26 April : Las Norias (Almería) with Dave E-B

I was going to write up yesterday's trip (26/04) to Fuente de Piedra today (27/04) but life is not cooperating, so I'm doubly grateful for this from Dave. I shall try and get mine written up tomorrow morning and with some additions from a friend who was there today. For those of you who are within range, Fuente de Piedra is glorious at the moment, especially for waders. And this afternoon a female Pied Flyatcher graced the pine tree in the garden, only to vanish when she had the telephoto pointed at her, my first of the year.

Last week 12 of us,
but only Helen and I this week as we headed down to Las Norias, some 150kms south of Arboleas. In the middle of plastic greenhouse city, the lake is an unlikely hotspot for birds. As on our previous visit the water level as extremely high. On the left hand side there was very little on the water. All three grebes, Great Crested, Black-necked and Little. The only wildfowl were Red-crested Pochard and Gadwall. The first of numerous Night Herons flew over. On the right hand side we saw the first of many Great Reed Warblers. About 20 White-headed Ducks were on the water with some common Pochards. A Common Sandpiper was also seen.

On the way round to the next viewing place I saw my first Turtle Dove of the year. We stopped just passed the heronry...well, the ex heronry. All the trees were dead in the water, but we did see a few Whiskered Terns and a solitary Gull-billed Tern.

As we arrived at the causeway at the plastic recycling factory end, we saw the meadow on the corner was flooded. Standing there was a near-black Spotted Redshank. We caught fleeting glimpses of a Purple Swamphen and a Little Bittern as they disappeared into the reeds. At least 13 Collared Pratincoles were seen flying. Their usual breeding area, the gravelly island was invisible under the water. The heronry had moved into this area. Lots of Little and Cattle Egrets were seen together with the numerous Night Herons but only one Squacco Heron was seen, but there was not a good viewing point. I was about to use my phone to lure a Great Reed Warbler closer when I was distracted and put my phone in my pocket. About a minute later we heard a Golden Oriole only to discover the noise was coming from my pocket!! (It's always best to confess!). When we'd stopped laughing we headed towards Roquetas.

The gate on to the reserve at Punta Entinas Sabinar has been removed (lawfully or not, I don't know). Unlike others, we obeyed the " Only Authorised Vehicles" sign and walked up to the Red-knobbed Coot pond. Surprisingly we only saw the one individual. Hopefully the others were on nesting duty. On the return walk we heard a normal Reed Warbler and saw a Little Tern.

A great day. Wonderful weather after a weekend of rain and thunderstorms and 43 species in all.

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