Thursday 19 December 2019

Roquetas de Mar with the Arboleas Birding Group

Wednesday 18 December

One week after my visit and Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group were also visiting Las Norias and Roquetas de Mar.  Reading through Dave's report all seemed very similar, apart for the sighting of a Black Tern, until they reached the fresh water pool outside the salinas at Roquetas de Mar.  Not just a Pintail but also  a small group of Marbled Ducks were sighted in the the large, mixed duck population.  Well done the group but, like me, they seem to have found a distinct lack of waders.

Las Norias & Roquetas  Wednesday 18th December

For our last trip of 2019 I decided we'd go to Las Norias and Roquetas, hoping for a better result than Bob Wright had last week!  I picked up new member, Iain, from Los Gallardos and headed south to Jct 420 where we met up with John and Les.  After a cup of coffee we made our way to the first causeway, Iain and I seeing Cattle Egret on the way.  Les had already logged all three Grebes on the right hand lake.  Great Crested, Black Necked and Little.  Above us was a steady stream of passing Crag Martins, but alas no Barn Swallows today.  Little birds included White Wagtail, House Sparrow, Chiffchaff and Spotless Starling.  We heard both Cetti's and Sardinian Warbler, seeing some of the latter later!  Gulls seen included Yellow-legged, Audouin's and Black-headed.  Les spotted a couple of Black Terns, whilst I was first to see the low flying Little Bittern.  Also seen were Grey Heron and Little Egret.

We moved round to the second stop.  The water level being high, there were no small waders on the rocky beach.  We had more Grey Heron and hundreds of Cormorants.  I found a pair of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a distant Shoveler.  Also seen were Mallard, Magpie and Northern Starling.
Driving round to the near end of the little lake John saw a Red-crested Pochard.  Visibility was hampered by the growing reeds.  We moved to the meadow area.  On there we saw a White Wagtail.  I spotted a Stonechat and Les, a Blackbird.  John walked down the track and saw a small flock of Shoveler plus a Collared Dove.  Nearer to the Plastic Recycling depot we added a Coot!

Common Coot Fulica atra (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
En route to our coffee break Les and John saw a Kestrel. As we left the cafe, there was a female Black Redstart in the carpark.  Iain and I added a Jackdaw on our way to Roquetas.
The first stop was the track leading to the lighthouse. We flushed a Redshank.  Les and John saw a Kingfisher.  On the water were Greater Flamingos, Little Grebe, Yellow-legged Gulls and a Little Egret.  As we departed Iain and I saw the Kingfisher hovering then diving for a fish.

As we approached the next stop there were two Iberian Grey Shrikes on the power line.  Les Spotted a distant Marsh Harrier.  Also seen were Coot, Cormorant and Greater Flamingos.  A Greenfinch showed well.  Also seen was a Crested Lark.

Selection of wildfowl on the fresh water lake (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We stopped in the usual place by the big lake.  The water was full of birds, but Les and John were first to identify the half dozen or so Marbled Duck.  Loads of wildfowl.  Mostly Common Pochard but enclaves of Red-crested Pochard, small numbers of Wigeon, Gadwall and Pintail (spotted by John).  Another Marsh Harrier flew by.  I spotted a male and two female White-headed Ducks.  Our final bird of the day was a passing Common Sandpiper.

Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
With 45 species, I think we did a bit better than Bob (Sorry!).
It was a great day in good company. Wishing you all a lovely Christmas &and a Happy New Year.
Regards, Dave
Gadwall Anas strepera (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

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