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Oscars Tours April 23rd-30th 2005
SPAIN – Coto Donana
(Another gripping yarn Birders Tale from the “infamous Five”)

Introducing the cast: Este es mi amigos (well I tried to learn something of the lingo!)

Mark Rossell: Driver, Videographer and Chief taster
Louis Czismazia: Amateur, soon to be Professional Photographer, and BBQ Chef “like”
George Dodds: “Indiana” (Que?), square window finder, and Paella Chef
Pete Thornton: “The Purse”, Entertainment Officer and Pizza Chef
And last, but not least: myself Howard (Oscar) Orridge: Trip Organiser, Route planner and Picnic Chef

Introduction

I had provisionally planned to organise a Spain trip in 2006 after another visit to France in 2005, but I got carried away one evening searching the web for trip reports and accommodation etc. and before you could say “Cuanto es sus gambas” (how much are the prawns) the trip was planned, circulated amongst the group, arrangements made and the famous five assembled ready for action.

There are of course several extremely well known areas to go birding in Spain including Extramedura & Monfrague, The Pyrennese, Picos de Europa and the migration route over Gibraltar, but it was the magical sounding Coto Donana that appealed to me the most.
The reason for this was mainly because I have seen several Professional photographers at both the LROS and Leicester RSPB group meetings, who have spent time in this region and their photos of the specialities of the Donana area certainly made me sit up and take notice.

I quickly calculated that there were in the region of 20 to 25 potential lifers available for me alone, without adding the extra species that some of the others needed. These birds accompanied by a supporting cast of about another 50 species that I had seen on less than 5 occasions, and the possibility of seeing 100+ bird species a day with some of these being represented by hundreds of individuals and also the fantastic array of other wildlife meant that this was the place to start birdwatching on “mainland” Spain.

An affordable Villa was found in the region (just outside the town of Hinojos. Although the accommodation could sleep up to 10, we found it was perfect for a group of 5 blokes of our size, and would suggest that it would comfortably accommodate 7 individual birders or up to 8 if at least 2 people are a couple, thus making best use of the master bedroom.
This mini palace had its own swimming pool which would allow us to take a bath in when we got really dirty when we returned from a hard days birding, and more importantly a small Barbeque for ensuring freshly caught Lynx and Chameleons could be served for breakfast/lunch/dinner. (Joke, Honestly!) Orange and Lemon trees were planted in the garden and the fruits may be used to flavour your Sangria or squeezed for juice at breakfast.

Reasonably priced flights were arranged with Ryanair and the car that we hired was a 4/5 door Ford Focus (with air con) from Crown car hire at Seville airport.

We had our usual trip wager, this time of €5 where we guess how many species we would see on the trip. My guess was 163, Lou 175, Mark 191, Pete 218, and George 192. To find out who won this competition, I’m afraid you will need to read your way towards the end of this report!

The numbers that are mentioned in the Itinerary below refer to the numbered sites on a leaflet available from a company called “Discovering Donana Ltd” This leaflet has a small map on one side and details of 50 birding areas and a few of their species around the Donana region.
The web site can be viewed at: WWW.discoveringdonana.com Checklists can also be downloaded from this site. You will find that tours with this company are very expensive compared to those with John Butler whose excellent web site can be viewed at www.donanabirdtours.com
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Itinerary (This wasn’t exactly as it was planned beforehand, but how it turned out; Thus highlighting the flexibility of an “Oscars Tours” adventure!)

April 23rd flight from Stanstead Airport to Seville Airport. Pick up hire car, meet with John and Rebecca Butler at Villamanrique for a drink before settling in the Casa Donana Villa at Hinojos.

April 24th am - Shop locally for supplies (to last until we could find a supermarket) and some local birding around the Villa and nearby woods.
The village of La Palma del Condado on the verge of the Northern
The castle at Niebla.
Near to Huelva, El Campillo - the northern Sierras.
El Acebuche lagoon (pronounced Athayboochay)

April 25th – Fairly early start and late finish to the day with a tour with John Butler who runs “Donana Bird Tours” John was to take us around one of his usual routes, amassing a lengthy list of bird species, which could have included any number of target species. Sites included Villamanrique Forest, Laguna Mancho Zurillo, Corredor Verde, Dehesa de Pilas, Canada de Rianzeula, Dehesa de Abajo and the Jose Antonio Valverde Visitor Centre.

April 26th
La Madre (the Mother of the Marshes) one of the best bird watching spots in the Donana. Access from El Rocio. Almost anything is possible!
La Rocina Stream a natural water source for the western marshes – has a few hides along the Southern bank.
Shopping trip to Almonte for “proper” provisions
Evening trip near to Hinojos for Diurnal and Nocturnal species.

April 27th
Marismas de Odiel – tidal marsh, sandy beaches and salt pans that hold a large number of Gulls and waders.
Punta Umbria for more Gulls and waders.
El Portil a coastal lagoon that often has White-headed duck, Crested Coot and Chameleon.

