Tuesday 19 October 2021

Roquetas de Mar

 Sunday 17 October

Away from the hotel before 8.30 so that we could take a quick breakfast and then on to the sandy south side of the salinas for almost three hours before heading back to Mezquitilla and a celebratory birthday lunch with friends.  There had been a light shower of rain during the night so fresher air and a little cloud at the start of the birding but quickly warming during our visit.

No sooner had we passed through the entrance gate than a pair of Hoopoe flew over and once at the small pond on the left a number of House Sparrows whilst on the water Mallard. Moorhen and Coot along with a single Little Grebe.  A lone Great White Egret passed high overhead  followed by a Marsh Harrier quartering the reed beds and once on the main track a trio of Barn Swallow.  Stopping to check one of the very many Stonechat we saw a few Spotless Starlings and Crested Lark.

Sanderling Calidris alba

A little more water than on my visit last month but only that there were now a few puddles, probably a result of last night's rain.  On such salina produced a wealth of small waders including Ringed Plover and Little Stint along with Redshank, Sanderling and Dunlin.  The next short drive also produced Kentish Plover with Iberian Grey Shrike atop a bush on the opposite side of the track.  At least three Kestrels recorded in this general area plus a pair of Sardinian Warblers.

Iberian Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis

Once back to the main water a number of Flamingos and resting on the causeways Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed and Yellow-legged Gulls.  Lovely to see the quartet of Audouin's Gulls.  Amongst the gulls Redshank, Greenshank, Little Egret and Black-winged Stilt.

Looking ahead we watched the  and movement of closely-packed flock of over 500 Spotless Starlings which seemed to feeding in the low bushes.  Left of them another Iberian Grey Shrike.

Just a few of the Spotless Starlings Sturnus unicolor

Once at the end of the track near the pumping ruins more waders including Sanderling, Greenshank, Dunlin and Black-winged Stilt. These were later to be joined by more Kentish and Ringed Plovers.  On the water, many more Flamingos along with Glossy Ibis and Great Crested and Black-necked Grebe.  Even a couple of Slender-billed Gulls.  Barbara drew our attention t the female Peregrine Falcon that had landed near the top of a pylon for a long rest.  A White Wagtail walked across the track.

Distant female Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus

Watching a Marsh Harrier crossing the back of the water our attention was drawn to the three Magpies atop a pylon.  Almost as a last scan of the area I picked up a tightly packed flock of Avocet in the distance to the far left and as we watched they took off, circled and returned to their original position. Time to make a start back to the main gate and the return journey but this time following a few of the inland tracks.  We were well rewarded when a Song Thrush flew across and posed but not long enough to lift our cameras.  Almost immediately an obliging Robin posed instead.

Birds seen:

Mallard, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Great White Egret, Glossy Ibis, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, White Wagtail, Robin, Stonechat, Song Thrush, Sardinian Warbler, Iberian Grey Shrike, Magpie, 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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