Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Las Norias & Roquetas with the Arboleas Birding Group

Wednesday 20 March

Good to see that all is back to normal now that I have returned from my fortnight's holiday in Sarawak, Borneo.  Mick is finding Short-eared Owls and Little Crakes at the Guadlahoe and Laguna Dulce respectively and, as below, friend Dave and his friends of the Arboleas Birding Group are once more out and about.  Me next providing I can sort out my painful back.

Las Norias & Roquetas   -   Wednesday 20 March

Gilly and I picked up Lucia in Arboleas and headed south to the other side of Roquetas.  We met John, Alan and Les at the Repsol Service Station at junction 420.  After a cup of coffee we made our way to the first causeway at Las Norias.  The really good news was that the powers that be had removed all the vegetation near to the pumping station and had replaced it with a chain link fence, so visibility was great.   Immediately we saw above us both Pallid and Common Swifts together with Barn and Red-rumped Swallows plus Crag, Sand and House Martins.  On the water we had Great Crested and Little Grebes, Mallard, Shoveler, Coot, Gadwall and Red-crested Pochard.  Les also saw a Moorhen.  Little birds included Thekla Lark, House Sparrow and Zitting Cisticola.  At the same time Les and I spotted a very high flying Sparrowhawk, circling way above the hirundine and swift flocks.  A Meadow Pipit was seen on the rocks.  Down the far end Alan spotted some Little Terns near a group of Cormorant and Grey Heron.  I checked out the other side of the causeway and found more Red-crested Pochard, Great Crested Grebes and some Black Necked Grebes.
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus (PHOTO: David Elliot-Binns)
We moved round to the next stop by the rocky point.  Here we saw Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Little Stint and Little Ringed Plover.  Les found a Snipe and Gilly spotted a Iberian Yellow Wagtail and another Meadow Pipit.  John observed a Teal.  Also seen were Chiffchaff and Sardinian Warbler.
We drove to the near end of the second causeway.  As well as more Red-crested Pochard and Great Crested Grebe we saw a small group of Common Pochard.  Gilly heard a Cetti's Warbler.  We left there and parked up by the meadow.  John disappeared down the lane and added Chaffinch and Green Sandpiper to the list.  A walk up to the bridge only added Magpie and Spotless Starling.

Mr & Mrs Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina (PHOTO: David Elliot-Binns)
We made our way to the Roquetas salinas via a San Augustin coffee break, seeing a Hoopoe and Kestrel on the way.
The wind speed had increased somewhat.  Good for lack of mosquitoes but not good for birdwatching.  At the first stop we found an immature Audouin's Gull.  I briefly spotted a male Garganey, but it had disappeared rapidly.
At the second stop we added Greater Flamingo, Mediterranean, Slender-billed, Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Also seen were Shelduck and Marsh Harrier.  On the final stop before the lake we added a Redshank.
Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus (PHOTO: David Elliot-Binns)
At the large lake by the hotels, the wind was considerably lighter.  John was first to spot a couple of Glossy Ibis feeding close by.  Also seen were Black-winged Stilt and a Blackbird.

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus (PHOTO: David Elliot-Binns)
We ended up with a very impressive 62 species. A good day's birding in good company!
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