1 June : Las Norias & Roquetas

First some good news and bad news from the www.rarebirdspain.net website. The "bad"news was that a Hooded Crow was seen at Cabo de Gata on the 27th May and a Paddyfield Warbler was  claimed seen at Rambla de Morales on the 16th May. The "good" news was that we weren't there on both days so didn't miss them! There's some logic in there somewhere!
Right, back to today's trip....... I met up with John, Barrie, Colin and Les at the Repsol Garage cafe, Jct 420, off the E15/A7 motorway for a cuppa before heading to Las Norias. As we were parking up on the first causeway, Les spotted a Little Bittern. On the water on the better left hand side there were Red-crested Pochard, Black-necked, Great Crested and Little Grebes. We heard then saw a Turtle Dove. Later saw another three. We heard and then I spotted one of the Great Reed Warblers. A good number of Zitting Cisticolas were seen. John found some Gadwall. and also seen were Common Pochard, Little Egret, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron and a flying Night Heron. Barrie found a distant Cormorant. I wandered round to the dry reed area behind the pump house where I saw a female Blackcap on the power line. John joined me on a raised bank and we were lucky enough to see a Reed Warbler. Above us we had Common Swift, Crag and House Martins and Barn Swallow.
We moved round to the far side of the lake. A Crested Lark was seen as we parked up and we added Greenfinch, but the best birds were Little and Gull-billed Terns. More Night Herons and Zitting Cisticolas were seen and also Black-winged Stilt.
Moving to the second causeway, our views were hampered by vegetation again. Hoopoe, Blackbird, Kestrel and Magpie were added to the list. We walked up towards the little bridge. Barrie scanned back towards the island near where we parked. He found a Marbled Duck (that'll please Richard Gunn!). A Pallid Swift was found. I spotted a flying Squacco Heron which did a number of flypasts! We made on way towards Roquetas, seeing Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon on the way.
After a coffee/tostada break we made our way to the lake by the hotels. John spotted a flying Glossy Ibis and Barrie first had a Slender-billed Gull followed by a couple of Night Herons. He then found a Purple Swamphen. We then got into Barrie's and my 4x4s for the trip to the far end of the salinas. There were many Collared Pratincoles on the track. They were unfazed by us passing by. From our vehicle, John and I saw Common Terns, Greater Flamingos and some obliging Greenshanks which were in a track side pool with Kentish and Ringed Plover. We found a pair of Kestrels and some Red-rumped Swallows around an abandoned hut. Barrie, Colin and Les also had Avocet, Shelduck and Whiskered Tern
We stopped off at the Salina de Cerrillos where we had good views of  Slender-billed Gull, Sandwich and Little Terns and Les found an Audouin's Gull. Our return journey added Sardinian Warbler whilst the others also had some more Glossy Ibises,  Yellow Wagtail and Black-tailed Godwit. At the "Red Knobbed Coot" pool we had White-headed Duck and we observed a male doing a courtship display. He puffed himself up, raising his body in the water at least an inch (or 2.5 cms if you're metric). His head went down, then he swished his tail from side to side making a clapping sound and forming ripples all around him. 
That performance was a fitting finale for the day. 62 species so well pleased.
On a serious note, I'm sure you'll join Gilly and I in wishing Rob Hicks all the best for his operation tomorrow and, of course, to his lovely wife, Val, as well.

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