Thursday, 1 May 2014

Donana Day 1 with the Wainwrights

Thursday 1 May

What a hot day and very tiring.  At the SEO Bird Fair at Deheasa de Abajo all day representing the Andalucia Bird Society and managed to meet quite a few friend, especially Andy Paterson who was to address the gathered masses at 6pm with, for him, a favourite subject re Pelagics.  But not only as no sooner had we settled in than John and Jenny Wainwright arrived and always good to meet up with great birding couple from our neck of the proverbial woods.  No sooner had I got back to the hotel and before even looking at what might be on my camera for today, there was an emailed report from John awaiting me; he obviously got back to his hotel in El Rocio well before me!  So it looks as if I am going to be reporting twice each day until one or both of us get back to our respective homes.

Doñana Day One: 1st May

Osprey Pandion haliaetus (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
A very hot day, very little, if any breeze.

As we left the hotel in El Rocio a Black Kite came soaring over the main road and en route to the Bird Fair we saw Barn Swallows, House Martins, White Storks ( by the dozen ), Crested Larks sang out over the fields and several Woodchat Shrike were noted on the fences . On the pylons we spotted a Raven and a couple of Common Buzzards and two Hoopoe flew across the road with bugs for their chicks, we presume.

We arrived at the bird fair at 10am and we were surprised that half of the stalls were not ready - although be fair to them - it did say ready for 11am.  We were hunting for new binos as the neck-strap sockets had failed on our old ones.  While waiting for the optics stall to open we walked down to the hides to see what was about.  The sky was alive with Bee-eaters also about were White Storks, Black Kites and Jackdaws, mostly ferrying twigs and grasses to their nests.

Judging by the reaction, I can only assume that this particular Osprey was not impressed (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
On the lagoon we found two Red-knobbed Coots, several Common Coots, Red-crested and Common Pochards, Moorhens, Greater Flamingos, Grey Herons, Mallard and Black-winged Stilts. At least a couple of dozen Great Crested Grebes, with their smaller cousin the Little Grebe being well represented and one Black-necked Grebe. 

Male Red-crested Pochard Netta refina (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
The reed beds held Purple Swamphens, Cetti´s and Great Reed Warblers and the small bushes surrounding the lagoon turned up Sardinian Warblers, House Sparrows, Goldfinches and Nightingales.  After returning and purchasing our binos we headed off for the Corridor Verde.  We stopped at the sluice gates to try to get photos of the Great Reed Warbler when a Black-headed Weaver flew in to the same reed bed, but we couldn´t locate it - we didn´t get the photos of the former either.

Short-toed Lark Callandrella brachydactyla  (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
Our first sighting along the Corridor Verde was of an Osprey atop a pylon, it sat a fair time while we photographed it.  Also along this track we found Serins, Great Reed Warblers, Nightingales, Greenfinches, Black Redstarts, Hoopoes, Short-toed and Crested Larks, Azure-winged and Common Magpies, Stonechats, Red-rumped Swallows and two Melodious Warblers.

Great sightings John and Jenny and you obviously had far more time than me today.  Tomorrow I am having a day off to go over the Odiel Marshes.   I must also check out what you call the Corridor Verde" and maybe take a look before I return to Casa Collado.

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

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