|Juvenile Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus
|White Storks Ciconia ciconia by the score
|One of three Purple Swamphen Calamon Comun Porphyrio porphyria at Laguna Dulce
|Distant Stone Curlew Alcaravan Comun Burhinus cedicnemus at Fuente de Piedra
Juvenile Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus and then two raptors for the price of one!
Having booked into the hostal in Los Palacios y Villafranca, I took the short drive over to Los Chapetales to both make sure that I knew which road to take in the morning and check the site conditions. The rice had been mainly combined leaving large watery expanses which held many White Storks, Herons and Little Egrets and I even had a Squacco Heron welcome me on the bend as I crossed the channel. Meanwhile, a start had been made on harvesting the local cotton crop.
|Red Kites Milano Real Milvus milvus west of Osuna
|Southern Grey Shrike Alcadon Real Lanius meridionalis
In addition to the White Storks there were numerous Yellow-legged and Black-headed Gulls and, further along, even Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Again, no shortage of Grey Herons and scores of Little Egrets. On the drier land, Cattle Egrets had come to feed and the first open water produced a score or more of Cormorants. No shortage of Coots and the occasional Moorhen but ducks consisted of a few Mallards.
|One of scores of Purple Swamphens Porphyrio porphyrio to be seen, both in the open and hiding, at the Brazo del Este
|Squacco Heron Garcilla Cangrejera Ardeola ralloides
and note the mass of white when the bird takes flight
No Night Herons and the Black-headed Weavers had departed leaving their nesting trees to be occupied by a flock of over fifty Spanish Sparrows. Returning to my starting point to take a last look at some of the more productive pools, I continued to find more and more Purple Swamphens and a flock of 150 tightly-packed Black-winged Stilts. The Marsh Harriers continued to quarter the site and a single Kingfisher flashed past. The return journey back to Los Palacios was by a different route and jut after the rice depot I came across a small party of Meadow Pipits feeding on some grassy wasteland. Then I was able to add more Lapwings and another pair of Black Storks. Not too sure about the small flock of Greylag Geese.
|Male Spanish Sparrow Gorrion Moruno Passer hispaniolensis; one of thousands seen at Brazo del Este
|And then a flight of Spoonbills Espatula Comun Platalea leucorodia passed overhead
It would appear that I was wrong when I said that the Black-headed Weaver colony had been abandoned. Looking a little close at my photographs I can now see why one of the Spanish Sparrows looks larger with a greenish tint. Yes, you guessed correctly, a female (or maybe juvenile) Black-headed Weaver.
|Female Black-headed Weaver Ploceus melanocephalas at the former breeding colony, Brazo del Este
Greylag Goose, Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Black Stork, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Black-winged Kite, Red Kite, Griffon Vulture, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Crane, Black-winged Stilt, Stone Curlew, Lapwing, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Stonechat, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Southern Grey Shrike, Jackdaw, Raven, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, Black-headed Weaver, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Serin, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting.
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