Tuesday 19 October 2021

Las Norias & Roquetas de Mar

 Friday 15 October

Time to celebrate my birthday with two nights in Roquetas de Mar and so pleased that our close friends Derek and Barbara Etherton were able to join us.  Noting both Sardinian Warbler and Kestrel on the way our first stop was at the large irrigation laguna at Las Norias, right in the heart of "Plastic Land!" A lovely warm and sunny day in cloudless blue skies and the same promised until our return on the following Sunday.

Male Stonechat Saxicola torquatus

Arriving at the first crossing of the laguna with its now installed extra water pipework and machinery plus ever growing vegetation which somewhat cuts down the area of visibility it was soon evident that little to be seen on the water either side.  Lots of Great Crested Grebes and some distant Cormorant so time to really check out with bins and scope what else might be about.  A couple of Little Grebe and two Heron followed by a resting Kingfisher close by in the reeds to our left looking west.  A Cetti's Warbler was calling as a couple of Moorhen paddled out into sight and then a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls overhead.  Ere long a trio of Crested Lark and the first Coot of the morning noted.  As a trio of Barn Swallows passed overhead towards the eastern end a Hoopoe crossed in the opposite direction.  In the meantime, almost immediately below us, a Common Sandpiper came to rest on the rocks as its partner crossed the road.

Time to continue on and take the back road to the final crossing arriving at the crossroads beyond the plastic recycling factory.  A Kestrel passed overhead and parking near the waste ground a handful of Blue-headed Yellow Wagtails were noted along with juvenile Grey and a couple of White Wagtail. Nearby both feeding Chiffchaff and a solitary Common Redstart.

Checking the shallow end of the water eleven Glossy Ibis were resting on an island of discarded plastic. As we moved up the water towards the recycling factory we noted yet more Great Crested Grebe and then the sudden excitement as a Little Bittern exploded out of a nearby bush and dashed over the road.  Looking up we found a small number of Sand Martin accompanied by a single Crag Martin and then, not too far away, an Osprey was drifting towards us.  Naturally, as we left t the site to head on towards San Augustin with a coffee break on the way, a number of both Collared Doves and Spotless Starlings were seen at the farm and, sitting quietly amongst the sheep a Cattle Egret.

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis

Approaching the salinas from San Augustin we turned west and headed for the hidden pond at the end of the straight road. Lots of Spotless Starlings and then the regular sightings of Stonechat after Stonechat.  On the small pool itself a quartet of Flamingo and a couple of Little Egret.  A Black-winged Stilt moved across the back of the even smaller pool and then a darting, zig-zag departure from a Snipe.  Another Kestrel and then a single Turnstone before a Marsh Harrier and Heron drifted across the back, the former quartering for its lunch. 

Moving on to the track leading down t the lighthouse, we parked the car outside and walked as far as the water.  A single Greenshank and even a Little Stint were found along with a pair of Ringed Plover before a Kingfisher flashed past as the Cetti's Warbler announced its presence.  A couple of Slender-billed Gulls were resting on the water and more Flamingos were noted.

Slender-billed Gull Larus genei

Next it was the long drive round to the other side of the salina to the fresh water pool which was full of the massed flock of Coot.  Closer to the road and our viewpoint we had a number of both Mallard and Shoveler and soon also added Common Pochard.  No shortage of Black-headed and a smaller number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  A couple of Cormorant flew across the water and two Marsh Harriers were seen on the far side.  Not just a handful of feeding Little Grebe but to the back of the water around thirty Black-necked Grebes moving in line astern.

Birding completed we moved off to find our hotel for the next couple of nights.

Birds seen:

Mallard, Shoveler, Common Pochard, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Little Bittern, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Glossy Ibis, Flamingo, Osprey, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Snipe, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Iberian Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Redstart, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow.

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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