April 28th
Revisit El Rocio and El Acebuche
- new site El Acebron Wood - a Mediterranean wood with Pines and Cork Oak with Sallows, Ferns and Sedges. A Passerine paradise.

April 29th
Revisit the sites taken with John Butler on the 25th. (To get better views of the Penduline Tit)

April 30th –
Casa Donana and the local woods for one last time before heading off to Villaverde (NE of Sevilla) and the Guadalquivir River – a huge House Martin colony under a bridge over the river.
Carmona – Lesser Kestrel colony around the bell tower whose foundations date back to Roman times.
Then on to the airport for a bite to eat before the evening flight back to Stanstead.
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DAILY ACCOUNT – Better species or sightings are indicated in bold type.

23rd April

A comfortable though almost empty flight touched down on time (20:45) and the first birds to be seen as we came off the plane were House Martins and Common Swifts. A Hummingbird Hawk moth on a plant by the airport terminal was an added bonus. We quickly passed through customs and after a quick frisk went to pick up our Hire car. This took slightly longer than it should have because we were looking for a grey car, which turned out to be deep red! The fact that it was hidden behind another car made it almost impossible to read a number plate anyway. Once loaded we made haste out of the airport and followed directions to Villamanrique where we met John & Rebecca Butler who had played a big part in arranging things “on the ground” as it were. We had a couple of beers just to get acquainted and acclimatised with Spain before moving off to the Casa Donana for a bit of supper and to set up the moth trap before getting our heads down for a good nights sleep.

24th April

As we arrived quite late the previous evening, and had only managed to identify a couple of species at the Airport, we were all keen to start logging a few “”Spanish” birds. The day started with a good hour of watching birds from the garden of our splendid villa, whilst drinking coffee and eating our breakfast.
A Serin was one of the first birds, singing from a tree in the neighbour’s garden, and was soon joined by a Male Sardinian warbler. A Woodchat Shrike was perched on the overhead wires about 100m away and that was replaced by a couple of European Bee-eaters. Spotless Starlings and Iberian (Azure-winged) Magpies were constantly passing by backwards and forwards as they went about their business.
When breakfast was complete, we followed a track along the edge of the woods nearby and were able to get some better views of the Iberian Magpies. They are very easy to watch and can be very approachable, but getting a decent photo of them was certainly a challenge for Louis.
We added Honey Buzzard, Hoopoe, Nightingale and Tree Sparrow to the list before sighting a few “huge” birds of prey coming in from the North. These were quickly identified as Griffon Vultures
and completely dwarfed the Black Kites that were also in the area.

A quick run into town to get some provisions was followed by an afternoon trip North of the main A49 to try and see a few species that would not be part of the following days schedule.
Whilst we were in town, George managed to see a couple of distant birds from the villa that were probably Golden Eagles.

A Look over the Corombel Bajo near La Palma del Condado produced some great views of Red-rumped Swallow, Corn Bunting, Crested Lark, Southern Grey Shrike, Booted Eagle and lots more Bee-eaters and Hoopoes. It was nice to see a couple of Montagu’s Harriers as they lazily drifted across the countryside.
The nearby town of Niebla holds probably the biggest colony of Lesser Kestrels in the region, and we were delighted to see many birds wheeling over the castle. Our total of only 22 birds was quite low, as recent counts have exceeded 60 birds!

The castle here would probably have been worth a visit for its historical value alone, but we had a schedule to keep to, so we continued adding birds to our list with “Bill clapping” White Storks nesting here on the castle and surrounding buildings and more Griffon Vultures and Booted Eagles soaring overhead.

I had hoped to find some decent birding locations on the Sierras to the north of Gibraleon (Huelva) but the only decent opportunity to stop and look for birds was at El Campillo. Here we recorded several more Hoopoes, Bee-eaters and Woodchats, our first Turtle Doves, Spanish Sparrows and Cattle Egrets. We identified the remains of a Hoopoe squashed into the road and also what turned out to be a very flat juvenile ladder snake, not a car passes by in hours and half the wildlife in the region gets flattened! Unlucky or what? The open plains that would have been in this area a few years ago now appear to be covered with Orange and Lemon groves, thereby moving the remaining Bustards and Sandgrouse into Portugal and the Extremadura region of Spain. A spiralling column of Griffon Vultures was seen over one of the open areas, we counted 16 birds.

We took a return route to Hinojos via the southern edge of the Donana National Park.
A stop was made at El Acebuche where we put a few water birds onto our slowly increasing lists. Waders included Black-winged Stilts and Little Ringed Plovers, whilst Little Egrets Joined forces with White Storks patrolling around the edge of the lagoon.

