Saturday, 22 October 2016

Donana National Park

Sunday 16 October

Up reasonably early for an 8.30 start on the drive over to Ayamonte on the Portuguese border so that we might make a stop in the Donana and the hope that the rice harvest was under way and the possibility of a range of herons and egrets.  A special treat was taking a route that enable us to cross the Guadalquivir on the small roll on-roll off ferry to Coria del Rio.  With a convoy of eleven cars it was no wonder that we lost the last two cars on leaving the motorway so the "missing" pair caught us up at our apartments on the Costa Esuri resort.

Once we had all met up and surveyed the lack of water at the Dehesa de Abajo albeit with probably somewhere approaching 8,000 Flamingos present, we split up to explore the area where the rice harvest was just under way and then made our separate ways to the Costa Esuri apartment complex where we had reserved de-luxe two-bedroom rooms for three nights courtesy of Marta Jariod at Apartamentos Costaluz.

On the water amongst the thousands of Flamingos we found Little Egret, Heron, MallardsLittle GrebesWhite Storks and Black-winged Stilts and it did not take too much searching to also reveal Avocet, Ruff and Knot.  The occasional Redshank, Snipe and Green Sandpiper were also observed and in the nearby edges we had Cetti's Warbler, House and Spanish Sparrow, Stonechat and Jackdaw.  A lone Glossy Ibis flew over but no raptors were recorded.

Feeding Black-headed Gulls Gaviota Reidora Larus ridibundus and Lapwings Avefria Europea Vanellus vanellus on the recently harvested rice fields

Taking a clockwise circuit through the paddy field including Isla Mayor we added a handful of Black Storks and very many Cattle and Little Egrets along with Grey  Herons and Cormorants.   Both Yellow-legged and Black-headed Gulls were seen plus a large flock of Lapwing feeding on one of the cropped but now very wet rice fields.  In with these waders were not only a number of Moorhen and Redshanks but also a small number of Sanderling (no doubt waiting for an in-coming tide!).

Whinchat Tarabilla Notena Saxicola rubetra
Onwards toward El Rocio and a quick detour down "Whinchat Alley" produced the target bird on the fence within fifty metres along with Corn Bunting, Lesser and Common Kestrel and a little further on a Buzzard took to the air immediately to our right.  Then it was onwards to the centre of the Donana at El Rocio, meet up with John and Jenny wainwright and continue on to Ayamonte to get ourselves settled in.

Birds seen:
Mallard, Little Grebe, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Heron, White Stork, Black Stork, Flamingo, Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Moorhen, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Ruff, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Crested Lark, Whinchat, Stonechat, Cetti's Warbler, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Corn Bunting.

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

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