27 April : Las Norias and Roquetas

Slightly out of phase on date, but at least I have caught up! Collared Pratincoles doing 'the deed'. What deed, Dave? Would you be more explicit? If, on the other hand I think that it may be, I have a pair of Collared Doves which insist on trying 'the deed' on the curved top of a street lamp. As they regularly fall off, I can't imagine them producing much this year. Here is Dave's latest report:

Only three of us this week, myself, Richard and a new member, Dave, who Les met at RSPB Titchwell and passed on my details. I picked them up in the 4x4 and headed towards Las Norias, stopping for a coffee at our usual service station at the meeting time, just in case I'd forgotten anybody! No one else turned up so we made our way to the first causeway, flushing a Common Sandpiper from the road as we arrived. Weather was intermittent sun and clouds with little wind. Mosquitoes were about, but I think we got away without any bites. The increasing height of the vegetation was going to be problematic. 
On the water on the left hand side we saw Red-crested Pochard, Coot and Gadwall. Dave spotted a small raft of Black-necked Grebes. A small number of Whiskered Terns was seen. During our visit here at least four Night Herons flew over. I spotted three Turtle Doves over by the plastic greenhouses. I ventured round beside the pump house and heard, but didn't see, numerous Reed Warblers. Upon my return a very obliging Zitting Cisticola sat calling from the power line. Also seen were Grey Heron, Moorhen and Blackbird. Moving over to the right hand lake we added Great Crested Grebe, Black-winged Stilt, Yellow-legged Gull and Little Egret.
We drove round to the next viewing point which also was beginning to vegetate up. There was a Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper on the rocks. Richard found a Greenfinch on the bamboo cane & also said there were some terns further round the rocks out of our view. Moving round I identified a Gull-billed Tern and two Little Terns. I also found a distant Common Pochard amongst its numerous Red Crested cousins.
The second causeway, usually the better birding point, proved disappointing. We walked up to the bridge. Dave found a Crested Lark, and Mallard and Sardinian Warbler were added to the day list.
The drive to Roquetas added Kestrel and Collared Dove. After a short break for an early lunch snack we made our way to the Reserve beyond the hotels, not stopping at the lake. We first stopped at a shallow pool to our left. An Avocet was close at hand with a Kentish Plover and a Black-winged Stilt on a gravelly island. A bit further on I found a pair of Collared Pratincoles. We voyeured them doing 'the deed'! We'd only gone a few yards when a Glossy Ibis flew out of the scrub immediately to our right. 
Further up we saw Slender-billed Gulls on roadside pools. We finally reached our destination, the salinas near the ruined pump house. There were many Greater Flamingos. On a sandy island there were more Slender-billed Gulls, an immature Yellow-legged Gull as well as Sanderling, Turnstone and a Redshank. Heading back, we flushed a Shelduck before stopping at the belated Red Knob Coot pool. Still none seen, but did have a pair of White-headed Ducks. All in all we saw 47 species. Dave seemed to enjoy himself seeing several new species.

Would 'anonymous' write to me at andy.birds (at) gmail.com and I shall be happy to pass on Dave's address for full details of the site.

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