23 Sept. : Rambla de Almanzora and Villaricos (Almería)

It was back to our local patch, the Rambla de Almanzora, today. Gilly and I had already noted Yellow Wagtails (lavandera boyera)in a roadside meadow before we got to the "ford" meeting place overlooking the rambla. Barrie and Beryl were already there. 
Unluckily for the others, Gilly spotted a Glossy Ibis (morito) flying off up the valley! We also saw about 10 Cattle Egrets (garcillas bueyeras) flying over the desalination plant. After the other ten members arrived we commenced our walk beside the dry river bed. A Southern Grey Shrike (alcaudón real) showed well. A few Barn Swallows (golondrinas comunes) flew past and a Common Swift (vencejo común) was seen. Barrie was the first to spot the Common Redstart (colirrojo real) nicely perched on the power line. It was joined briefly by a Chiffchaff (mosquitero común) of which there were quite a few in the shrubs below. We heard Cetti's (ruiseñor bastardo), Sardinian (curruca cabecinegra) and Reed Warbler (carricero común). Also heard were Bee-eaters (abejarucos) and Jackdaws (grajillas) and Hoopoe (abubilla) and Greenfinch (verderón) were seen. At the sewage works there were a pair of Common Sandpipers (andarríos chicos). 
In a pool in the rambla were some young Moorhens (gallineta común) and in the larger pools there were numerous Mallard (azulón), a number of Black-winged Stilts (cigüeñuelas) and a flight of 4 Common Sandpipers (andarríos chicos) were seen. A Grey Heron (garza real) flew over. Retracing our steps, Gilly spotted a Kingfisher (martín pescador) which flew up the rambla, did a U turn and executed a wonderful fly past just below us. Gilly next saw a Pied Flycatcher (papamoscas cerrojillo), which was skulking around the tobacco plants and a Spotted Flycatcher (papamoscas gris) perched obligingly on the security fence by the sewage works. A Green Sandpiper (andarríos grande) was seen and the only other wader seen was a Ringed Plover (chorlitejo grande).
We had our usual coffee break in Villaricos before making our way to the beach, where there still a few "grockles". 
A solitary Audouin's Gull (gaviota de Audouin) was on the rocks by the harbour entrance and a Black-headed Gull (gaviota reidora) was on the shore line. Seeing nowt more we made our way to the estuary. Usually a mecca for hirundines, but not a single one. A Grey Heron (garza real) on the water pipe had caught a very large greyling(?) fish, easily as long as its neck. He kept picking it up assessing the size of it and his mouth and putting it down away. Kevin then spotted a Squacco Heron (garcilla cangrejera) on the spit, in fact there were two, together with some Audouin's (gaviota de Audouin), Yellow-legged (gaviota patiamarilla) and Black-headed Gulls (gaviota reidora). Also seen was a Sandwich Tern (charrán patinegro) and a Turnstone (vuelvepiedras). We moved onto the beach itself. Barrie spotted a Kingfisher (martín pescador) flying low over the sea. Three Ringed Plovers (chorlitejos grandes) were also seen.
Convoying to the dual carriageway above the "Consum" pools at Vera we were pleased to see a wide variety of waders. First on the list were Dunlin (correlimos común), followed by three Greenshanks (archibebes claros) and a Redshank (archibebe común), Kentish, Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers (chorlitejos patinegro, grande y chico), Black-winged Stilt (cigüeñuela), two or three Ruff (combatiente) and a Wood Sandpiper (andarríos bastardo). Hot shot Gilly spotted a Wigeon (anade silbón) and also seen were Teal (cerceta común), Shoveler (pato cuchara) and Mallard (azulón). A couple of Little Grebes (zampullín chico) were spotted. There were 13 Greater Flamingos (flamencos) nearer the supermarket. Unfortunately our resident reed cutter is in the UK so there were virtually no views into the smaller pools. I did glimpse a couple of Grey Herons (garzas reales) and a Shoveler (pato cuchara). 
In spite of that we saw an incredible 53 species today. A good days birding in good company!
Got a note from my mother excusing me games next week, so the next report from Las Norias will be in a fortnight's time. In the meantime, good birding.

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