The return journey from El Acebuche to Hinojos took over an hour due to the high volume of traffic returning from the coast. We were fortunate to see a male Golden Oriole fly over the road just South of El Rocio and many Bee-eaters, Woodchats and Corn Buntings whilst we were travelling at less than 10 mph.
We hoped to enjoy an evening meal at one of the nearby restaurants, and were quite pleased with the food and beer, with the exception of Pete, for whom we struggled to find anything on the menu without meat. Salad and chips would be OK he said, so we ordered our meal and Pete was interestingly served a salad liberally covered with Tuna! This was not the ideal meal for a vegetarian! Lou wasn’t having any of this and made it quite clear to the waitress that salad does not include fish where we come from, so we ate up the fish salad whilst Pete was supplied with a proper dish of Tomatoes and lettuce!
From this point onwards we cooked for ourselves and Pete didn’t have too many more problems with his diet. It certainly appears that this region of Spain does not do “Vegetarian” at the moment, so be warned and prepared!

25th April

An account from John Butlers Website: (species in underlined italics are Spanish rarities)
With me today were a group of 5 birders from Leicestershire, lead by Oscar Orridge.
I collected the group (Oscar, Pete, Mark, Louis and George) from the CASA DONANA and headed straight for the Corredor Verde. One of the group had Penduline Tit as his main "target" bird and I know a site were there is a breeding pair. After about 15 minutes of watching the required area, a male Penduline Tit appeared and was seen by the whole group. Other birds seen in the Green Corredor included 5 Black-shouldered Kites, Booted Eagles, Black Kites, Hoopoes, Iberian Magpies, Woodchat Shrikes, a Pied Flycatcher, Crested Larks, Corn Buntings, Melodious Warblers, Common Sandpipers, White Storks and Purple Herons.
We then moved on to the Dehesa de Pilas and found Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Spanish Sparrows, Bee-eaters, Northern Wheatears, Common and Pallid Swifts, Red-rumped Swallows, Kestrels Griffon Vultures and a Black Stork.
The first of the rice-fields are now being flooded with water and we stopped overlooking three of them. Here we saw Whiskered and Gull-billed Terns, Collared Pratincoles, Whimbrels, Redshanks, Lapwings and Yellow Wagtails (Blue headed of the race Iberiae.)
At the Dehesa de Abajo there were Greater Flamingos, Spoonbills, Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Greenshanks, Little Stints, a Temminck's Stint, Curlew Sandpipers, Dunlins, Ruff, Ringed Plovers, Wigeon, Pintails, Common and Red-crested Pochards, Little and Black-necked Grebes and 2 Mute Swans.In the northern marshes we found Calandra and Greater Short-toed Larks, an Icterine Warbler, Great Reed Warblers, Purple Swamp-hens, Squacco Herons, a Great White Egret, Glossy Ibis, Common Buzzards, Montagu's Harriers, Red Kites, a Baillon's Crake, a Monk (Black) Vulture, Short-toed Eagles and a beautiful male Rock Thrush.

George’s account of the day:
“The whole day was spent with John Butler and good birds were provided throughout. I calculate that we saw 102 species during the day. Highlights for me were Black-shouldered Kites, Purple Swamp Hens, Ballion’s Crake, Calandra Larks, and Rock Thrush. There were other goodies but fleeting glimpses of Penduline Tit and two Mute Swans (national rarities) do not quite fit the bill. It is interesting to note that looking on John’s website this was one of his best days in April with four species highlighted in black. (This should have been 5 – the Mute Swans (Oscar.))
Too much wine was drunk in the evening as we celebrated with John and Rebecca. Jupiter and its four moons were another highlight of the evening and possibly the trip.”

My own highlights of the day were the Pin-tailed Sandgrouse that flew over our heads at Laguna Mancho Zurillo. 2 Egyptian Mongooses that were seen running away from us near the Corredor Verde. Black Stork and the numbers of Bee-eaters at the Dehesa de Pilas. The Red-crested Pochard; both males and females and also Pintail ducks on the Canada de Rianzuela;
I found it strange that one of our “wintering Birds” would be found basking in temperatures of more than 80 degrees! An Icterine warbler was only my second sighting as were the Calandra Larks that were seen close enough for me to be properly ticked as my only previous record of them was a speck singing in the sky.

The mental images that I have of the Rock Thrush that we watched for a good 15 minutes will remain with me forever, and at this early stage of the trip I was confident that we were watching “the bird of the trip” Lou tried desperately hard to capture a great picture but with the distance between the bird and us this image is the best that could be obtained. Nevertheless the bird is a fantastic species to see!

We had all had a great day with John and I would recommend that all visiting birders make provision to spend at least one day using his services as a professional bird guide around the Donana region.
The evening was spent at Casa Donana “pigging out” with John and his wife Rebecca. We had a pot of my “secret recipe” vegetable Curry and I was also led to believe that every joint of meat available in the local shop was purchased and went on our BBQ! Well-cooked Chef – another fine mess you got my face into.
Jupiter and its 4 moons were in the sky and we all had a look through “Hubble” the telescope. 2 diagonal bands could be seen across the face of the planet and each moon was clearly visible.

