Thursday, 1 May 2014

Five days in the Donana National Park: Day 2

White Stork Ciguena Blanca Ciconia ciconia
Thursday 1 May

Not really a birding day having committed myself to attend the Bird Fair and help promote the Andalucia Bird Society.  However, by the time i arrived at the venue, the visitors Centre at the  Dehesa de Abajo, I had already seen both Blackbird and Goldfinch on the scenic journey along a very narrow road and, of course, there were White Storks all over the place.  Indeed, approaching the entrance I had to stop and admire the scores of soaring Black Kites whilst in the field to my left were dozens of Cattle Egrets feeding alongside their namesake and a Grey Heron flew over.

But first a stop a little further on alongside the full lake so that I could check out the bird life.  A Great Reed Warbler was singing its head off right next to me and near the shore both Common Coot and Mallards.  A little further out I could pick out the many Common and Red-crested Pochards and there was certainly a good number of Great Crested Grebes but a more limited number of their smaller relative, the Little Grebe.

Black Kites Milano negro Milvus migrans performing an aerial dance

Further back a score or more of what looked like first year Flamingos were feeding and every now and again a Moorhen sallied forth from the reeds.  Moving to the far end of the water I found a number of juvenile/first year Night Herons but also a trio of adults.  Indeed, one individual was sharing the company of a Squacco Heron.

Great Reed Warbler Carricero Tordal Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Back on the Bird Fair site the heat had brought out numerous Bee-eaters and Barn Swallows along with the ever-active Spotless Starlings.  Time for a walk down to the distant hides and, having arrived, I duly found not only a number of Purple Swamphens but at least two Red-knobbed Coots.

Bee-eater Abejaruco Europeo Merops apiaster feeling the wind on his back
That was just about it terms of birding so I took the long way back to the hotel and crossing one of the many drainage canals had the delight of seeing a Kingfisher flashing its way upstream away from me.  Joining the main road I immediately recorded both Corn Bunting and Crested Lark the finally a single Greenfinch before discovering a handful of Black-winged Stilts and a single Glossy Ibis on a small field pond.  Both Buzzard, on a pylon, and Kestrel were also recorded in this area.

Given the obsessive heat and lack of opportunity, 32 species for the day was quite reasonable and it did include that illusive Kingfisher.

Birds seen:
Mallard, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Grey Heron, Flamingo, Black Kite, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Red-knobbed Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Blackbird, Great Reed Warbler, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting.

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

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