Saturday 21 May 2022

Las Norias and Roquetas de Mar

 Saturday 21 May

Looks like friend Dave managed to squeeze in an extra Arboleas Birding Group visit this week with his visit to that monstrosity of plastic and rubbish surrounding the huge irrigation lake at Las Norias followed by a shortened visit to nearby Roquetas de Mar.  On the other hand, it certainly looks, judging by the birds seen, that it was all worthwhile.

Las Norias and a little bit of Roquetas: Saturday 21st May 2022

As Rob and his girlfriend, Charlotte, were only here for a few days, Saturday was the most convenient for both of us to go birdwatching.  Juda wanted to come as well, so she arrived at mine early.  We picked up Rob and Charlotte and headed south on the A7/E15.  Advance warning.....The Highways Authority are in the process of altering all the kilometre marker posts and eventually the junction numbers from the Murcian border south.  How far it will spread along the coast to Malaga and beyond, who knows?

We met up with Barrie at the Repsol garage cafe at Jct 420.  After a cup of coffee we made our way to the Las Norias lake's first causeway, seeing a Cattle Egret en route.  On the power lines we saw a Kestrel and Collared Dove.  Before I could sort out my scope, Barrie had spotted a flying Little Bittern disappearing into the right hand reeds.  Luckily for us late starters it made a return journey low over the water a bit later.  On the water were numerous Great Crested Grebes, a number of female Red-crested Pochard, Coot and a Mallard.  Down the far end I found a Cormorant and a Black-headed Gull.  Robbie heard a Reed Warbler.  A Night Heron flew over followed later by a Purple Heron.  Also seen were Common Swift, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin and House Sparrow.  Rob found a Little Grebe with chicks on the lake behind us. 

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We moved round to the second causeway, having been thwarted at our other usual stops by piles of rubbish and overgrown vegetation.  We heard Nightingale and Cetti's Warbler.  We heard then saw the first of about six Turtle Doves on the power lines.  Rob was ace at spotting overflying Glossy Ibises.  A Yellow-legged Gull was seen followed by a Squacco Heron.

Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We then drove to the far end of Roquetas to a small shallow pool Bob Wright had shown me some time ago.  We had good but distant views of Gull-billed Tern.  There were Black-winged Stilt and Slender-billed Gulls in the water. 

A Zitting Cisticola (Sorry, Barrie...Fan Tailed Warbler) was eventually seen.  A Little Tern made an appearance as did a Ringed Plover.

That was our final bird as the access to the Roquetas salinas and the large lake was denied by local police due to a fun run road race.  Double drat!

We ended up with 33 species.  Good birding in good company.  It was hot though!

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