Monday, 10 April 2017

Birding Huelva: Day 2

Wednesday 5 April

Day 2:  The Odiel Marshes (Marismas del Odiel)


A range of species including Flamingo, numerous White Storks on their respective nests, Magpie, Collared Dove, Common Swift and Spoonbill before even reaching the Visitors centre at the Odiel marshes so a promising day ahead expected.  As yesterday, glorious, warm sunny weather which was to stay with us for the rest of our stay.  On arrival the Flamingo flock of about a thousand birds spread over the salinas was a joy to behold and, with the tide almost at its peak, most, if not all, of the mixed wader flocks had been pushed up onto these pools and just awaited identification.

Dunlin Correlimos Comun Calidris maritima with a Sanderling (in middle) looking on
Lots of Black-winged Stilts and Common Redshanks and then with use of bins and scopes we managed to find good numbers of Dunlin and no shortage of Curlew Sandpiper, with some just beginning to moult into their summer breeding plumage.  But before exploring any further we crossed over the road into the car park to see what might be about on the the confluence of the rivers.  Whilst a single Curlew was lovely it was rather amazing to see almost twenty Whimbrel resting on the handrail of the wooden jetty along with a few Sandwich Terns.  The little exposed mud on the Odiel itself held a few Kentish and Ringed Plovers along with the odd Sanderling and the grounds themselves produced a number of Magpie and a Sardinian Warbler.  relatively few birds on the small fresh-water pool but Mallard, Shoveler, Gadwall, Coot and a Moorhen recorded.

Little Stint Correlimos Menudo Calidris minuta

Back to the main salinas and the track leading down alongside the smaller river to the mirador at the end.  So many waders and all so very close, especially the Dunlin, Little Stint, Sanderling and Curlew Sandpipers.  On the water very many Shelduck along with the Shoveler and Mallard but then, at the back of the middle salina, a flock of over 200 Grey Plovers.  Again, very many Common Redsank but also a few Greenshank and,resting at the back, a handful of Caspian TernsSandwich Terns were feeding above along with both Barn and Red-rumped Swallows and the first of a few Marsh Harriers drifted by.  Also in the air were Yellow-legged, Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls and the occasional Cormorant.

Sanderling Correlimos Tridactilo Calidris alba acompanied by Dunlin Correlimos Comun Calidris maritima
Whilst checking out the path and its border shrubs we found Sardinain Warbler, Linnet and Iberian Yellow Wagtail and a closer look at the small wader flock revealed a pair of Marsh Sandpipers.  Whilst checking the over-flying Bee-eaters and a high Marsh Harrier, I was rather surprised and pleased to find a handful of Alpine Swifts moving through at an even higher altitude.  A White wagtail arrived and then the passing reserve warden pointed out  the two distant occupied Osprey nests with the head of the female just visible on the second.  All three small Plovers, Little Ringed, Ringed and Kentish, were seen along with Gadwall and Red-crested Pochard before we all started off down the spit to the Juan Carlos car park.

More Woodchat Shrikes were recorded and a later stop also produced both a Thekla Lark and a distant Short-toed Eagle. With the tide now on ts way out the sandbars were starting to appear on the Odiel so a productive stop produced not just Black-headed and Audouin's Gulls but three different tern species.  Mainly Sandwich but also a trio of Little and a pair of Common Terns.

Spot the Terns(Sandwich, Common and Little) with a Whimbrel Zarapito Trinador Numenius phaeopus in background
Stopping in the side road to watch the passing female Montagu's Harrier we then searched the nearby bushed to find the songster and were finally rewarded with a brief sighting of the Nightingale as it changed bushes.  However, it was as we drove off that Jenny drew our attention to the bright-coloured bird perched on a wooden post almost next to the car which turned out to be the most handsome male Common Redstart.  Not content with one, we eventually found a second along with a trio of Subalpine Warblers.  What a find!

Male Common Redstart Colirrojo Real Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Similarly, a brief stop in the opposite field turned into a more prolonged stop when we found a Melodious Warbler then an Iberian Chiffchaff to be followed by more Common Redstarts and a Willow Warbler.  In addition, Barbara and Derek added a male Blackcap and then, as we made our way back towards the Visitors centre, we continued to find a steady supply of feeding waders, mainly Redshank and Grey Plovers.  Driving back we then stopped for a keener look at the Osprey that was flying down river carrying a rather large fish and also picked up a Zitting Cisticola.

Skulking Subalpine Warbler Curruca Carrasquena Sylvia cantilans

Willow Warbler Mosquitero Musical Pylloscopus trochilus
Our final stop on the way back to our apartments was to call in at the fresh water lake at El Portil.  here we found fewer birds than expected and mainly Yellow-legged Gulls.  We did add both Little and Great Crested Grebes and there were Mallards, Shover and Gadwall at the back of the water.  A Cetti's Warbler was very vociferous below us.  As we took a short walk along the boardwalk through the nearby wood we first added a Buzzard and then recorded Serin, Great Tit and Goldfinch.  Finally, a Hoopoe crossed in front of us as we returned to the cars to complete the journey back to base.

Time for all good waders to say their farewell

Birds seen:
Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Osprey, Short-toed Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Black-winged Stilt, Little ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Greenshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Little Tern, Collared Dove, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Thekla Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Iberian Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Nightingale, Common Redstart, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Melodious Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Iberian Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Magpie, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Goldfich, Linnet


More of the mixed Terns

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

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