Friday, 21 February 2014

Dave and the Arboleas Bird Group to Las Norias

Come one day later and Dave and his Arboleas Bird Group were of to that often "hot spot" birding paradise of Las Norias providing that you ignore all the surrounding plastic!

Las Norias & Roquetas: Wednesday 19th February
As Gilly & I left Arboleas early this morning the weather was dull & cloudy, but by the time we got down beyond Roquetas the sun was out and there was a slight breeze. We met up with Colin, Sandra, Rod, Linda, John & Charlie at a motorway cafe before making our way to Plastic Greenhouse land at Las Norias. The water in the lake to the left of the first causeway was as flat as a tack so swimming birds were easy to spot. There were loads of Cormorant with smaller numbers of Great Crested & Black Necked Grebe, all at a distance. Grey Herons were seen before Colin spotted, not one, but two Great White Egrets down the far end. We had a flypast of half a dozen Red Crested Pochard. We also saw Common Pochard, Shoveler & Mallard. Yet again Colin came up trumps with a distant Purple Swamphen. Above us there were a fair number of Crag Martin. As the others continued to check out the lake I wandered round the other side of the pump house. I was rewarded with a brief view of a Bluethroat before it disappeared into the reeds. There was also a Magpie, Chiffchaffs & Stonechat in the area. The Bluethroat failed to appear for the group, but a Barn Swallow did. A pair of Common Sandpiper was seen & a Gadwall & Little Grebe were observed on the right hand lake.
Colin, Rod, Linda and Sandra  (PHOTO: Dave Elliot-Binns)
We headed round to near the old heronry. The best birds were 5 more Gadwall. We then drove to the second causeway. The large swathe of Bamboo by the dry meadow had been cut down. Along the lane we had Robin and a John spotted Northern Starling. On the meadow was a Yellow Wagtail, Black Redstart & more Stonechat. The group, apart from Gilly who was vehicle security, walked up the road passed the new heronry.....except the only birds in it were loads of Chiffchaff. As so often happens the one left behind saw a good bird, a distant Booted Eagle! We added a Lesser Black Backed Gull to the list. Slightly disappointed we headed towards Roquetas, seeing Kestrel on the way.
Chiffchaff  (PHOTO: Dave Elliot-Binns)
Over a coffee, John suggested we have a short walk along one of the tracks across the salinas to the right instead of heading straight to the main lake. After an " interesting" drive we parked up. There must have been nearly 100 Shelduck at rest together with Greater Flamingo. I spotted a distant Marsh Harrier before Gilly saw a pair of Black Tailed Godwit. John spotted a Redshank.
John and Charlie  (PHOTO: Dave Elliot-Binns)
 We then convoyed to the main lake where amongst the numerous Coot I spotted some Wigeon & red Crested Pochard. John spotted a Pintail. A pair of Marsh Harrier were seen as were a small raft of White Headed Duck. We decided not to yomp up to the " Red Knobbed Coot" pond due to to their non-appearance the last three times we'd visited. 
Cormorant (PHOTO: Dave Elliot-Binns)
And that concluded a good days birding. Have to admit I thought we should have seen more herons, egrets & swallows. We still finished with 48 species.

Dave Elliot-Binns

It certainly looks as if everyone is out busy birding in Spain!  Hoping to get my big chance whilst on the South Island of New Zealand next week.

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