Wednesday 21 September 2022

Arboleas Birding Group at Los Norias & Roquetas de Mar

 Wednesday 21 September

Looks like Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group had a fabulous visit to Las Norias and Roqueatas de Mar, despite the initial wet start for the drive south.  And then to find plenty of Black Terns, not to mention almost a complete set of hirundine and the handful of Knot.  It would appear that Dave has just next week's adventure before holidaying back in the UK for almost two months so hoping I might catch up with him and Gilly when we also get back to the south coast of the UK.  Be different to do some British birding with Dave by way of a change.

Sanderling Calidris alba (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Las Norias & Roquetas  -  
Wednesday 21st September

Richard & I headed south on the E15/A7 towards Almeria.  First we had showers, then rain.  Very welcome, but maybe not on a birding day!  We met up with Frans and Marga, Trevor, Barrie and Kevin at junction 809, the Repsol Garage cafe.  We left there in a shower, but by the time we got to Las Norias lakes it had stopped.  As I got out of the car Barrie had already spotted a Purple Swamphen just in front of us.  A scan of the left-hand lake produced at least 25 Great Crested Grebes, but not a lot else.  A Cetti's Warbler was heard. Richard found a Reed Warbler.  I scoped down the far end of the lake and identified Grey Heron, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Egret and a couple of Cormorants.  Kevin checked out the right-hand lake and only saw a Coot.  Above us were plenty of young Barn Swallows, a Common Swift, Crag Martin and some Sand Martins.  A flight of Black Headed Gulls flew over closely followed by some Yellow Wagtails.  Barrie added a Kingfisher.  A Cattle Egret landed nearby.  Frans found a Common Sandpiper.  A young Night Heron flew over. Also seen were House Sparrow and Collared Dove.

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We didn't stop half-way round to the meadow as it was flooded and there were piles of rubbish where we would've parked.  We stopped at the top of the lane by the meadow.  There were lots of Yellow Wagtail flitting around.  Also seen were White Wagtail, a pair of Hoopoe, Spotless Starlings, Magpie and Serin.  I'm sure I saw a Northern Starling.  Frans added a Little Ringed Plover.  Richard stayed with the vehicles whilst the rest of us walked up to the bridge.  We only saw a Great Crested Grebe to the left.  Too many reeds to the right to see anything.  Richard, however added Spotted Flycatcher and Willow Warbler.  On our way to Roquetas we saw a couple of Kestrels on telegraph poles.

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

We stopped at the track by the concrete hut and walked on to the salinas.  As we approached the causeway we could see a group of waders standing on the left.  As Barrie said we'd stop here so we don't disturb them, they took to the wing.  Double drat.  Thankfully after a few circuits most had returned.  Apart from the obvious and vociferous Black-winged Stilts, Barrie logged Sanderling, Dunlin and Redshank.  Lots of Greater Flamingos in the area.  I spotted an Avocet over the far side.  A Black Tern quartered in front of us.  There were numerous gulls on the narrow rocky strips.  They included Audouin's, Slender-billed, Black-headed and Yellow-legged.  A flight of 5 Knot circled in front of us. Also seen were Ringed and Little Ringed Plover.

Dunlin Calidris alpina (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We travelled round to the large Roquetas lake.  I immediately saw Common Pochard and Little Grebe close by.  To our left on the small spit were a pair of Little Egret and a Glossy Ibis as well as some Mallard.  Barrie added a Shoveler and some Black-necked Grebes.  There was then a flurry of Marsh Harriers.  At least three including an adult female.  More Black Terns were seen as well as Common and Sandwich Terns.  I added a Lesser Black-backed Gull.

A great day's birding in good company.  52 species seen! Regards, Dave

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