26th April

Today we had decided to visit the Madre de las Marismas (the Mother of the marsh) at El Rocio.
Everybody who visits the Donana region “does” this site and for very good reasons; the place is absolutely crawling with birds! Our timing was spot on as many waders were in full breeding plumage. Ruffs had splendid coloured ruffs; the flock of several hundred Curlew Sandpipers were showing a stunning range of oranges and reds as the sun cast highlights into their plumage.

The plumage of the Glossy Ibis was a combination of iridescent browns and greens. There was a flock of at least 50 Collared Pratincoles, with probably twice that amount of Greater Flamingoes. Black-winged Stilts, Black-tailed Godwits, Avocets, Little and Temminck’s Stints, Dunlin, Ringed Plovers, Common and Spotted Redshanks, Common and Wood Sandipers made up the majority of waders and there were plenty of Little and Cattle Egrets around the edge of the lagoon.

A handful each of Whiskered and Black Terns were nice to watch as they made their way up the marsh and back again. A sub adult Egyptian Vulture passed over our heads, partly silhouetted against the sun, but clearly identified by its unique tail shape.
The biggest disappointment for us was the Red-knobbed or Crested Coot; in non-breeding plumage the birds’ “knobs” are very small, making the birds very difficult to find amongst hundreds of their common cousins. We found 2 birds and ticked the species – a lifer for all but not a species to be remembered for it’s damn good looks! More interest was to be found in the Marsh Frogs, Common wall lizards or the Moorish Geckos.

We moved on a short distance up the road to La Rocina, at this site there is a freshwater stream that flows into the marsh at El Rocio, and also quite a substantial amount of mixed woodland. Savi’s warblers were very vocal but did not show themselves to us, unlike the “flocks” of Nightingales. Melodious warbler, Firecrest, Pied Flycatcher, Crested Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Pallid Swift, Purple, and Squacco Herons, and Purple Swamp Hens were also seen here.

Later in the day back at Hinojos we had an early evening meal before venturing out to listen to a few species of the night. Young Long-eared Owls were making their “squeaky gate” calls, A Scops Owl was invited (by our CD) to peep at us but we could not lure it into view, and a male Tawny owl called out nearby. Best sound of the night was a Red-necked Nightjar, but again we did not see it. These birds can often be seen in the middle of the road taking up heat from the warm tarmac, but our luck was not in, so we returned to base camp for a coffee and a well earned good nights sleep.

27 April

Today we decided to go around the other side of Huelva to look at the area near to Marismas de Odiel. After missing the correct exit on the roundabout at Corales and adding another 6km to the trip we found our way along the “Isla de Saltes” and came upon a couple of freshwater pools that held a variety of birds. Black-headed, Yellow-legged and Slender-billed Gulls were present, but the hoped for Audouins was noticeable by its absence. (There is always another time and it was not a lifer for me anyway) Sandwich and Little Terns were flying across the river at the edge of the pool whilst several pairs of Red Crested Pochards were swimming with Gadwall and Mallard.
A short drive further down this road and we found a bit of a car parking area with a broadwalk that looks over the shoreline. We added Whinchat to our tally before having a couple of fantastic species show at the same time. First of all an Ortolan Bunting perched at the top of a bush and was quickly followed by a Spectacled Warbler. Spoonbills, Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit and Curlew were good to see and a fall of Wheatears had us checking without success for rarities. We stopped under some trees for shade whilst we had lunch, and added Pied Flaycatcher, “Western” Bonelli’s Warbler, Willow Warbler and Redstart. The usual supporting cast of Iberian Magpie, Woodchat Shrikes, Sardinian Warblers and Crested Larks were now being taken for granted. A trip to Punta Umbria for Audouins Gull was unsuccessful, with the heat haze making the ‘scopes almost unusable. Several of the more common species of wader were here in good numbers though.
A trip to Laguna de El Portil had a good selection of birds to see, not least of all a strange looking female Pochard that had us thinking White-headed duck for quite a while. A “White” Black-necked Grebe was what could be expected following the debate about the Pochard, but a pair of Ferruginous Duck at least had the decency not to have any dubious ancestry or lack of pigment to cause any more confusion for us. This site is a regular place to see Chameleons, but none were sighted on this occasion.
Back at Hinojos we saw more Bee-eaters, a Cuckoo, Nightingales, Black Kites and the Red-necked Nightjar was heard again. Noticeable again in the sky was Jupiter and 3 of its moons.

We were very lucky to find a Mole Cricket scurrying across the drive; these insects are usually very difficult to see, and not really to be expected on concrete! This little critter made Pete’s day and we celebrated with another beer. (Nothing new about that then!)

28 April

We decided to go back to El Rocio today, and see if any new species could be added to our tally. The waders were still present in good numbers, and exactly the same species as seen on Tuesday.
A pair of Garganey was new for us and they were showing quite well (for Garganey.)
The Crested Coots were still disappointing, but the Collared Pratincoles, Black and Whiskered Terns, Glossy Ibis and ever-present Bee-eaters more than compensated us for that.

