26/06 : Las Norias & Roquetas

Hey-ho, Midsummer's Day, Night and Dream have passed and it still isn't particularly summery. So has la Noche de San Juan where the more paganistic amongst you will have run barefoot in the morning dew, rolled in it and done God know what else. You may even have been to a beach party, skinny dipped at midnight (the mind boggles) or jumped over flames in an act of purification. Forget being purified if that's what you've got to do! Never mind, it's all down hill towards Christmas now! I think I'll just carry on birding and so did Dave and those of the Arboleas group. 
Dave still hasn't got his telephoto lens back and the only photo that will reproduce reasonably is the group one. Sorry, Dave, but that's the way that it goes but I hope that you manage to get a shot of the Eagle Owl with your repaired lens..

There were seven of us who met at the service station for coffee before heading to Las Norias. The road was partially blocked by roadwork barriers on to the first causeway, but we could see the work site was further down in the greenhouse area, so we passed through and parked in our usual place. The new water pumps had obviously been working overtime as the water level was at least 2 metres below what it had been. On the left hand lake there must have been at least 20 Great Crested Grebes and not much else. A Mallard, some juvenile Red-crested Pochards and a Little Grebe were seen. Above the water there were a few Little Terns and a Common Tern made a fleeting visit. I spotted a distant Little Ringed Plover and Gilly was first to spot the adult Night Heron flying over. There were no additional species on the right hand lake. We all descended on the now empty pool behind the new pump house. We heard and saw both Great Reed Warbler and Reed Warbler.
      We then convoyed round to the second causeway, There was no water in the meadow, but we did see a Hoopoe there. We added Turtle Dove and a single Collared Pratincole before we walked down to the new heronry. Lots of Cattle Egrets, a few Little Egrets, Squacco Herons, Night Herons and a couple of Grey Herons was our reward. Also seen were Jackdaws and Bee-eaters and another two Hoopoes on the power lines.
     After a coffee break on our way to Roquetas we headed down towards the lake. There had been a recent fire destroying hundreds of square metres of reeds opposite the garden centre. It was obviously not a controlled burning as it had taken down telegraph poles and power lines. As we parked up in our usual place near the hotels a flight of Gull-billed Terns flew over. Gilly also spotted a Roller. There was a large raft of Coots and a small group of mostly juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls. Also seen were White-headed Ducks and Common Pochards. Gilly and I spotted a Red-rumped Swallow. We then walked up to the Red-knobbed Coot pool and yet again there was no sign of them, but we were rewarded with two long, visible flights of Little Bitterns. A steady stream of Audouin's Gulls flew over.
      "Only" 38 species for the day, but very enjoyable...........meanwhile near Adrian's house close to Velez Rubio, guess what he's been seeing on a regular basis. Yes, an Eagle Owl, lucky blighter. My lens is en route home so, if the owl's still around this Sunday I may venture up there!

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