03 February: Rambla de Amanzora and Vera

I have been away in Doñana and haven't yet downloaded the few photos that I took, hence Dave's report comes first. Also this afternoon news of a Solitary Sandpiper (andarríos solitario) seen at Almanzora on 04 February, along with a bundle of waders. It may hang around but one can never be sure. The photos of it are stunning. Looks like you really copped out there, Dave!
As for those whi wonder what Gilly's reiki course is, do as I did and look it up. As for me finding myself, I have enough difficulty finding birds and going birding sets me free. And as for freedom, I thought that the answer was divorce. Sorry, Gilly, couldn't resist it.

Gilly was again involved doing her reiki master's course, so I picked up Steve and headed to the Rambla de Almanzora.
As we came down from Palomares towards the beach, in full sunshine, we could see a rolling mass of sea mist coming towards us. We made it to the rambla's ford seeing Moorhen (gallineta de agua), Green Sandpiper (andarríos grande), Teal (cerceta común), Meadow Pipit (bisbita pratense) and Black-winged Stilt (cigüeñuela) before the mist overcame us reducing visibility to less than 20 m. Barrie and Jan had already arrived and we were joined by Rod, Colin, Sandra, Richard and John. It was a welcome return for Charlie, Val and Les, all of whom had been AWOL for months! Obviously birdwatching there was out of the question so we reversed our normal route and headed to the dual carriageway opposite the Consum supermarket. About a kilometre down the road it was clear skies.
There were numerous Shoveler (pato cuchara), a few Teal (cerceta común) and the occasional Mallard (azulón) with a Marsh Harrier (aguilucho lagunero) over the far reeds. Above us the were a few Crag Martins (avión roquero) and a single Barn Swallow (golondrina común). Numerous Chiffchaffs (mosquitero común) were feeding amongst the shrubs and Blackcaps (curruca capirotada)were also seen. A pair of Little Grebes (zampullín chico) were present and also a Common Pochard (porrón común) and a Redshank (archibebe común) down the far end.
2nd year Mediterranean Gull
We then headed to the beach-side pool by the Millionaires Bar in Vera Playa. There were many Black-headed Gulls( gaviota reidora), a few Mediterranean Gulls (gaviota cabecinegra) and a single immature Yellow-legged Gull (gaviota patiamarilla). Moving up onto the pathway to get a better view of the reed-bed borders, John was saying about seeing some Little Bitterns (avetorillo) there previously when, blow me down, I spotted one in the reeds and Common Pochard (porrón común), Crested Lark (cogujada común), Hoopoe (abubilla) and Cormorant (cormorán grande) were seen while a Cetti's Warbler (ruiseñor bastardo) was heard.
We made our way back to Villaricos village where we took refreshments. John spotted a Gannet (alcatraz) out to sea. The mists had been burnt away by the sun so we made our way back to the rambla. Birds were few and far between. There was a Black-winged Stilt (cigüeñuela) just before the sewage works, which I must say were ripe today. A Common Sandpiper (andarríos chico) was on one of the pools while on the main lake edges were three Ringed Plover (chorlitejo chico) and a Dunlin (correlimos común).  Les also saw a Short-toed Lark (terrera común). Returning to the ford, where there was actually water across the road for a change but we saw only common species, while Les observed a Thekla Lark (cogujada montesina). As we were pulling out of the parking area a Grey Heron (garza real) flew by and we saw another one on the rocks by the harbour amongst numerous Cormorants (cormoranes grandes) and a pair of Turnstones (vuelvepiedras). At the estuary there were hundreds of Black-headed Gulls (gaviota reidora) and a single Lesser Black-backed Gull (gaviota sombría). There was a single Shoveler (pato cuchara) and a Snipe (agachadiza común). There were few waders, only Sanderling (correlimos tridáctilo), Dunlin (correlimos común) and a Kentish Plover (chorlitejo patinegro). Walking back along the beach there was a resting flock of 17 Sandwich Terns (charrán común) on the rocks and I spotted a Grey Plover (chorlito gris) which was joined by the resident Whimbrel (zarapito trinador). Les discovered the Audouin's Gull (gaviota de Audouin) to end our bird list for the day. A respectable 55 species, considering the poor start, a good day's birding.

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