We had planned to visit El Acebuche again as our previous visit was a brief one at the end of a tiring day. Our hopes of any decent bird watching were quashed when we heard and then saw a couple of hundred school kids on the rampage. Their teacher apologised for the disturbance that they were making, but it was completely understandable. These kids were 12 – 13 year olds and were being let loose to view the wildlife of their very important region. All of them seemed to have something to say, and it appears to be a part of Spanish culture that you must talk very fast and very loud! George gained a new and quite novel nickname here when the children were asked by the teacher to make way for “Indiana.”
“Indiana George” has quite a ring to it and I think it is now time to replace his “Square window” tag and start on a whole new Crusade……..

A similar story was to be told at La Rocina – Bus loads of Kids and a few of Old Fogies to boot! We moved quickly further along the road to Palacio de Acebron, were there was at least an option to wander through the woods and eventually get away from the crowds. Species here included: Nightingales and Cetti’s Warblers, Booted Eagles, Black Kites and Griffon Vultures, Pied Flycatcher, Short-toed Treecreeper (and nest) Cuckoo, Stonechat, Woodchats and more Bee-eaters.
Back at Hinojos we made quite a splash in the pool and after a few beers and pistachios prepared for our evening meal. The ususal BBQ was to be had along with another portion of Paella, after which a count of 87 Ravens flying passed the Casa Donana to roost, was made.
Even the House Sparrows were looked after during our stay at the Casa Donana. We put a tray of water out in the garden for them to drink from or bathe in, and also a few scraps of bread.

29 April

Today we had decided to revisit some of the places that we had been to with John on Monday.
We wanted to get better views of the Penduline Tit, and also see if we could add a few extra species to our tally, as we felt sure that we had definitely missed some during the earlier tour.

Lou had decided to stay behind to get some pictures of the Iberian Magpies and other birds around the house and nearby woodland.

It took us 3 or 4 false starts trying to find the correct road around Villamanrique to the track leading to the Corredor Verde, but we eventually found the correct turning and were soon into “birding mode.” (noted for next time)
The El Chaparral forest near Villamanrique produced Hoopoe, Black Kite, Woodchat and Bee-eaters. The Laguna de Mancho Zurillo Had Mallard, Moorhens and Greylags on it, but nothing of real importance. Just around the corner and into the Corredor Verde we had a new species in the form of Helmeted Guinea Fowl. A pair of Black-shouldered Kites, Melodious Warblers, Booted Eagles, Red-rumped Swallows, Turtle Doves and a superb Oscellated Lizard were seen in this region. 1 ½ hours were spent waiting for decent views of Penduline Tit, but we were not as successful as on the previous trip, with a couple of very brief glimpses only.
We went to look along the Dehesa de Pilas and just along the road to the Jose Antonio Valverde Visitor Centre (JAV Centre) we found Stone Curlew, Black Stork, maybe a couple of hundred Spanish Sparrows, hundreds more Bee-eaters, Booted Eagles and White Storks. As we got back into the car and headed back towards the main road, Mark braked hard, called “snake” and reversed back so that we could see what we had almost squashed… and found a Three Toed Skink that can consider itself lucky to escape with its life! This fantastic little creature had the shortest little legs imaginable, these being virtually no use whatsoever as it slithered along the track before being carefully “guided” off of the road to safety.
We crossed paths with JB and his new group on several occasions during the day and were quite pleased to find out that they had not seen anything during the day that we had missed. The Canada De Rianzuela within the Dehesa de Abajo area held Glossy Ibis, 1 MUTE SWAN, Flamingos, Spoonbills, B-W Stilts, Pintails, Red-crested Pochards, Black Terns and several hundred waders, the bulk of them being Dunlin and Curlew Sandpipers, with a few Black-tailed Godwits and Redshank. We stopped here for lunch just as we had with JB and low and behold John was there with today’s group.
After comparing our picnic lunch with Johns (we had left over BBQ meat, Boiled eggs, Fish, Duck pate, and Cheese along with crisps and nuts, they had the luxury of quite cold beers. (The pasties on Monday were very nice though John!))
We moved off to the JAV centre, stopping whenever something appealed. A Little Owl showed itself nicely to us on the top of a garden wall. Purple Swamp Hens, Crested Larks, Grey and Purple Herons, Little and Cattle Egrets as well as Glossy Ibis’s were liberally scattered along the edges of the ditches and tracks.
At the JAV Centre we had a well-earned ice cream and found a few Teal to add to our list. Great-reed Warblers were singing away whilst we watched waders and terns feeding. Quite a number of Gull-billed and Whiskered Terns were observed, along with a few of Black. 6 Night Herons were “huddled” together in one small bush and a single Red Kite was seen flying overhead. On the return leg, we counted a flock of at least 17 Calandra Larks plus several other individuals, a Lesser Short-toed Lark – clearly a different species to its Greater relative and it was absolutely no problem to separate the two, what is the fuss about?
We pulled up at the spot where we had previously seen a Black (Monk) Vulture and were rewarded with a sighting of 2 of these huge creatures.
Back at the Casa we were treated to a Barn Owl screeching not to distantly along with another excellent BBQ.

