Marsh Harrier as she walked round whilst the rest of us drove!

     We ended up with an impressive 54 species for the day even though the weather could've been better.
PS: Dave forgot to say that Alan had seen a Temminck's Stint at the Rambla some days opreviously and that these shots are with Dave's new Canon Powershot SX50 whilst his Sigma lens is in intensive care in Japan.

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