11 February : Las Norias and Roquetas

What I admire most about Dave is the way he shares everything with Gilly. Bet she doesn't share my admiration tho'. Trust you're feeling better Gilly! 'Playful' Little Stints, Dave? Playing at what, or shouldn't I ask?

After Rod's outing to Cabo de Gata being virtually blown away by the high winds, I decided a trip to Las Norias would be the order of the day. The weather was just what we wanted....sunny, no clouds and no wind. I picked up Richard Shropshire from Los Gallardos on the way down. Gilly was still feeling under the weather with this coughy flu thing I'd kindly passed on to her! We met up with Barrie, Jan, Colin, Sandra and Rod at the Jct 420 service station. 
We then headed to the first causeway. The water was as flat as a tack. As we scanned the left hand lake we could see small rafts of White-headed Ducks, Shovelers and Red-crested Pochards, together with Coot and Mallard. Barrie spotted some Common Pochards. On the posts down the far end we saw Cormorants, Grey Herons and a probable Night Heron. Sandra spotted a Purple Swamphen by the closer reeds. Also on the water were Little and Black-necked Grebe, but surprisingly not a single Great Crested Grebe seen all day. There were lots of little insect eating birds around. Black Redstart, Stonechat, Chiffchaff, a Meadow Pipit and above us Crag Martins. A Green Sandpiper flew over. We also saw a Sardinian Warbler, but only heard the Cetti's.
We moved round to the right hand side lake by the rocky isthmus where a few waders were seen. A single Redshank and some playful Little Stints

 Having no more joy we continued to the second causeway. Upon arrival I spotted a Marsh Harrier flying away. Numerous Red-crested Pochards took to the water from the gravel island. Barrie spotted a single male Teal. Rod was the first to see the Common Sandpiper, whilst I saw our first Barn Swallow of the year. We walked up towards the little bridge and were rewarded with good views of sunbathing Night Herons, an adult and 2 juveniles. I was just commenting on the lack of egrets when what should fly past but a Cattle Egret.
After stopping for a coffee, we made our way to the Roquetas Hotels salinas. We turned right at the junction and made for the first track crossing the shallow waters. Here we saw Greater Flamingos and a pair of Marsh Harriers. A Great White Egret obligingly flew over. There were many Lesser Black -backed Gulls with some Shelducks. Again there were many Shovelers. Also seen were a Kestrel and some Dunlins with some more Little Stints. We then said our goodbyes for lunch. Rod, Colin and Sandra added a Little Egret and a Turnstone at the marina.
A very good days birding with good mates. We ended up with 45 species in total.

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