30 April

Our final day, “Indiana George” “Pedro” and myself took a last walk into the woods nearby and saw once again Iberian Magpies, Sardinian Warblers, and Red-rumped Swallows, Woodchat, Serins and Bee-eaters.
Having packed our bags and had a quick tidy up we left the Villa (all very tightly packed into the car like Sardines) and made for an area North east of Seville to do a last bit of birdwatching and have our last picnic lunch. We found a great spot near a place called Villaverde, where a bridge crosses the River Guadilquivir.
As we drove down the track to the river we noticed hundreds of House Martins flying around, and what a surprise…. There could have been a thousand nests under the bridge itself, some occupied by House Sparrows, but the majority by House Martins and by far the largest colony I have ever seen.
Mark flushed a Little Bittern on the edge of the river bank – another of our target species that we had missed in the Donana region due to the lack of water and here we were all to get a couple of views of it flying over the river and then back across just before we left.
Also at this site a few fishermen were landing carp of about 1-2lbs every few minutes and Mark also got some very good views of Penduline Tit!
Lou “stalked” a Nightingale in an attempt to get a good picture; the only thing missing is a bit of “fill in” flash to highlight the eye.
A few warblers in one of the trees kept us busy for a few minutes, the opinion being that they were Olivaceous Warblers – another target specie that was only a “maybe” when seen previously during the trip. A Golden Oriole was calling and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming, and both were added to the day’s list as heard rather than seen.

Finally we stopped at a village called Carmona. Here we counted at least 10 Lesser Kestrels flying around a magnificent tower, as we sat in the middle of the village square drinking Coca Cola and watching the local youths “burning it up” around us on their Vespas and hairdryers.

Having made the best of a difficult last day we finally headed for the airport to return the hire car and to enjoy a bit of something to eat before the evening flight home. Last bird of the trip was House Martin at the airport. As with the outward journey, there was next to nobody on the flight, you could have any seat you desired. The flight was a bit bumpy over the middle of Spain and we landed ahead of schedule, having been delayed by 15 minutes at take off.
A quick pick up of bags and exit customs and we were on our way home.
I must admit to being half asleep on the journey and we seemed to be home in double quick time, or was it Lou’s driving?

So what about the bird of the trip?
There were several contenders:
Day 1 was really all about the Lesser Kestrels, but there were the also rans: Iberian Magpies, Bee-eaters, and Sardinian warbler.
Day 2 had Black-shouldered Kites, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Baillon’s Crake, Purple Swamp Hens, Black Vulture and Calandra Lark and “That Bird”
Day 3 was a choice between the Crested Coots, Egyptian Vulture or the Hundreds of Curlew Sandpipers in full breeding plumage.
Day 4 was Slender-billed Gull, Ortolan Bunting, Spectacled warbler or the Mole Cricket?
Day 5 was Probably Garganey or perhaps Hoopoe or Bee-eater?
Day 6 was Calandra Lark, Lesser Short-toed Lark, those Black Vultures or Lou’s Golden Oriole!
Day 7 was Little Bittern, Penduline Tit, Nightingale or House Martin.

But the majority decision for the overall bird of the trip is “That Bird” the Rock Thrush – a stunning bird seen for about 15 minutes - a long enough period to make it a truly memorable sighting, and Lou got a few half decent shots of it as well!
We finished the trip recording 163 bird species plus other Taxonomy of at least another XX.
It was “yours truly” who won the wager and all the “Filthy Lucre” and not before time either! Thanks very much folks – you really ought to believe me when I say this is what we can expect – possibly a little more and certainly no less! How about a €10 wager next time?

24/04/2005 Casa Donana

Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
Common Swift (Apus apus)
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)
Great Tit (Parus major)
Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus)
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyana)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
European Serin (Serinus serinus)
European Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

24/04/2005 Hinojos Woods

White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
European Honey-buzzard (Pernis apivorus)
Eurasian Griffon-vulture (Gyps fulvus)
Eurasian Collared-dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Swift (Apus apus)
Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis)
House Martin (Delichon urbica)
Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Raven (Corvus corax)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)

24/04/2005 Corombel Bajo La Palma del Condado

White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus)
Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)
Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
Common Sandpiper (Tringa hypoleucos)
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)
Common Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)
Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis)
Southern Grey Shrike (Lanus Southernus)
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Corn Bunting (Miliaria calandra)

24/04/2005 Niebla
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Eurasian Griffon-vulture (Gyps fulvus)
Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)
Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni)
Feral Pigeon (Columba livia 'feral')
Eurasian Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)

