Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Donana, Huelva and Sevilla Province, (day two).

El Corredor Verde and J A Valverde visitors centre.

We started the second day along the Corredor Verde a track that is one of my favourite places to visit in the Donana area, the first half of the track (coming from the north) is in good condition but after the rains of last winter the southern half of the route is quite bad and care is needed as you could quite easily damage the underside of your car.
Our first stop was made by the Lagoon of Quema, a man made pool for irrigating local fields, here we saw Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and Little Grebe (Zapullin Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Common Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) out on the water. In the Tamarisks surrounding the pool Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) were added to the list. Just over the bridge passed the shrine to the Virgin Mary we made our second stop and quickly picked up a pair of Black-winged Kites (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus). Also here were several Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Miliaria calandra), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and in the Tamarisks nearer to the river a single Olivaceous Warbler (Zarcero Pálido / Hippolais pallida). At Balsa de Manchazuhillo a largish pool with several dead tree stumps in it we had what were the birds of the trip for me, four Pin-tailed Sandgrouse (Ganga Ibérica/ Pterocles alchata) did a brief but welcome fly past and along with cracking views of Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Spanish Sparrow (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis) and Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) this was a very pleasing stop. We continued on the track but as it was so badly rutted I was spending a lot of time dodging potholes and not seeing the birds.
When we reached the end of the track and rejoined the road to the visitors centre we made the decision to go and have a coffee and some breakfast. Once we were sorted we made our way along the road from Venta del Cruce back towards the Visitor centre stopping at several pools and lakes along the way. During these stops we picked up Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), and Greylag Geese (Ansar Común / Anser anser) as new birds for the trip.
During the drive to the J A Valverde visitor's centre several Crested (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) a pair of Lesser Short-toed Larks (Terrera Marismena / Calandrella rufescens) and Iberian Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) were seen and a single Pin-tailed Sandgrouse was seen briefly. The heronry at the centre was packed to bursting with Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Squacco (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides), Night (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) and Purple Herons (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea), along with Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) and Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia) it was quite a sight.
On the way back to the hotel we picked up a single Great White Egret (Garceta Grande / Egretta alba), 3x Purple Swamp-hens (Calamon Común /Porphyrio porphyrio), Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) and a Red Kite (Milano Real / Milvus milvus).
Photographs from the top: Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus), Iberian Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) and Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax).

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