Thursday, 23 May 2019

Donana National Park

Tuesday 21 May

The unique town of El Rocio in the centre of the Donana National Park
A very early light breakfast and up at the Palace de Acebron at the far end of the entrance to the La Rocina Visitors Centre for a walk round the woodland trail.  Beautiful and not a single sole in sight so a joy to appreciate the deafening early morning bird song including both Hoopoe and Cuckoo as I wandered along at pace somewhat slower than the proverbial snail.

Great Tit early on and I could hear the drumming of a Great Spotted Woodpecker and eventually saw the bird as I neared the end of the walk. The lower levels contained noisy Cetti's Warblers and Nightingales but also many Chaffinches and Blackbirds.  The lake area reed produced Reed Warbler and a rather lovely Woodchat Shrike was looking for his breakfast from a rusty fence viewpoint.  Also noted were Wood Pigeon, Crested Lark, Serin and Goldfinch.

Returning down the long drive I stopped at the car park to pay a short visit to the La Rocina reserve site itself.  My first bird was silhouetted in the top of a pine tree but then flew down to a fixed nestbox so able to get a better view and identify the Tree Sparrow.  Reaching the hide overlooking the nearest water I was able to see both Black Kite and White Stork in the air whilst on the banks I had a number of Grey Heron and a couple of Spoonbill.  The Mallards and Pochards were rather more difficult to locate but in so doing I also managed to find the first of two Purple Heron.  As yesterday, a good handful of Purple Swamphen.  Then a Marsh Harrier quartering the rear of the site.

Spoonbills Platalea leucorodia at La Rocina
A Little Grebe put in an appearance and a couple do Azure-winged Magpies were seen below the hide.  Then, at the far side of the reedy area in a small revealed water another Spoonbill accompanied by four Glossy Ibis.  Leaving the site not just Barn Swallows and House martins but a pair of Red-rumped Swallows.

Back to the hostal to collect the rest of my belongings and a final goodbye to El Rocio by checking out the main water from the SEO Visitors Centre.  All relatively quiet but I did add, obviously the resident Flamingo along with more Glossy Ibis and a a number of Greylag Geese.  A few Black-winged Stilts and a Little Ringed Plover plus a few Cattle Egrets made up the numbers along with the single Cormorant that flew across the lake.

Distant Greylag Geese Anser anser with goslings
So, on my way home by 11,30 and as I passed the water at the Dehesa de Abajo with its large Coot and Flamingo colonies, I also noted both Common and Red-crested Pochard along with Little and Great Crested Grebe.  Certainly no shortage of White Storks, they seemed to be everywhere.  A Kestrel was hovering above and both Jackdaw and Bee-eater were found in exactly the same site as on Sunday morning as were the Spoonbill pair and, of course, a number of Corn Buntings on the wires as I made my way through the Park.

Goodbye to the Spoonbills Platalea leucorodia
Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Mallard, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Black Kite, Marsh Harrier,  Kestrel, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Cuckoo, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Nightingale, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting.


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