24/04/2005 El Campillo (NW Huelva)

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Cattle Egret (Bulbulcus ibis)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa)
Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)
European Turtle-dove (Streptopelia turtur)
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyana)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis [domesticus])

24/04/2005 El Acebuche

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot (Fulica atra)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)
Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
House Martin (Delichon urbica)
Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)
Common Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)
Great Tit (Parus major)
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyana)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
European Serin (Serinus serinus)
24Corn Bunting (Miliaria calandra)

24/04/2005 El Rocio

European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus)


25/04/2005 El Chaperal Forest

Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyana)

25/04/2005 Laguna Mancho Zurillo
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)
Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot (Fulica atra)
Common Sandpiper (Tringa hypoleucos)
Pin-tailed Sandgrouse (Pterocles alchata)
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
Common Swift (Apus apus)
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)

25/04/2005 Corredor Verde

Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus)
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)
Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)
Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti)
Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis)
Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)
Eurasian Penduline-tit (Remiz pendulinus)
Corn Bunting (Miliaria calandra)

25/04/2005 Dehesa de Pilas

Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)
Eurasian Griffon-vulture (Gyps fulvus)
Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis [domesticus])

25/04/2005 Isla Mayor Rice Fields

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Black-crowned Night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Collared Pratincole (Gareola pratincola)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Gull-billed Tern (Sterna nilotica)
Whiskered Tern (Childonias hybridus)
Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava flavissima)

25/04/2005 Canada de Rianzuela

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platelea leucorodia)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Greylag Goose (Anser anser)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Temminck's Stint (Calidris temminckii)
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)
Eurasian Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)

25/04/2005 Dehesa de Abajo
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)

25/04/2005 JAV Centre + Roads in and out
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
Great White Egret (Casmerodius albus)
Cattle Egret (Bulbulcus ibis)
Black-crowned Night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platelea leucorodia)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Red Kite (Milvus milvus)
Eurasian Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus)
Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Baillon's Crake (Porzana pusilla)
Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot (Fulica atra)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus)
Whiskered Tern (Childonias hybridus)
Black Tern (Childonias niger)
Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)
Little Owl (Athene noctua)
Calandra Lark (Melanocorypha calandra)
Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla [cinerea])
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
House Martin (Delichon urbica)
Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava flavissima)
Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)
Rufous-tailed Rock-thrush (Monticola saxatilis)
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Great Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)
Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina)
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Common Raven (Corvus corax)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Eurasian Linnet (Carduelis cannabina)


26/04/2005 Hinojos Woods

Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
Eurasian Scops-owl (Otus scops scops)
Tawny Owl (Strix aluco)
Long-eared Owl (Asio otus)
Red-necked Nightjar (Caprimulgus ruficollis)
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyana)
Common Raven (Corvus corax)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
European Serin (Serinus serinus)

26/04/2005 El Rocio

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
Cattle Egret (Bulbulcus ibis)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platelea leucorodia)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
Greylag Goose (Anser anser)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)
Western Marsh-harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Red-knobbed Coot (Fulica cristata)
Common Coot (Fulica atra)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Collared Pratincole (Gareola pratincola)
Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus)
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)
Common Sandpiper (Tringa hypoleucos)
Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Temminck's Stint (Calidris temminckii)
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus graellsii)
Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
Whiskered Tern (Childonias hybridus)
Black Tern (Childonias niger)
Feral Pigeon (Columba livia 'feral')
Eurasian Collared-dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
House Martin (Delichon urbica)
Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava flavissima)
Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti)
Eurasian Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Great Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
European Serin (Serinus serinus)
European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

26/04/2005 La Rocina

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platelea leucorodia)
Pallid Swift (Apus pallidus)
Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Savi's Warbler (Locustella luscinioides)
Melodious Warbler (Hippolais polyglotta)
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)
Firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus)
Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)
Crested Tit (Parus cristatus)
Short-toed Treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla)
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Common Raven (Corvus corax)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
European Serin (Serinus serinus)
European Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

27/04/2005 Casa Donana

Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
Red-necked Nightjar (Caprimulgus ruficollis)
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)

27/04/2005 Marismas de Odiel

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platelea leucorodia)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Western Marsh-harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot (Fulica atra)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)
Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus)
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Temminck's Stint (Calidris temminckii)
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus argentatus michahellis)
Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
Slender-billed Gull (Larus genei)
Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)
Little Tern (Sterna albifrons)
Common Swift (Apus apus)
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)
Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)
Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti)
Melodious Warbler (Hippolais polyglotta)
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)
Spectacled Warbler (Sylvia conspicillata)
Bonelli's Warbler (Phylloscopus bonelli)
Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)
Southern Grey Shrike (Lanus Southernus)
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyana)
Black-billed Magpie (Pica pica)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
European Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
Ortolan Bunting (Emberiza hortulana)
Corn Bunting (Miliaria calandra)

