Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Donana with John and Jenny: Day2

Saturday 17 October

Donana National Park Day 2:  Valverde Centre

Lots more birds for John and Jenny who seem to be thoroughly enjoying their extended stay down in Huelva province.

A very thundery, humid day with bright periods.

The sky was black as coal when we started off for the Centre and as we left
El Rocio it bucketed it down, so nothing was seen until we reached the start of
the track - next to the Isla Mayor turning.  The first sighting was of a 
Black-shouldered Kite, then searching  through a flock of sparrows we found a few
Spanish Sparrows, then some Spotless Starlings and Stonechats, while in the canals 
Grey Herons and Cormorants were noted.  A male and female Marsh Harrier  were seen
quartering the marshes and a Black-headed Gull flew past.
Cetti´s Warblers were in good voice as we progressed up to the usual Night Heron 
roost - they were not here save for two immatures.  Opposite the building we found
seven Great Whites, Little and Cattle Egrets,plus Grey Herons, a White Stork and 
Cormorants.  In the fields past the building we spotted two Lesser Short-toed Larks, 
Corn Buntings and a White Wagtail.
Immature Night Herons Nycticorax nycticorax (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
As we approached the centre the power lines were occupied by at least fifteen
Lesser Kestrels, while at the centre all that was in situ were about a hundred and
fifty Mallard and two female Marsh Harriers who had great fun flying over the reed
beds and pools putting the ducks every time.
Moving on from the centre - where we had a coffee - although nobody really wished
to speak, we turned left and went straight ahead, making for the boundary  gate of
the reserve.  Along this track we saw Northern Wheatears, a single male Whinchat,
hundreds of White Wagtails - just keeping far enough in front of us as to thwart 
any ideas of photographs, also a Hoopoe and a Yellow-legged Gull were noted.  At
the gate we spotted two Red Kites and a Raven at the cattle enclosures.  Retracing
our steps a single Griffon Vulture was seen sitting in the field close to some
horses, the four Greylag Geese flew past.
Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Continuing round the circuit we saw lots mote White Storks in the rice paddies plus two Black Storks, Great White and Little Egrets. Another male and female
Marsh Harriers were seen here and at one of the bridges a Kingfisher was disturbed.  
At the new large irrigation pools we found a Great Crested Grebe and as we  left
the reserve two Buzzards and a small flock of Lapwings were seen.
The rain started again and as we had a beer in the bar at the site a terrific 
rainstorm ensued, so we waited for it to finish and then went down to the marismas
to see what effect it had had on them, not a lot!!  But the centre was open and no
sign of the Imperial Eagle today, due to the weather...and yet more rain forecast
for tomorrow. 

Beautiful Red Kites Milvus milvus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

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