Sunday, 24 May 2015

Four days in the Odiel & Donana with the ABS:2

Day 2:  Tuesday 19 May

The "big day" in terms of birding with the hope that we might get a good selection of waders along with breeding Little Terns and Collared Pratincoles at the Marismas del Odiel (Odiel Marshes).  With us all staying at the same apartment complex it meant that we could not only share transport but arrange to travel independently but remain in contact with each other.  The result was the early arrivals had the riverside to themselves behind the Visitors Centre whereas later arrivals were confronted by two coach loads of small, noisy children.  But the day was a success with just about all the target birds duly recorded.

Another very hot day but luckily there was a good breeze most of the time.  Arriving at the Visitors Centre pond the first on the scene recorded Black-winged Stilts, Gadwall, Common Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Little Egret, Spoonbill and Common Magpies.  Moving along to the Centre itself and looking out over the estuary we found more Spoonbills, Grey HeronsLittle Terns, Ringed Plovers, Little Stints and two Dunlin.  A few Zitting Cisticola and House Sparrows in the car park as well as Common Magpie, Blackbird and Spotless Starling.

Spoonbill Espatula Comun Platalea leucorodia
Progressing up the road Corn Buntings were in good numbers as were Little Egrets, Whimbrels 
and Curlews.  A raptor was spotted to our right and was found to be a Black Kite.  Close to him was an Osprey, but the former was not too happy with Osprey in its territory and gave him the dive bomb treatment.

Osprey Aguila Pescadora Pandion haliaetus (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
So onto the "Sendero Cabeza Alta" car park where our first bird was a Whimbrel, then a small flock 
of Serins and a family of Thekla Larks flew out of the coarse undergrowth as we walked along the 
boardwalk.  Passing over a small stream, hundreds and hundreds of Fiddler Crabs disappeared
into their mud-holes.  At the beach we located Black-tailed Godwits, Redshanks, more Curlews and Whimbrels, some stunning Grey Plovers in their summer plumage, a few Sanderlings, more Little TernsLittle Egrets and Spoonbills.  A couple of Crested Larks were running about here at the beach also.

Whimbrel Zarapito Trinador Numenius phaeopus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Lots of wonderfully summer plumaged Grey Plovers and Turnstones were noted as we continued. Also about were Lesser Kestrel, Common Magpies and then a Spoonbill in company with a very
resplendent Western Reef Heron.   Fortunately. the Reef Heron was seen by all members of the party and numerous photographs were taken from what seemed every angle possible as this obliging individual regularly returned to its favoured feeding spot immediately below the road.  Another Lesser Kestrel, a Grey Heron and several Crested Larks were also seen before we reached the colony of breeding Little Terns and a little further on a largish flock of some 50-60 Collared Pratincoles suddenly appeared.

The Western Reef Egret Garceta Dimorfa Egretta gularis seen by all on the Odiel

After an uneventful trip along to the lighthouse we went round the back of the Little Tern colony and picked up an even greater number of Collared Pratincoles at least a hundred plus.  Heading back to the visitors centre we found Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers, a Purple Heron and
an Osprey on its nesting site.  Also on the river sand bank was a small group of Sandwich Terns along with a similar number of Little Terns accompanied by a pair of Whiskered Terns.

A "peace offering" from a shunned Little Tern Charrancito Comun Sterna albifrons
Resting Sandwich Terns Charran Patinegro Sterna sandvicensis in varying plumage
Off now to the El Portil fresh water lake, where we found Common Coot, Little Ringed Plovers, Common Sandpiper, Gadwall, Shovelers, Mallard, Pochard, two or three Greater Flamingos, Little, Great Crested and Black-necked Grebes.  A few passerines including House Sparrows, Goldfinches, Serins, Greenfinch and Chaffinch, while above us Red-rumped and Barn Swallow were noted along with House Martins and Common Swifts.  A few of us took to the boardwalk and found Azure-winged Magpies, WoodpigeonsHoopoes, Great Tits, Sardinain Warbler, Magpies and Zitting Cisticola.  As we drove home a male Marsh Harrier was seen.

Great Crested Grebe Somormujo Lavanco Podiceps cristalus

Grey Heron  Garza Real Ardea cinerea off for a paddle - just like we humans!

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