Monday, 17 February 2020

Odiel Marshes (Marismas del Odiel)

Saturday 15 February

Odiel Marshes Visitors Centre for a morning's birding with the Andalucia Bird Society lead by Manu Mojarro.  Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a pair of Raven as we approached the meeting point and then the sight of scores of beautiful Flamingos next to the working salt salinas.  With the tide just about full in we started by walking along to the mirador overlooking the permanent pools after checking out the fresh water pool but not before noting the Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls, Sandwich Terns and a Whinbrel on the rail of the jetty in the visitors' car park.  A couple of Cormorant were flying over the river and at the edge both Whimbrel and Redshank.  Add on Little Egret and it was time to take a closer look at the flamingos.  Lots of Black-winged Stilts and more Redshnak plus a number of Black-tailed Godwits.  At the far right a flock of Dunlin and accompanying Little Stint and then the resting Ringed Plovers plus a pair of Kentish Plover.  Also present a single Caspian Tern and Mediterranean Gull along with a few Turnstone.

Slender-billed Gull Gaviota Picofina Larus genei with Whimbrels ZarapitoTrinador Numenius phaeopus

The pond held Moorhen and Coot plus Mallard, Common and Red-crested Pochard and a good number of Shoveler.  Only the one Little Grebe noted but more Black-winged Stilts and Black-headed Gulls.  However, the best sighting was that of a Sedge Warbler.  Behind me at the back of the Visitors Centre Blackbird, Wood Pigeon, Chiffchaff and Hoopoe were also recorded.

Red-crested Pochards Pato Colorado Netta rufina

Once at  the mirador we had closer views of both the Flamingos and many Shelduck. The walk down had already produced a Black-necked Grebe in the channel and a couple of Sardinian Warblers.  No sooner the distant Marsh Harrier then views of a couple of Osprey and a large flock of Bar-tailed Godwits flew over.

Osprey Aguila Pescadora Pandion haliaetus above nesting platform

Other birds noted here were Great White Egret, Grey Plover and Great Crested Grebe.  Working our way back with the tide now receding, both Dunlin and Curlew Sandiper came to feed on the exposed mus and even joined by a Bar-tailed Godwit.  Returning to our cars a Song Thrush flew across the road from the stream to our left.

Emergency escape by Bar-tailed Godwit Aguja Colipinta Limosa lapponica and Dunlin Correlimos Comun Calidris alpina
As we made our way along the spit towards the Juan Carlos park we recorded both Greenshank and a lovely Buzzard.  A White Stork flew over and we also noted both Crested Lark and Goldfinch.  Once in the car park and checking out the mus flats we quickly added a number of both Whimbrel and Curlew and many more Redshank.  A few distant Spoonbill but only the one Grey Heron.  A sea scan produced a Great Skua that landed near a couple of Cormorant resting on a yellow marker buoy and looking at the sand bars of the Odiel a small lock of Slender-billed Gulls as well as more Sandwich Terns and waders such as Redshank, Dunlin and Grey Plover.

Resting Sandwich Terns Charran Patinegro Sterna sandvicensis

Following the conclusion to our visit to the Odiel Marshes, we drove home via the freshwater lake at El Portil.  A very bust water with many Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Coots and a handful of Little Grebes plus a single Great Crested Grebe.  Lots of Red-crested Pochard and a few of both Mallard and Gadwall along with the occasional Moorhen but the star of the site was not the single Magpie but a splendid male Tufted Duck in the middle of the lake immediately in front of us.  The only disappointment was that after returning to the car to collect the camera the bird drifted to our right and was lost behind the tall trees and shrubs at the edge of the water.  Great shame.  However, a wonderful end to a glorious day's birdwatching in the company of over twenty-five members of the ABS and guided by local professional, Manu Mojarro.

Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus with Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus
Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus with Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa

Ringed Plovers Chorlitejo Grande Charadrius hiaticula

Birds seen:
Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Heron, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Whimbrel, Redshank, Greenshank, Turnstone, Great Skua, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Tern, Sandwich Tern, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Stonechat, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Sedge Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Magpie, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

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

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