Saturday 12 October 2019

Birding Seville & Huelva Province: Day Four

Day Four:  10 October - Donana Natioanl Park and Braza del Este

All parked and departed by 8.30 with Azure-winged Magpies sitting on the gate to bid us farewell and more, along with Blackbirds, House Sparrows and Spotless Starlings as we made our way towards the motorway.   A quick stop just before entering the road to check out the mud flats below us on the right produced Little Egret, Heron and a small number of Flamingo along with a single Black Stork.  Also present were Back-winged Stilts and a quartering Marsh harrier looking for its breakfast.  Next up a couple of flying Cormorant and a small number of Yellow-legged Gulls whilst nearer to the fence we had the first Stonechat of the day.

Over the old bridge at Huelva to take the coast road to Matalascanas with a stop at the end of the big lake taking the entrance track at KM13.  Greeted by dozens of Azure-winged Magpies and Common Waxbill we made our way to the brick hide and immediately found Mallard, Shoveler, Gadwall and a couple of Teal.  A couple of Purple Swamphen on the far side of the water and behind us both Cetti's Warbler and a Robin.  Waders included both Green and Common sandpiper along with a couple of Snipe.  Then, as we left the sandy track to join the main track back to the road a Common Redstart on the fence in front of us; lovely sight.

Then it was on to Matalascanas picking up Common and many more Azure-winged Magpies on the way plus the first Buzzard of the day.  Upon arrival at El Rocio we were surprised and disappointed to find the lagoon absolutely bone dry, not even a damp patch nevermind a distant small puddle.  However, much searching did reveal a single Northern Wheatear and a distant Cattle Egret.  What a good job we had stopped at the above site.

Working our way to the Dehesa de Abajo we encountered more Stonechats, Goldfinch and a couple of Willow WarblersMoorhen and Coot were recorded and Barbara even caught the glimpse of the Jay that rushed into the trees.  A few Crested Larks were seen, a Zitting Cisticola and then a Raven took off from a pylon in front of us.

More bad news when we arrived on site to discover, like El Rocio, the lake had disappeared with nothing to be seen.  On the opposite fields the rice harvest was well under way with a mixture of ploughed, recently cropped and untouched fields.  Naturally, lots of White Storks to be seen along with Herons and both Cattle and Little Egrets.  The deeper pools held Spoonbill and a walk to the small fresh water lake a little further o produced both Sardinian Warbler and a trio of Night Heron and a couple of Jackdaw.

As we reached the end of the rice fields at Pueblo del Rio we noticed that the final field on the left was being ploughed and contained a large selection of feeding birds including many Glossy Ibis, Black-headed, Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Glossy Ibis Morito Comun Plegadis falcinellus and many gulls
On into the town centre of Coria del Rio to take the car ferry across the River Guadalquivir and on to a final tour of the Braza del Este from a different direction noting the small number of Greylag Geese as we approached the far bank.  Once into the rice fields, and much less traffic on this occasion, we quickly found lots Lapwing and hundreds of Glossy Ibis.  A half-dozen Black Stork was a welcome sight along with the many White Storks.  Lots of Marsh Harriers as might be expected and also a number of Spanish Sparrows.

Marsh Harrier Aguilucho lagunero Circus aeruginosus

Continuing on along the tracks through the rice fields we also recorded Avocet and a dashing Sparrowhawk followed by a pair of Red Kite and more Kestrels.  Towards the end of the tracks we also found a most handsome male Yellow-crowned Bishop with a nearby female and then a single Yellow Wagtail (Flavissima).

Seventten Black Storks Ciguena negra Ciconia nigra in the Braza del Este
Now came the long drive back home via Alhaurin del Torre and approaching Campillos we stopped to let a tractor pass on the barrow road as another Sparrowhawk also took the same opportunity to cross the road immediately in front.  No sooner had we got over this shock than we had a close Black-shouldered Kite to our left followed by a few Corn Buntings.  having almost reached 60 species for the day we made a final stop at the vertical cliff at the Teba turn on the Malaga road to record both the many Crag Martins and a number of Griffon Vultures before being sighting the high Bonelli's Eagle.  Just to round off the day we also picked up a Greenfinch and Barbara heard a Linnet.

What a way to end four days of fabulous birding in great company and a final species total of about 114.  But, as can be seen, then comes the writing and next the sorting of photographs!

Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Teal, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Night Heron, Glossy Ibis, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Black Stork, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, osprey, Black-shouldered Kite, Red Kite, Black Kite, Griffon Vulture,Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Booted Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purle Swamphen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Stone Curlew, Collared Pratincole, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Turnstone, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Little Tern, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Yellow Wagtail, Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Common Redstart, Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Jay, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Common Waxbill, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting, Black-headed Weaver, Yellow-crowned Bishop.

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