Monday, 17 February 2020

Donana National Park

Sunday 16 February

Time to set of on the journey back to Algarrobo Cost with the day spent in the Donana National Park visit the various reserves, El Rocio and the Dehesa de Abjao.  By 11am we were at the  Laguna de la Mujer where we were welcomed by scores of Azure-winged Magpies and a feeding Hoopoe. On the water, still masked by the early morning mist, we had a couple of Cormorant, Little Grebe, Mallard and Coot.  A Grey Heron was well-concealed at the back of the water.  The nearby bushes held both Blackcap and Great Tit and both Wood Pigeon and Great White Egret flew past overhead.  No shortage of Chiffchaff and as we left we added both Blackbird and Greenfinch and the passing Barn swallows.

Azure-winged Magpie Rabilargo Cyanopica cyanus
Then it was off to Matalascanas and a visit to El Acebucho passing a number of Buzzard, Kestrel, Collared Dove, Magpie and Azure-winged Magpie on the way.  All very dry here so a very short stay but sufficient to add White Stork, Robin, Stonechat and Red-rumped Swallow.  Finally, not just a couple of Firecrests but also a first Short-toed Treecreeper of the year.

Stonechat Tarabilla Comun Saxicola torquatus

Our third stop was at La Rocinas on the outskirts of El Rocio and this really was a wonderful site with lots of water and a great range of species. The approach had produced more Azure-winged Magpies and a Raven and as soon as the car parked we added the fist of many Chaffinches.  Also in the pines approaching the fiorst hid another two Short-toed Treecreepers and a rather handsome male Serin.  From the hide overlooking the water we had a wonderful display of birds including very many Glossy Ibis, Shoveler, Pochard, Heron, Coot and Moorhen.

Short-toed Treecreeper Agateador Comun Certhia brachydactyla

A lovely addition was the handful of Spoonbill and the presence of a small number of Greylag Geese along with a Purple Swamphen.  Having noted the many Common Pochard, a few Mallard and a healthy supply of Shoveler we then found a quartet of Pintail along with a few Teal.  A Yellow-legged Gull was resting to our right and then, back in the trees, more Chaffinches and a pair of Long-tailed Tits plus a couple of Blue Tits.

Pintail Anade Raudo Anas acuta

Walking to the second hide the chance to see a nearby Wren and then more Chiffchaffs and Chaffinches plus female Black Redstart.  And certainly no shortage of occupied White Stork nests.  An added bonus as we made our way back to the car was a Penduline Tit feeding in the reeds.

Female Black Redstart Colirrojo Tizon Phoenicurus ochruros

And so to El Rocio itself taking the sandy track at the back rather that the main road.  With the sun behind us we were able to check out the main water and quickly noted the many Flamingos and Black-winged Stilts.  In addition, we also found Redshank, Lapwing and a pair of Snipe.  A Crested Lark was feeding on the track and a number of Cattle Egrets were also present, the Little Egrets being further away towards the water.  More Glossy Ibis and the usual ducks on the main water along with more Greylag Geese.

Glossy Ibis Morito Comun Plegadis falcinellus

Our final stop was a return to the Dehesa de Abajo and on the journey we managed to add Zitting Cisticola, Corn Bunting and an Iberian Grey Shrike.  However, not so much the small flock of Linnets that brought the car to a standstill as the beautiful Black-winged Kite.  The water itself was much as the previous Friday with many Common and Red-crested Pochard along with Mallard, Shoveler and Gadwall plus both Little and Great Crested Grebes.  We even managed to find a couple of Marbled Duck and the approach had delivered a handful of Marsh Harriers along with a Black Kite.  On the fields behind, accompanied to the calling of the Cetti's Warblers, a large number of Glossy Ibis and Spoonbill plus more White Storks, Little Egrets and Herons. Special mention must be mad here of the single Black Restart resting on the field and with yet more White Wagtails we finally set off back towards Sevilla noticing the dozen jackdaws in the air as we departed.

Marbled Ducks Cerceta  Pardilla Marmaronetta angustirostris

Approaching the "dump" near La Puebla de Cazalla on the A92 we noticed the number of Red Kites and then a pair of Red-legged Partridge crossed the road in front of us as we approached the Malaga provincial border.  A great day's birding which produced a final tally of almost 80 species.

Night Heron Martinete Comun Nycticorax nycticorax (Adult above, juvenile below)

Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Teal, Marbled Duck, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Glossy Ibis, Black Stork, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Black-winged Kite, Red Kite, Black Kite, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Snipe, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, White Wagtail, Wren, Robin, Back Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Firecrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Penduline Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Iberian Grey Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting.

White Stork Ciconia ciconia apartment block - no vacancies!
Watch out for Pine Procession Caterpilars Thaumetopoea pityocampa these next few weeks
Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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