Day 3: Donana National Park
After yesterdays rain and cloud this morning, if a little on the cold side, started out bright and sunny with clear blue skies; and so it remained all day whilst I explored the Donana National Park in search of a Squacco Heron, without success, before finally ending up at a pleasant hotel in Palos de la Frontera where I was joined by Barbara and Derek Etherton.
|Black-necked Grebe Zampullin Cuellinegro Podiceps nigricollis|
|Part of the roost of sixty plus Night Herons Martinete Comun Nycticorax nycticorax including some in juvenile plumage as in the centre picture above, bottom left|
|White Storks Ciguena Blanca Ciconia ciconia in trees, on nests and up, up and away.|
|Female Common Kestrel Cernicalo Vulgar Falco tinnunculus|
Leaving the water to drive through Isla Mayor and see the bare paddy fields I passed a large flock of Black-tailed Godwits and a small number of Redshank. A couple of Snipe were bust feeding in a flooded field ad then I was driving through the above bare rice fields but plenty of water in the ditches and the occasional wet field offering feeding opportunities to the Egrets and Grey Herons. The first of a few Great White Egrets added to the list and, of course, whenever I found trees I also found feeding Chiffchaff.
|Great White Egret Garzeta Grande Egretta alba|
House Martins were bust collecting mud at the side and in the shallows we had Lapwings and a good flock of Little Ringed Plovers. Lots of Black-tailed Godwits present and the occasional Snipe to add to the Coots, Moorhens and Black-winged Stilts whilst, to the rear, many Flamingos and even a small number of Spoonbill.
|House Martins Avion Comun Delichon urbicum busy collecting their building material|
Still no sign of a Squacco Heron and even a stop at the Laguna de la Mujeras and neighbouring pool failed to produce the goods albeit there were more Great Crested Grebes, a large flock of Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls, a couple of Purple Swamphen and I even found another Kingfisher resting in the reeds.
|Yet more Glossy Ibis Morito Comun Plegadis falcinellus - feeding or resting?|
Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Red-crested Pochard, Pochard, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Night heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Great White Egret, Heron, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Kingfisher, Crested lark, Swallow, House Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Short-toed Treecreeper, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.