Just received a report from John re his present visit to the Donana National Park. It certainly sounds as if John and Jenny are enjoying good weather as well as good birding.
Donaña: Day 2 Tuesday 26 April
A very hot day 35C, with a few breezy moments.
The centre held nothing different as from Day 1, so we quickly made a move for the Vivaldi Centre route. Lots of Black Kites seen today and one Buzzard, also two Ravens en route. We entered the area from the Villamanrique end and were immediately looking at a very pale Buzzard. A Common Cuckoo was heard from the poplars here and in the bushes lining the track we found Spanish and House Sparrows, Melodious and Cetti´s Warblers, while the fences heralded Bee-eaters, Corn Buntings and Goldfinches. A Booted Eagle circled overhead but quickly vanished in the increasing heat haze.
|Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
At the bridges we saw Red-rumped Swallows, Reed Warblers, Blue-headed Wagtails, Zitting Cisticolas while in and around the channels we saw Coots, Mallard, Little Egrets and Grey Herons. Several Lesser Kestrels were noted as well as five Griffon Vultures and three Ravens. In the very few and far between watery areas we found Great White and Little Egrets.
On arrival at the Centre we saw at least twelve Purple Swamphens, Little Grebes, Greater Flamingos, Glossy Ibis, Common Coots, one Moorhen and a male Gadwall. Grey Herons were in good numbers here as well as Goldfinches, Nightingales, Bee-eaters and a huge flock of Whiskered Terns.
Moving away from the Centre down the no through road (except for the Doñana specials), we located a large group of eighteen Griffon Vultures and more Black Kites, while on the fences we found Hoopoes, Corn Buntings, Blue-headed Wagtails, a few more Ravens and a Whinchat. A nice viewing of a Montpelier Snake was also appreciated. Just before going past the Vilvadi Centre and opposite the new screen we found a family of fifteen Moroccan Geckos, warming themselves on on the double concrete pylon here and they appear to live between the two pylons in the space provided. Also in the area we saw more Lesser Kestrels, Black Kites and a female Marsh Harrier, while a tad further on a huge raptor turned out to be a Spanish Imperial Eagle.
|Moroccan Geckos (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
Crested Larks were in good numbers as we headed for the Night Heron roost where we counted just eighteen birds, more Little and Great White Egrets about and a couple of Purple Herons as well;
|Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
Just then an Egyptian Mongoose ran across the path to our front and disappeared into the weed covered banks.
So onto the "Green Lane" where Nightingales were the dominant songster, followed by the Great Reed Warbler and then Corn Bunting. It was here we located a raptor preening in a tree it turned out to be our quarry, a Black-shouldered Kite, then another Whinchat, a Quail was heard in the adjacent field and as we picked up the El Rocio road a Golden Oriole gave us great views, but sadly no photos.
|Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
As it was early we drove round to the El Rocina reserve to pick up a few more woodland birds. We did get Serins, Nuthatch and Golden Oriole while Collared Dove and Wood Pigeon were appreciated. The ponds here held Purple Herons, Greylag Geese, Red-crested and Common Pochard, Spoonbills, Mallard, Little Egrets, Glossy Ibis, Little Grebe, Common Coot, Grey Herons and a nice surprise was two Common Sandpipers.
So back for dinner, after a long days birding. tomorrow sees us hopefully at the Odiel marshes.
Lots of good birds seen John including a few which, so far, have eluded me this year.
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