Monday, 24 October 2016

Odiel Marshes (Marismas del odiel)

Tuesday 18 October

With Jenny and accompanied by John and Maureen Taylor e set off on our own for the Odiel Marshes knowing the the rest of the group were somewhere in the vicinity and that we were bound to encounter them on and off during the day as we worked the area.  Driving through the woods between the two motorways as we made our way to the Odiel we not only had Wood Pigeons and Azure-winged Magpies fly over the road but also an Osprey, surely a positive indication for the birding to come.

The large flock of (mainly) Sandwich Terns Sterna sandvicensis
On arrival at the site we made the small, water short, pond on the approach road our first stop.  Here we found Moorhen, Coot and Mallard and with closer inspection also added Gadwall, Shoveler and Teal.  Cetti's Warblers were calling and both Ringed Plover and Little Stints worked the edges whilst on the limited water we found Black-tailed Godwit and Black-winged Stilts.  Both Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls were also present and as a couple of Spoonbill flew over we turned to see the numerous Flamingos at the far side of the working salinas where salt was being gathered by the workforce.

Then it was round to park at the Visitors Centre and check out both the river estuary and the main mud flats of the Odiel itself, making use of the now open pier that lets you look immediately down on the latter.  Spotless Starlings in the trees, Magpies wandering around and John managed to see the sole Robin.  The estuary produced a number of both Redshanks and Dunlin along with a odd Grey Plover and Whimbrel.  Little Egret, Cormorant and Greenshank were added to the list before walking the pier to look at the Odiel banks.  A Blackbird took to the bushes on the way and then we had good views of a couple of Sandwich Terns resting on nearby buoys.  More Whimbrel, Dunlin and Redshank along with both Ringed and Kentish Plovers.

A stop to look at the salinas opposite produced closer views of the Flamingos along with more Black-winged Stilts and Heron.  Then on down to the Juan Carlos picnic area with the tide now well out but not before passing a White Stork, a small number of Linnets and a flock of Spotless Starlings and a stop near the small copse to find Crested Lark, Meadow Pipit and Bluethroat.

Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii with the terns and a Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundues
From the car park we could see a number of both Whimbrel and Curlew plus  many distant Oystercatchers.  Lots of Redshanks, Dunlin and Ringed Plovers feeding and so on down to the far end of the narrow causeway, stopping to admire the large flock of resting Sandwich Terns which also included about a dozen winter-plumage Common Tern, certainly standing out by their noteble smaller size.  Also present were Cormorants, Sanderlings, Grey Plover and more Dunlin and Redshanks, not to mention Oystercatchers.

East to spot the two Common Terns Sterna hirundo in winter plumage with black beaks rather than red
Now a basking Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo has joined the throng
The final stop was impressive by the number of present Northern Wheatears along with Crested Larks, Stonechats and even Hoopoes.  Making our way back to the Visitors Centre before starting the homeward journey we stopped by the old salinas to find at least three of the Stone Curlews seen by Roger and Jean Smith earlier in the day.  Whilst there we also added Turnstone to the day's tally.

Two distant resting Stone Curlews Burhinus oedicnemus

Birds seen:
Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Osprey, Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Oystercatcher, Black-winged Stilt, Stone Curlew, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Turnstone, Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Robin, Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Linnet

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

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