Friday 23 February 2018

Odiel Marshes, Huelva

Monday 19 February

Today was "Odiel Day" with we three pairs doing our own thing as we "bumped into each other" as we worked our way up and down the spit through the Odiel Marshes in addition to exploring the area around the Visitors Centre.  Driving down towards Matalascanas to take the coastal road to Huelva and on to the Visitors Centre we encountered a few early Buzzards, both Azure-winged and (Common) Magpie, numerous breding White Storks and the usual Corn Buntings and Stonechats on fences plus Crested Larks.  Even a Raven flew across to give us an early corvid.

Black-tailed Godwit Aguja Colinegra Limosa limosa

A stop at about KM14 for us to wander up the embankment and make our way through the scribe to the shallow end of the lake enabled us to find Cormorant, Mallard and Coot with the then appearance of a Purple Swamphen and both Little and Great Crested Grebe.  Both Buzzard and Marsh Harrier put in an appearance and off to our right we found an Osprey enjoying its breakfast fish whilst perched on a short pole alongside more resting CormorantsCetti's Warblers were calling and a couple of Barn Swallows flew across the water.

Purple Swamphen Calamon Comun Porphyrio porphyrio
Once at the Odiel, arriving a little later as we discovered to our cost that the old bridge was closed so had to turn round and pick up the road to the new bridge, we started at the fresh water pool between the salt works and Visitors Centre.  Lots of water so, other than Black-winged Stilt and Black-tailed Godwit, no waders about.  Ducks seemed to be mainly Shoveler, Mallard and Gadwall but we also had a couple of Pintail and a few Teal.

Pintail Anade Rabudo Anas acuta
A Purple Swamphen wandered out of the edges to join the Black-necked Grebe, Moorhen and Coots.  Above and on the water we found Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls plus a couple of juvenile Flamingo but mainly adult Flamingo on the pools on the opposite side of the road albeit relatively few in number.

Whimbrel Zarapito Trinador Numenius phaleopus on the river beach

So round to the car park to check out the water below which, at just past low tide and lots of glorious mud, provided the expected waders including Avocet, Whimbrel, Greenshank, Grey Plover and the smaller species including Dunlin, Little Stint, Kentish and Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Redshank and Turnstone.  Lovely to find a Bar-tailed Godwit and over the river a few feeding Sandwich Terns.  Larger birds included Heron, and Little Egret.  Smaller birds in the neighbouring gardens included Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Robin, Black Redstart, Greenfinch and Goldfinch.

Can you identify the smaller waders feeding with the Black-tailed Godwits Aguja Colinegra Limosa limosa?
The drive up and down the spit including stops at the Juan Carlos car park produced many of the above waders and gulls plus more Spoonbill, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Great White Egret, Flamingo, Spoonbill and feeding Sandwich Terns were recorded.  We also managed to add Wood Pigeon, Meadow Pipit, Blackbird, Chaffinch and Green Sandpiper as well both Marsh Harrier and Booted Eagle along with Audouin's Gull.

Great White Egret Garceta Grande Egretta alba

Then it was back to base in El Rocio but not before a stop at the Acebuche Centre where, in addition to the score or more Azure-winged Magpie we also had Magpie and Spotless Starlings.  Once again, the final bird proved to be an Iberian Grey Shrike siting on the wires until a late decision to take the track at the top end of the lake produced not only Lapwing, Snipe and lots of Glossy Ibis but also, once again, the "resident" flock of Waxbill.

Azure-winged Magpie Rabilargo Cyanopica cyanus

(Common) Magpie Urraca Pica pica
Birds seen:
Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Great White Egret, Heron, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Little Stint, Dunlin, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Sandwich Tern, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Iberian Grey Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Waxbill, Chaffinch, Serin, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting.

Other photos:

Sandwich Tern Charran Patinegro Sterna sandvicensis trying to enter the car!

Azure-winged magpies and their feesing habits

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

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