Sunday, 1 May 2016

Donana, Sevilla and Huelva Provinces.

A day on the Marshes between El Rocio and Matalascañas in the Donana.
Donana and Extremadura tour Day two.

After a very nice breakfast we all met up out at the van and whilst we were waiting there some of the group started the day list off with House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and just  little way down the road a very nice group of White Storks (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) nesting in some roadside trees.
We made our way across to the well known town of El Rocio on the edge of the Charco de la Boca, a large expance of water to the south of the town and parked there. We walked along the promanard type walkway which follows the dge of the water a soon started to find some interesting species including Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), lots of Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) which were flying in continually going to the large colony at the far end of the lake, Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia), Greylag Geese (Ansar Común / Anser anser), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Red-crested (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) and Common Pochards (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), a very smart male Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta) which Linda picked out, Little (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Cattle (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Great White Egrets (Garceta Grande / Egretta alba) all of which were seen in flight over the water, Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and a flock of Black-tailed Godwits (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa) which eventually dropped in to the grassy islands in the centre of the marsh. We made our way down as far as the SEO visitor centre which was unfortunutally closed but picked up Black (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger) and Whiskered Terns (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), distant singles of both Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus) and Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aguila Imperial Ibérica / Aguila adalberti), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
Even though the centre was closed had viewed the heronrey from the side viewing area and added a single Squacco (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides) to the list as well as 3 distant Black Storks (Ciguena Negra / Ciconia nigra), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris). During the walk back to the van we heard and eventually had brief views of a couple of Penduline Tits (Pájaro Moscón / Remiz pendulinus), heard but did not see Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) as well as adding Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea),
Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) to the day list.
Our next stop was down the main road to the coast at the Acebuches visitor centre but water levels were disappointingly low as ofter is the case in the Donana these days but we extended the list during the walk around the three hides with Iberian / Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), a group of heard only Crested Tits (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), a fine lookng male Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Orphean (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis), Melodious (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) as well as Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).
There were also masses of wildflowers seen from the boardwalks including Yellow Sunrose (Halimum halimifolium), Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum carinatum var discolor), Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus), Small Pink Cistus (Cistus crispus), Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), Mediterranean Catchfly (Silene colorata), Campanula specularioides and many more which still need names. 
By now it was getting on so we dropped down to the coast and had some lunch in a bar on the eastern side of Matalascañas before having a look at a rather packed beach where Pam, John and Judy went for a paddle while the rest of us scanned the sea picking up 3+ Sandwich (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and 5 less expected Caspian Terns (Pagaza Piquiroja / Sterna caspia) and lots of Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) which screemed continually over head.
We retraced our steps back up towards El Rocio and the checked the board walks out at Acebrón Centre but there were quite a few people about so we went down to the area of open water nearby and scanned the reedbeds from the track. Straight away we had nice views of a couple of Squacco Herons,  a Purple Heron (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea) in flight, Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Purple Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio) and best of all a singing Savi's Warbler (Buscarla Unicolor / Locustella luscinoides) which showed well in a clump of Rushes reasonably close. In the same area we had Yellow Lupin (Lupinus luteus), Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis), Lesser-snapdragon (Misopates orontium) a Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Coal Tits (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Large Psammodromus (Lagartija colilarga / Psammodromus algirus), Perez's Frog (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi) and Carpentor Bee (Xylocopa violacea).
Once we returned to the car we drove just down the road and did the loop woodland walk around the Palicio de Acebron where we saw or heard Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), 3 Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild) and then just as we were about to reach Mike Harvey came up and said that he had just had the main target bird for this site a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker (Dryobates minor) but by the time we returned to where he had seen it it had gone. We did find a couple of  Iberian Blue-tails (Ischnura graellsii) before we returned to the car and then made our way back to the hotel. We had our evening meal and retiered after a tyering day.

Photographs from the top: El Rocio church, White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia), Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus), the gang at SEO building watching the Herons, Whiskered Terns (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus), 2x Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia), House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) collecting mud, Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Iberian / Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), another White Stork, Armeria species, Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), John amongst the Pines, Savi's Warbler (Buscarla Unicolor / Locustella luscinoides), Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides), Me try to get a shot of the Iberian Bluetail, Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis), Yellow Lupin (Lupinus luteus) and Lesser-snapdragon (Misopates orontium).




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