27/04/2005 Punta Umbria

Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
Red Knot (Calidris canutus)
Sanderling (Calidris alba)
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus argentatus michahellis)

27/04/2005 Laguna El Portil

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca)
Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
Common Coot (Fulica atra)
House Martin (Delichon urbica)
Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)

28/04/2005 Casa Donana
Common Raven (Corvus corax)

28/04/2005 El Acebuche

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyana)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

28/04/2005 El Rocio

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platelea leucorodia)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Garganey (Anas querquedula)
Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
Western Marsh-harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
Red-knobbed Coot (Fulica cristata)
Common Coot (Fulica atra)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Collared Pratincole (Gareola pratincola)
Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus)
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)
Common Sandpiper (Tringa hypoleucos)
Temminck's Stint (Calidris temminckii)
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus argentatus michahellis)
Whiskered Tern (Childonias hybridus)
Black Tern (Childonias niger)
Feral Pigeon (Columba livia 'feral')
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
House Martin (Delichon urbica)
Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava flavissima)
Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)
Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti)
Great Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Black-billed Magpie (Pica pica)
European Serin (Serinus serinus)
European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

28/04/2005 La Rocina

Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
Eurasian Griffon-vulture (Gyps fulvus)
Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
Common Swift (Apus apus)
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
House Martin (Delichon urbica)
Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)
Common Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti)
Eurasian Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)
Great Tit (Parus major)
Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus)
Short-toed Treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla)
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
Corn Bunting (Miliaria calandra)

29/04/2005 Laguna Mancho Zurillo

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Greylag Goose (Anser anser)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot (Fulica atra)
Common Swift (Apus apus)
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyana)
Common Raven (Corvus corax)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

29/04/2005 Corredor Verde

Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus)
Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris)
European Turtle-dove (Streptopelia turtur)
Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)
House Martin (Delichon urbica)
Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti)
Melodious Warbler (Hippolais polyglotta)
Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
European Serin (Serinus serinus)
29/04/2005Corredor Verde
Corn Bunting (Miliaria calandra)

29/04/2005 Dehesa de Abajo

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platelea leucorodia)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Western Marsh-harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot (Fulica atra)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Black Tern (Childonias niger)
Eurasian Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)

29/04/2005 JAV Centre + Roads in and out

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
Cattle Egret (Bulbulcus ibis)
Black-crowned Night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platelea leucorodia)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Common Teal [ssp] (Anas crecca)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Red Kite (Milvus milvus)
Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
Eurasian Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus)
Western Marsh-harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus)
Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Coot (Fulica atra)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Stone-curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Gull-billed Tern (Sterna nilotica)
Whiskered Tern (Childonias hybridus)
Black Tern (Childonias niger)
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Calandra Lark (Melanocorypha calandra)
Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla [cinerea])
Lesser Short-toed Lark (Calandrella rufescens)
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava flavissima)
Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)
Great Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis [domesticus])
European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
Eurasian Linnet (Carduelis cannabina)

30/04/2005 Hinojos Woods

Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
Eurasian Collared-dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
Common Swift (Apus apus)
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)
Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)
Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)
Great Tit (Parus major)
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Azure-winged Magpie (Cyanopica cyana)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
European Serin (Serinus serinus)
European Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

30/04/2005 Villaverde

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)
Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa)
Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)
Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)
House Martin (Delichon urbica)
Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)
Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus)
European Serin (Serinus serinus)
European Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)


30/04/2005 Carmona

Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni)

Moths
There were quite a few moths taken at the Casa Donana, but at least 50% were not identified, as they were not in either of our Identification guides.
Those that were identified reasonably positively were:
Stout Dart Clay Triple Lines Scoparia pyralella Lace Border Grey Scalloped Bar The Delicate
Dark Swordgrass Heart and Dart Bee Moth Large Yellow Underwing Yellow Belle Pearly Underwing
Striped Hawkmoth


Butterflies:
Small Copper Marbled White Meadow Brown Clouded Yellow Dappled White Cleopatra

Dragonflies:
Ruddy Darter Lesser Emperor

Other animals & flora:
Three Toed Skink Oscellated Lizard Hare
Rabbit Egyptian Mongoose Mole Cricket
Fallow deer Locust Dung Beetle sp.

Acknowledgements:

First I would like to give my thanks to the Spanish people on the Stand at the British Birdfair at Rutland water in 2004 for their information about the Coto Donana, and for the free maps and their enthusiasm for the birdwatching possibilities in their Country.

The second thank-you must go to John Butler and his wife Rebecca, for providing us with a great day trip into the heart of the Donana region and a very good picnic lunch. We probably spent several hours over the weeks leading up to the trip looking at Johns website with baited breath as each new trip report was posted, becoming more keen as the count down to the trip began.
John will arrange for your convenience: personally guided tours, accommodation in the Donana region, and if you require he will collect you from the Airport.


And finally I can say without any fear of contradiction, that we all had what can only be described as another great experience courtesy of “Oscars Tours”

Where are we going to go next time folks?

Oscar

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