25 June: Rambla de Almanzora y Villaricos

This will be the last blog on here for a while as I shall be out of action until end July with the cataract ops. and then away part of August plus another factor which looks like intervening sooner rather than later. Thanks for your best wishes to Gay and myself, Dave. For me it's going to be quite a novelty seeing things clearly!
Dave is also letting up on reports and official outings with the arrival, sooner or later, of the hot weather. I have done little birding and a lot on this machine getting work out of the way, although I have had a family of Spotted Flycatchers around and last week a Bonelli's Warbler in the garden, a very odd date and I can only think that it was a failed breeder. So, have a good summer everyone.
By the by, Dave, my school reports tended towards the "could do a lot better if he tried" end of the scale. I've never forgiven the maths teacher for clobbering me for getting excited about an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull instead quadratic equations.

Only 6 months till Christmas Day! Now that's a thought! This report is my last official one till the weather cools down. As there were only 8 members volunteering to get frazzled in the sun, it was decided to do our local hot spot (no pun intended) of the Rambla Almanzora. When we arrived things didn't look promising with men working near the ford and another car parked further up near the pools. However we soldiered on, seeing both Pallid and Common Swift, Barn and Red-rumped Swallows flying around. There were Black-winged Stilts and a pair of Little Ringed Plovers in the water. We also saw Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Magpie, Kestrel, Southern Grey Shrike and Moorhen. A Sardinian Warbler was seen and Reed Warblers were heard. On the lake by the sewage works were numerous Mallards, more Black-winged Stilts and a Green Sandpiper spotted by Sandra. As we walked back to the cars, we heard then saw a Turtle Dove. Are there less of them around this year?
After a cuppa in Villaricos we made our way to the beach as had numerous sun worshippers...how dare they! Unsurprisingly there were no birds (feathered!) on the rocks so we crossed over to the estuary.
Gilly heard a Zitting Cisticola. More Reed Warblers were heard. A Grey Heron flew off as we arrived, but the full adult Yellow-legged Gull on the pipe stayed put. It was nice to see a pair of Bee-eaters going into a nesting hole in the sand bank on the far side. Gilly did well to spot a Little Egret through the reeds and both Ringed and Kentish Plovers on the far shore line. Being as there were anglers along the beach we didn't expect any birds, but we saw a Little Egret on the rocks and both a Cormorant and
a Sandwich Tern flew by.
As Gilly had to go to work in the early afternoon we then adjourned for a tapas lunch in Palomares. Afterwards Les went to the Vera lakes and added White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Slender-billed and Black-headed Gulls.
We ended the day with 35 species. Not bad, but not brilliant.....sounds like one of my school reports!
Our best wishes go to Andy for his forthcoming eye operation, to his sister Gay and to Rob.

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