Tuesday, 30 August 2022

Roquetas de Mar

 Monday 29 August

An early morning start from Elche to make the most of the low twenties before the sun really got to work ensured that I was at Roquetas de Mar before 11am for my final stop on the five-day return journey from Warsash to Velez de Benaudalla via the Portsmouth - Bilbao ferry.  What a visit, even if now cloudy and very humid with a few spots of rain in the air.  On the other hand, I obviously missed the short showers that either preceded or followed me and a final total of 37 species followed by a further five as I passed through Las Norias on my way home.  And even more impressive, this despite the low water levels in the main pools and all the salina scrapes bone dry so removing most close waders sightings.

Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina

First stop was at the large fresh water lake where still plenty of Common Coots to be seen along with a number of both Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Immediately in front of me a single Red-crested Pochard plus, resting on a fallen tree, a pair of well-developed Marbled Duck chicks along with a single parent.  A little further away at least four Little Grebe counted plus a number of Mallard.

Young Marbled Ducks Marmaronetta angustirstris with Mum looking on

On a short visit to the "picnic pool" revealed a number of Mallard plus a single, moulting Muscovey Duck

Moulting Muscovey Duck Cairina moschata 

At the back of the water a lone Moorhen along with both Rock and Collared Doves. Then basically nothing until I reached access to the sight of the main water.  However, one of the dried salinas held a very large mixed flock of gulls, mainly Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed but also a number of Audouin's Gulls.

Four Audouin's Gulls Larus audouinii in front of a mix of Lesser Black-backed L. fuscus and Yellow -legged Gulls 

The only bird that I did see on the main track was the Common Sandpiper that flew in front and landed on my side of the car not too far ahead, so enbabling me to get a little closer and take a few photos. 

Common Sandpiper Actitus hypoleucos

Checking the first stretch of water I found a plentiful supply of Flamingo along with both Little Egret and Black-winged Silts.  Then it was on tot the end of the track next to the ruined pumping station and here there was a plentiful supply of birds.  Not just Flamingos and Little Egrets but also waders such as Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and three Oystercatchers.  A single Glossy Ibis flew in to join the party and then time to check out the many resting terns.  Mainly Whiskered but also at least a half-dozen Little Tern.

Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus with an overflying Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus

Working my way back along the t rack I stopped at the first pool and fond both a Slender-billed Gull and a a newly-arrived Iberian (Blue-headed Yellow Wagtail.  And the resting flock of gulls now had both Ringed and Kentish Plovers running around and, overhead, both Common Swift and a single House Martin.

Slender-billed Gull Larus genei

So back to the main round, round the freshwater lake and to the far access to the beach where there is access to a small wetland behind the sandbanks;   On this water a pair of Avocet and behind them a resting juvenile Collared Pratincole.  It was searching for a second Collared Pratincole that I found the Curlew Sandpiper working the shallow water at the back.  

Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta with juvenile Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola

Juvenile Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola

Before turning inland towards San Augustin I parked outside the entrance road to the lighthouse and walked along same to check out the water.  A very low level but a resting Purple Swamphen and to my left a Kentish Plover and Dunlin at the water's edge.  A little further out resting on the protruding rocks a number of Collared Pratincoles and the occasional Slender-billed Gull. Finally time to depart and a lone Greenfinch resting atop a bush at the exit and, just round the corner before approaching San Austin, a large flock of Spotless Starlings.

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea

Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola

My return journey enabled me to take a loop round the large irrigation reservoir a Las Norias where, almost devoid of bird life, I did find many feeding Sand Martins along with a few Barn Swallows.  On the water mainly Great Crested Grebes with a couple of Heron resting at the reeded edges.  It was also at the back of the water as I passed through the many plastic greenhouses that I came across the single Cattle Egret beside a small pool.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

Birds seen:

Muscovey Duck, Mallard, Red-crested Pochard, Marbled Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Glossy Ibis, Flamingo, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Common Coot, Oystercatcher, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Collared Pratincole, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Tern, Whiskered Tern, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Common Swift, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blue-headed (Iberian) Wagtail, Magpie, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch.

Record shot of Blue-headed Wagtail Motacilla flava iberiae

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

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