Friday, 13 March 2015

Donana with John & Jenny Wainwright

Friday 13 March

It would appear that John and Jenny Wainwright have taken themselves off down to the Donana National Park for a few days judging by the photos I received last evening.  Not sure how long they have been gone or how long they will be away but, all being well, they will have lovely weather and see a great range of species.  Having looked at the photos first, I noticed that four out of the five would have been a first of the year for me.  Am I missing something or are you all trying to tell me something?  But great shot of the Black-eared Wheatear and I love the picture of all those little Waxbills.

DonaƱa Day 2  12 March

A very foggy start and no clarity until after 11.30

We headed for Acebuche firstly as it the nearest site to our accommodation, the fog was still bad but we did manage to see Azure-winged Magpies, Great Tits, and Greenfinches, but on our return journey we did manage to see a male Stonechat, Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler (both the latter birds were singing), White Stork, a Hoopoe, two Woodlarks and a wonderfully fresh Black-eared Wheatear (a first for the year).

Black-eared Wheatear Collalba Rubia Oenanthe hispanica (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
So on to La Rocina.  Here the fog was still fairly thick and the first part of the walk was by sound alone.  We picked up Serin, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Great tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Cetti´s Warbler and Robin (all these birds were later physically id´d). As we arrived at the "bridge" we could see Glossy Ibis lined up along the handrails and in the bushes Little Egrets were perched.  I could hear Savi´s Warblers in the reeds but no sightings were had today.  Also about were Pochard, Mallard, Sardinian Warblers and Wrens while, overhead, we noted two Black Kites.

Barn Swallow Golondrina Comun Hirundo rustica already busy with nest building (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Next stop was the SEO centre at El Rocio - fog lifted, good visibility, getting very hot.  Lots more Glossy Ibis here as well as Shovelers, Pochard, Mallard, three Pintails, Little Egrets, Common Coots and Moorhen, and in the reed bed close to the centre we located a Purple Swamphen.

Woodchat Shrike Alcaudon Comun Lanius senator (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Across the marismas we found Greylags, Spoonbills, Black-tailed Godwits, Greater Flamingos, Grey Herons, Black-winged Stilts, Teal and a Cormorant.  A Booted Eagle came low across the water and was mobbed by several Black-winged Stilts and in the distance the Spanish Imperial Eagle was noted.  Lots of Barn Swallows about and later on joined by good numbers of House Martins.  More Black Kites flew over the site as we headed for the old stream at the back of El Rocio.  Huge numbers of Serins here as well as House Sparrows, Cetti´s Warblers, Sardinian Warblers, White Wagtails, Spotless Starlings, Cattle Egrets, a male Blackcap, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warbler.
Just as were about to leave the stream a flock of some thirty Common Waxbills landed in the brambles under a tree along with some House Sparrows.  Then to finish off here a Woodchat Shrike flew up from the stream and perched for its photo before heading off into the fields.

Look at these lovely Common Waxbill Pico de Coral Estrilda astrid (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

Wood Lark Alondra Comun Alauda arvensis (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

It sounds like an absolutely fabulous day despite the early morning fog.  I just wonder what they have been up today so look forward to the next report.

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

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