Monday, 16 March 2015

Last day in Donana with Spanish Imperial Eagle

Sunday 15 March

I say "Spanish Imperial Eagle" when , perhaps, I ought to be using its "new" - Iberian Imperial Eagle.  As you will see from John's report that follows he and jenny seem to have had a fabulous five days down in that fabulous birding area that covers the Donana National park and the Odiel Marshes.  And just when I think that there cannot be any more surprises as they see bird after bird, along comes the close views of Spanish Imperial Eagle.  I think my awe and wonder can best be summed up in John's words that accompanied his report, "I hope that you are sitting down and that you have no heart pills to take, but have a look at the results of our final day; we are having a job to believe them ourselves."

A truly wonderful five days and, I would imagine, that John and Jenny must have recorded  about an hundred species during their expedition including some really iconic birds of southern Spain.  No doubt John will let me know his final tally in due course and I look forward to hearing about their exciting experience when we all meet up this Wednesday at Ventas de Zafaraya for the March field visit of the Axarquia Bird Group.

Raven Cuervo Corvus corax (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
Donaña:  Day 5  15 March

Another hot but comfortable day due to light breeze.

It was a mix and match day today as we had gotten most of our "special birds", so we transversed the countryside around El Rocio/Pilas and ended up with a flourish in the Valverde area.   No fog today and by the time we had emerged from the accommodation the sun was well up.

Our first sightings were Common Buzzard, Corn Bunting, Common and Azure-winged Magpies, Blackbirds and House Sparrows.  Driving across country we located Goldfinches, Woodchat Shrikes, Black Redstarts, Southern Grey Shrikes, Meadow Pipits and a few Barn Swallows.  Several Hoopoes were noted and Zitting Cisticola seemed to be everywhere, as were White Storks, Cattle, Great White and Little Egrets.

Red Crested Pochards Pato Colorado Netta rufina (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
Lot of Spanish Sparrows about and the ditches seemed to be alive with Cetti´s Warblers.  We took a small drive down a "green lane" and picked up Black-shouldered Kite as well as Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers.  Up another side track and we located an Osprey, which sat quite contented until a farmer drove under it and he flew off.  Calling in at the Dehesa de Abajo we saw Crested Coot (non-collared), Great Crested Grebe, over twenty five Night Herons, Purple Swamphens and Glossy Ibis.

Osprey Aguila Pescadora Pandion haliaetus (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
Going across country again, we joined one of the tracks to the Valverde Centre.  Here we found another Black-shouldered Kite as well as Black and Red Kites, male and female Marsh Harriers, a ring-tail Hen Harrier and Purple Herons.

Great Spotted Cuckoo Crialo Europeo Clamator glandarius (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
After lunch we drove along a no-through road where we saw Yellow Wagtails, a Great Reed Warbler, a Great Spotted Cuckoo, two White Wagtails, Corn Buntings, Short-toed and Calandra Larks and above us a group of thirty five Griffon Vultures, circled,  then landed on
a "cow carcass".   A few Ravens were seen on the fence posts and in the fields. When I said to Jenny, "I think three Griffon Vultures have landed by the cattle shed!" but only one of these was the latter, the other two were juvenile Spanish Imperial Eagles, which Jenny promptly photographed while I was identifying them.

Spanish Imperial Eagle Aguila Imperial Iberica Aquila adalberti at rest and in flight (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
Well we were not too bothered what happened after that as we were in seventh heaven, so "Goodbye Donaña and Hello Osuna" on our way home!!!!

Swallowtail Butterfly Chupaleche Iphiclides podalirius (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

Butterflies today, Common Swallowtail, Painted Lady, Large and Small Whites and Clouded Yellows and an unidentifiable large dragonfly

A great report John and I have thoroughly enjoyed following your birding expedition.

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

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