Monday 12 October 2020

Donana Day Three

 Saturday 10 October

Time to head off back home and the idea was to check out the beach before we departed.  However, looking out of the window we noted that the day was starting with considerable, if not dense, fog.  Obviously not going to be much to see but we drove via the beach in any case.  Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a Sanderling on the beach itself and an early Spotted Flycatcher in the tree to our left.

Spotless Starlings Estornino Negro Sturnus unicolor

First stop the Visitors Centre at Acebuche on the road towards El Rocio and passing both Azure-winged and Common Magpies on the way we were soon in the car park.  Not an Azure-winged Magpie individual to be seen but plenty of (Common) MagpiesGreat Tits a plenty feeding on the fallen pine cones and joined by a couple of Thekla Larks.  Also present were Tree Sparrows and both Chaffinch and a Wood Lark were also noted.  Walking round the immediate area beyond the Visitors Centre we found plenty of both Pied and Spotted Flycatchers along with Sardinian Warbler, Stonechat, Greenfinch, Corn Bunting and Goldfinch.  A stop on the way back to the car also produced both Short-toed Treecreeper and Robin

Pied Flycatcher Papamoscas Cerrojillo Ficedula hypoleuca

It was whilst hre that we found a couple of female Red Deer but, unfortunately unable to get a complete sighting to make a decent photographic record.  Making our way back to the road and onwards to El Rocio there were many sightings of both Collared Dove, and the still present Common Redstarts.

(Most of a grazing female) Red Deer Cervus elaphus hispanicus

The drive towards the Donana National Park entrance to the second track leading to the Cervantes Centre produced Buzzard, Raven, Kestrel and many more Common Redstarts.  However, the stop to listen to the calling Cirl Bunting was most worthwhile.  In addition, both Crested Lark and Zitting Cisticola were also added to our sightings.  Once at the entrance track we watched a flock of about thirty Lapwing fly over and on the fences recorded Northern Wheatear and Stonechats.  Next up a pair of Linnet.

White Storks Ciguena Blanca Ciconia ciconia

We already knew that the Dehesa de Abajo would be dry but we stopped as passing and noted the Herons and White Storks along with many Little Egrets.  A large number of Cattle Egret were following the tractor ploughing a nearby field and even a distant Black Stork. A Marsh Harrier flew across as we stopped at a, presumably, new irrigation pool on the right and counted eight Black-winged Stilts along with a trio of Redshanks and a single Little Egret.  It was whilst Mick was checking out the dragonflies that he noted our target bird, a Black-shouldered Kite, resting atop a pylon and close to the centre and so well hidden.  Just when we thought that we would not see an individual on this occasion.

Black-shouldered Kite Elanio Comun Elanus caeruleus

A stop near the big tree to check the small pool produced a close Black Stork alongside both Little and Great White Egret and, a little later, a second Black Stork appeared in the sky above us.  On the water itself a single Green Sandpiper plus calling Cetti's Warblers and the Jackdaws were still to be found on the old ruins.

Black Stork Ciconia negra (left) with Great White Egret Egretta alba and Little Egret Egretta garzetta in front

A quick coffee and then back on the road again with our next stop at the rubbish dump just before La Puebla de Cazzala  on the A92 motorway.  All very quiet being a Saturday but we did note the large number of White Storks enjoying a rest at the top of the hill before both a Buzzard and single Black Kite flew our way.  Taking our leave we immediately came off at the nearby village to head across to the straight road leading alongside the "Osuna Triangle."  Stopping at the same hidden lake that we visited on the outward journey our sightings were much restricted by both heat and the heat haze.  However, we did note the the large number of White Storks and a dozen or so Flamingos plus a few Mallard, Avocet and Black-winged Stilts.  

Continuing along the road we added both Willow Warbler and a single Calandra Lark before watching a Red Kite overhead.  It was at this point that I found a Whinchat on the fence away to our right before more Blackcaps, Red-legged Partridges and Wood Pigeons.  And so back home but not before a call at Fuente de Piedra where we hoped that both Pochards and a White-headed Duck might be recorded.  Nevermind the main salina, the back pool behind the Visitors Centre was also dry save for a damp patch at the far end that held less than a dozen Flamingo.  Indeed, at less than five minutes, it must have been our shortest ever visit to this site!

But what a wonderful three days in great company and a final total of 119 species including that Eider Duck at El Portil, both Caspian and Black Terns but not forgetting either the Red Knot nor the gorgeous Black-shouldered Kite.

Black Stork Ciguena Negra Ciconia nigra

Birds seen: 

Mallard, Red-legged Partridge, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Black Stork, White Stork, Flamingo, Black-shouldered Kite, Red Kite, Black Kite, Buzzard, Kestrel, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Lapwing, Sanderling, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Hoopoe, Calandra Lark, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Robin, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Great Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Iberian Grey Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Cirl Bunting, Corn Bunting.

A kettle of White Storks Ciguena Blanca Ciconia ciconia

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

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