Wednesday 19 April 2023

Las Norias and Roquetas de Mar

Wednesday 19 April

Good to see that Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group are making a point of visiting some of the western sites as it is certainly preparing me for next month's visit to Spain with both today's sites and Cabo de Gata on the menu.  Confirmation of the Collared Pratincoles was most welcome and an absolute joy for Kees and others who managed to get a sighting.  Like you, I, too, had three Common Terns today on an inland water meadow near Romsey in Hampshire.  But will I find a Red-rumped Swallow; I hope so.

Common Sandpiper (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Las Norias & Roquetas  -  Wednesday 19th April

After a bit of confusion we all met at the Repsol service station cafe at junction 809 off the A7/E15.  I had taken Peter down.  We were joined by Trevor, Albert and Jeni, Kevin and Kees ( pronounced Case). He's into bird photography.  After some coffee we made our way to the first Las Norias causeway.  Upon arrival I noted the water level was very high.  There were numerous Great Crested Grebes on the water.  There were Mallards with ducklings.  We could hear a Great Reed Warbler, the noise coming from reeds to the right.  I scanned them but couldn't find him.  Kevin found a group of distant Cormorants.  He added Coot, Moorhen and a Cetti's Warbler (heard) to the list.  Albert spotted a flying Little Egret.  On the opposite side we heard a Reed Warbler and Peter spotted a pair of Gadwall and a Sardinian Warbler.  A couple of small flights of Sand Martin flew over as did a Yellow-legged Gull. There was an occasional Barn Swallow seen.  I found some distant Whiskered Terns.  Albert saw a Grey Heron.  A Common Sandpiper flew away from the bank below us.  Also seen were Cattle Egret, House Sparrow, Crested Lark, Collared Dove and Spotless Starling.

Mallard with ducklings (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
We moved round to the smaller causeway. 

A Nightingale was intermittently singing from the reeds.  Jeni added a Hoopoe ( Hoopy Doopy as she called it!)  There was a small flock of Cattle Egrets on the meadow as a lorry was collecting vegetable debris.  We walked along to the small bridge.  Kees spotted a flying Purple Heron and then a Greenfinch.  I added a distant Kestrel and Kevin a Red-rumped Swallow.   Peter was first to spot a fast low flying Little Bittern.  Also seen were Black-headed Gull and Common Swift.  We headed to San Agustin for a coffee break seeing a Gull Billed Tern en route.

Suitably refreshed we made for the Playa de Percheles, a place introduced to me by Bob Wright.  As we parked in the car park four Gull-billed Terns quartered by.  Resting by the shallow water pool were a pair of Shelduck, more Gull-billed Tern and Black-winged Stilt.  There were numerous Slender-billed Gulls on the water.  Kevin found a Ringed Plover, near to which was a Little Stint.  Peter found a Magpie.  A Kentish Plover was walking along the beach.  Three Little Tern flew along the shore line.  I spotted a distant adult Gannet.  Kees had disappeared into the low bushes to get closer to the pool.  He came back with a photo of a Collared Pratincole which wasn't visible from our viewing point.
We moved round to the large lake by the hotels.  Again the water level was high.  On the branches in the water a pair of Cormorant rested.  To the left, on the shrubby point there were some Little Egrets which were joined by a Glossy Ibis.  The Cormorants, having departed, were replaced by a Common Sandpiper.  Six more flew off from the bank below us.  On the water were Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Mallard, Common Pochard and a Black-necked Grebe, the last two being found by Kevin.  Some Common Terns were spotted flying over the water.  A female Red-crested Pochard appeared in front of us with ducklings in tow.  No chance to make for the Collared Pratincole breeding area due to unsuitable vehicles.  Maybe next time!  The final bird of the day was a House Martin as we headed back towards the motorway after lunch.

Red-crested Pochard with ducklings (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Thankfully there was a gusty wind which blew away any mosquitoes. A good days birding in good company.

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

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