30/05 : Las Norias / Roquetas

Now that I am back from bouncing around the Atlantic to the north of Lanzarote (and you do bounce with 3m / 10 foot seas!) I have some 420 photos to go through - a major task which I have whittled down to 130 on the first cut and shall attack the second cut tomorrow so by the weekend there should be a report. My butt is still sore - hence the expression 'my aching ass!' - and I'm less bruised than some, both humans and cameras!
Therefore I'm delighted for Dave's report of the Arboleas group's visit to fill in the gap and also his news of his son being accepted in to the Royal Marines. I know from experience what it's like and the sighs of relief when the off-sprung get their qualifications and are accepted into a profession, it removes a hell of a weight from ones mind. I wish the boy well in a unit with a long tradition. So now to his report.....

    I was kindly chauffeured down towards Las Norias by Rob and Val, Gilly being busy today. We met up with Colin and Sandra at a service station for coffee before heading to the lake. A Turtle Dove was waiting for us on a power line as we arrived on the first causeway, but it was immediately trumped by a very visible and vocal Great Reed Warbler in the flooded compound behind the building. There was very little on the high water. A pair of Black-necked Grebes, a Little Grebe and some Great Crested Grebes. I managed to catch a glimpse of a Little Bittern. We had better luck up in the sky with Night Heron, Squacco Heron and Gull-billed Tern overflying.
     We only added Red-crested Pochard, White-headed Duck and Grey Heron on the other side of the causeway so made our way to the Old Heronry site. Yes, it was devoid of nests, but our arrival flushed a Night Heron and Little Bittern from the water's edge. We were entertained by a small group of recently fledged Barn Swallows on a reed being fed by the parents.
      I warned Rob that I might shout "Stop" as we came to the small flooded meadow. Sure enough there were 4 Squacco Herons feeding  close to the road. Having got a few photos we parked up on the second causeway. The shrubs/reeds to the right had been turned into the new heronry. Lots of Cattle Egrets on their nests, plus a few Night Herons as well. In the smaller lake I spotted Common Pochard and a single Purple Swamphen patrolling the reed edge.
     We then made our way to the Roquetas lake. Again very little to excite us on the main lake unless you had an obsession with large numbers of Coot. We wandered up to the smaller lake. We were surprised to see a Red-crested Pochard duckling sitting by the water's edge. Alas, no Red-knobbed Coot again. There were however about 30-40 Mallards there. We only added Red-rumped Swallow, Collared Pratincole and Crested Lark to the day list. 35 species in all. A good day.
Our intrepid cyclists, Tony & Val are approaching the Danube river. If you have not seen the previous blogs (Why not?), they're cycling from The Atlantic to The Black Sea.

My other great news is that my 19 year old son Josh has been accepted into the Royal Marines. Going to Basic Training in August. We could not be more proud of him.

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