23 August : Cabo de Gata, Roquetas, Las Norias

Dave, you've really cut it fine with this one, sunshine! I was just about to close down for the time away when it came in! Was the Phalarope a Red (= Grey, which seems unlikely) or a Red-necked (much more probable)? I've put in Red-necked any way. I hate to suggest this, Dave, but it is August and b-all happens so I doubt that you'll get your camera and lens back until the end of the first week of September at the earliest.
Gilly is still working down at Aguadulce, but also this Friday she had a client near Almeria Airport.I dropped her off there first and headed to Cabo de Gata. I had one and a half hours till I had to pick her up.
I therefore headed directly to the first hide armed with a thermos of coffee. In front of the hide and near the causeway all the usual suspects were lined up. There were numerous Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits, Kentish Plovers and Greater Flamingos. There were groups of Mallards and Slender-billed Gulls plus a couple of Redshanks and a Ringed Plover. On the savannah I spotted a Woodchat Shrike and Thekla Lark. All of a sudden a group of Flamingos took off down the far end followed by gulls. Some bird of prey had to be around. Sure enough, one was flying slowly towards me - a Black Kite. Common as muck down Western Andalucia, but not here in the East.

Dunlin & Curlew Sandpipers
I picked Gilly up and dropped her off at her second client. A 6 hour shift this time. I headed to Las Norias. Again there was very little on the left hand  expanse of water from the first causeway apart from Great Crested Grebe. A Gull-billed Tern flew over. On the right hand lake I was again "wowed" (not) by Coot and Moorhen. I did disturb a Turtle Dove in the reeds and bushes at the rear of the pumping station.

Ringed Plover, male
I briefly stopped half way round to the second causeway. I had good views over the water, but only of more Great Crested Grebes. Reaching the dried up meadow at the junction leading onto the causeway I was glad to see a family of 5 Hoopoes feeding. At the heronry it was "as you were", with sightings of Little and Cattle Egret, Squacco and Grey Heron. No sign of any Night Heron. I know they can be difficult to spot sometimes, but this is my second visit without seeing any so I assume they might have left for pastures new. I again spotted a single Gadwall. I walked up to the little bridge then crossed the road to check out the smaller lake. Nothing new to be added to the list till I flushed a juvenile Purple Heron from the roadside reeds.
I then headed to Roquetas, not stopping at the lake or the "Red-knobbed Coot" pond. The track had up until that point been graded and the "No unauthorised vehicles" sign was gone, not that the Spanish abided by it anyway! I headed up towards the Salinas de Cerrillos, a 5km drive...walking in the heat not recommended hence the Group haven't ventured this far into the reserve. 4x4 still recommended...some parts were suspension test areas! 
Gull-billed Tern
I have fond memories of the Salinas.....watching Norman's very obedient (usually) dog "Freddie" trying to run after some Flamingos in paw-sucking mud. He didn't get far and he didn't disturb the Red (-necked?) Phalarope feeding nearby. That was in late August many years ago so was hoping the Salina might be a favourite stopping off point for those birds at this time of the year. No such luck, but the closest salina was apparently just the right depth for waders. It was packed. 
 I did a count up - 132 Black-tailed Godwits; 40 Curlew Sandpipers; 11 Dunlins; 2 Sanderlings; 3 Ringed Plovers; 2 Little Stints and 4 Kentish Plovers. There were also RedshankAvocet and Black-winged Stilt. There were good numbers of Little and Sandwich Tern. On further salinas there were hundreds of gulls: Lesser Black-backed, Yellow-legs, Black-headed and Slender-billed.
It was a good day. Las Norias and Roquetas to be repeated on Sunday for another 5 hours.
Camera and lens still at repairers so photos from previous occasions.

1 comentario:

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