Thursday 19 April 2018

Las Norias and Roquetas with the Arboleas Birding Group

Thursday 19 April

Back to normal with the weekly report from David re his exploits with the Arboleas Birding Group.  Lots of great birds seen on Wednesday so I am also looking forward to finding my first Collared Pratincole and Turtle Dove.  Something  very much to look forward to when I return from travel to the northern Pacific.

Las Norias and Roquetas   -   Wednesday 18th April 2018

Los tres amigos, Les, John and myself headed south along the E15/A7 towards Las Norias, stopping off at junction 420 for a coffee at the Repsol Service Station before making our way via the back roads to the lake.  On the first causeway there was nothing nearby as digger work was going on in the pump house yard, but further away we saw Great Crested Grebe, Red-crested Pochard and Black-headed Gull.  Les spotted an adult Night Heron flying over. Shortly after another flight of half a dozen followed.  Also seen were Cormorant, Grey Heron, Little Grebe, Mallard and Yellow-legged Gull. We could hear a Great Reed Warbler singing away to our right. I wandered in that direction.  A convenient break in the reeds, presumably made by an illegal angler, brought me down to the water edge.  A scan of the reeds opposite revealed the bird perched on top.   We then saw two heron flying away low over the water. Our first Purple Herons of the year. John found a Common Pochard on the lake the other side. Les the saw another first... a Turtle Dove on the power line.
Moving round to the second stop. It was occupied by a flock of sheep, so we moved on to the second causeway, stopping first at the end away from the plastic recycling factory.  First on the list were some noisy Black-winged Stilt.  John spotted a Gadwall and Les added a Little Ringed Plover and a Black Tern.  I found a resting Shoveler before we moved round to the main causeway road.  We heard a Reed Warbler. We then spotted some resting Whiskered and Gull-billed Terns on a little spit.  A Redshank was also seen.  At the little bridge a single Black-tailed Godwit was seen.  It was displaying the leg tag TJ5.  I'll let you know later if I get a hit!  Les added Avocet and Jackdaw before we returned to the usual 2nd stop where the sheep had now gone.  I spotted two Yellow Wagtails and Les, a Green Sandpiper.
Leg-tagged Black Tailed Godwit Limosa limosa (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
 En route to Roquetas we saw a Squacco Heron flying over some reeds and a power line full of Cattle Egret plus a single Little Egret.
At the San Augstin end of the Roquetas pools we first saw some Greater Flamingos.  John the spotted a Glossy Ibis.  Over the far reed line were 5 White Headed Duck and a Black-necked Grebe.  John had a brief glimpse of a male Garganey.  We were looking for it when a company of Spanish Legion from the Viator camp walked past putting everything into the air.  Another birder thought he saw a Marbled Duck.  Moving along to the next causeway we saw Sandwich Tern and Black-headed Gulls at rest.  Kentish Plovers and Black-winged Stilts were there as well.  John found a Shelduck and then Les found some Spoonbill.  An Audouin's Gull was seen before John discovered a Mediterranean Gull.  The next causeway revealed that the number of Spoonbills was 18.  Some waders flew in near us; 3 Curlew Sandpiper.  A distant Marsh Harrier was seen before I heard, then saw, a high flying Collared Pratincole.  
Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola with colour rings​ (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We decided to check out the scrub area beyond the small pool and sure enough there were a small number of resting Collared Pratincoles there.  I see now from my photographs that the pratincole which posed so nicely on the track was colour ringed as well!  We also checked out the other pools.  A Glossy Ibis was by the "Red-knobbed Coot" pool.  Also seen were some Ruff and Redshank.
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
 All in all a very good day.  Migration seems to have started now in our area after a late start.  57 species seen.  Good weather and company...and only a few mosquito bites!
Regards, Dave
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Ruff Philomachus pugnax (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
Redshank Tringa totanus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
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