Fatbirder's Top 500 Birding Websites  


The FatBirder's Nest

FatBirder Web Ring

Prev Site

Random Site

Next Site

Linking Birders Worldwide Join

23rd April. Today´s tour included Ann and Roland Hodgkinson from the UK and Gunilla Bjorkman and her husband Rolf from Sweden.
Our first birding stop was at the Puente de Ajolí, near El Rocío, where we saw several Nightingales, Blackcaps, Serins, Woodchat Shrikes, Barn Swallows, White Storks, Black Kites, a Montagu´s Harrier, Black-billed and Iberian Magpies and 2 Great Spotted Cuckoos.
We then visited the Corredor Verde, where there were Hoopoes, Great Tits, Crested Larks, Corn Buntings, Bee-eaters, Zitting Cisticolas, Common and Pallid Swifts, Goldfinches, Red-rumped Swallows, Kestrels, a Booted Eagle and Black-shouldered Kites.
As we crossed the Entremuros, into the Isla Mayor region, we saw a Southern Grey Shrike, Jackdaws, Spoonbills, Little and Cattle Egrets and Black-crowned Night Herons.
There were plenty of birds to look at in the northern marshes and we found Greater Flamingos, Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, Common and Wood Sandpipers, Redshanks, Greenshanks, Black-tailed Godwits, Ruff, Kentish Plover, Purple Swamp-hens, Glossy Ibis, 3 Little Bitterns, Gadwalls, Garganeys, Common and Red-crested Pochards, White-headed Ducks, Great Crested, Black-necked and Little Grebes, a Red-knobbed Coot, Marsh Harriers, Ravens, Short-toed Eagles, Great Reed Warblers, a Savi´s Warbler, a Sedge Warbler, Greater and Lesser Short-toed Larks, Calandra Larks, a Turtle Dove, a Bonelli´s Warbler and Yellow Wagtails.

21st April. My clients today were George and Barbara Fisher from Crewe and Roger Morgan and his friends John and Kevin.
We began the birding at the Puente de Ajolí, where a very obliging Nightingale gave us a prolonged view as it sat on a bare branch and sang for about 5 minutes. We also recorded Goldfinches, Crested Larks, Serins, Barn Swallows, Jackdaws, Black Kites a Red-legged Partridge and White Storks.
A visit to the Corredor Verde produced 4 Black-shouldered Kites, Booted Eagles, 2 Golden Orioles, Hoopoes, Iberian Magpies, Woodchat Shrikes, an Iberian Chiffchaff, Tree Sparrows, Corn Buntings, Zitting Cisticolas, Red-rumped Swallows, Collared Pratincoles a Helmeted Guineafowl and Common Swifts.
Bee-eaters, Kestrels, Spoonbills and 9 flying Pin-tailed Sandgrouse were recorded at the Dehesa de Pilas.
In the northern marshes, we saw Greater Flamingos, Purple, Grey, Squacco and Black-crowned Night Herons, Little Bitterns, Great Crested, Black-necked and Little Grebes, White-headed Ducks, Common and Red-crested Pochards, Glossy Ibis, Little, Cattle and Great White Egrets, Purple Swamp-hens, Whiskered Terns, Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, Curlew Sandpipers, Greenshanks, Common and Spotted Redshanks, Black-tailed Godwits, Common Snipe, Dunlins, Lapwings, Ringed Plovers, Great Reed Warblers, Yellow Wagtails, Short-toed Eagles and a Peregine Falcon.

20th April. Today was the last day of the short packaged birding holiday for Mo Sibbons and Colin Lewisohn. I had to drive Colin to Faro airport at 11.00hrs to catch his flight back to Leeds, but Mo had a later flight to Stanstead, which allowed her and I to enjoy a further 6 hours of birding in Portugal.
We visited the Ría Formosa and the Lago Sao Laurenco at the Quinta do Lago and on the river mudbanks we saw Ringed, Kentish and Grey Plovers, Sanderlings, Dunlins, Turnstones, Whimbrels, Little Terns, a Caspian Tern, Grey Herons and a Purple Heron. On the lagoon and in the nearby forests we found Purple Swamp-hens, Little Egrets, Common and Red-crested Pochards, Gadwalls, Little and Great Crested Grebes, Hoopoes, Golden Orioles, Iberian Magpies, Yellow Wagtails, Sardinian Warblers, Crested Larks, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Serins and a Mistle Thrush.
We also saw a “strange” duck on the lagoon that I could not immediately identify, but after conferring with our field guides we were able to ascertain that it was an American Wigeon.
In the afternoon, we drove to Péra marshes and were pleased to find that there was plenty of water in the lagoon. We recorded Spoonbills, Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Cattle Egrets, Ruff, Curlew Sandpipers, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshanks, Greenshanks, Shovelers, Whiskered Terns and Kestrels. The star bird of the day was a Lesser Flamingo that was seen in amongst a small group of Greater Flamingos.
Altogether, 128 species were recorded during the tour, including the two rarities highlighted above.

19th April. This was day four for Mo and Colin, who are on one of my short birding-break package holidays. Today, they were joined by John and Gillian Jowers, who were also with us on Tuesday and David Dunstan and his friend Ian from Aberdeen.
The first site that we visited was the Puente de Ajolí at El Rocío and immediately got good views of a Cetti´s Warbler and some Bee-eaters. This was quickly followed by Tree Sparrows, Stonechats, Black-billed Magpies, Crested Larks, Great Tits, Serins, Goldfinches and a Nightingale.
David, Ian, John and Gillian were particularly keen to see Black-shouldered Kites, so I drove to the territory of a family that had bred near the Vado de Quema, in the Corredor Verde. We managed to see 3 of the birds and also found Zitting Cisticolas, Melodious Warblers, Iberian Magpies, Little Owls, Hoopoes, Golden Orioles, a Common Cuckoo, Corn Buntings, Common and Pallid Swifts, Red-rumped Swallows, White Storks, Ravens, Black Kites, Kestrels, Buzzards and Woodchat Shrikes.
Our next stop was at the Laguna de San Lázaro, near Villamanrique. Here, there were Little Grebes, Little Egrets, Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Blue Tits, Jackdaws and Sardinian Warblers.
In the afternoon, we drove out through the Partido de Resina to the northern marshes area. The first stop of interest was at the northern end of the Caño de Guadiamar, where a flock of about 60 Griffon Vultures caught our eye. Whilst watching these, we also saw Montagu´s Harriers, Marsh Harriers, Greater Flamingos, Purple Herons, a Red Kite, a Booted Eagle, Cattle Egrets, Great Crested Grebes, Red-crested Pochards, Whiskered Terns, a Barn Owl and Lesser Short-toed Larks.
At the southern end of the Caño de Guadiamar there were 3 Little Bitterns, Gadwalls, Garganeys, 2 male White-headed Ducks, Black-necked Grebes, Squacco Herons, Gull-billed Terns, Great Reed Warblers, a Savi´s Warbler, Barn Swallows, Yellow Wagtails and a Great White Egret.
We then visited the JAV centre, where the the large, mixed breeding colony of Little and Cattle Egrets, Squacco, Purple and Black-crowned Night Herons, Purple Swamp-hens and Glossy Ibis is situated. There are now about 1,000 pairs of birds nesting in an area the size of about 3 football pitches and it is one of the most spectacular sights you could wish to see.
As we were leaving the marshes, we stopped at a field that was flooded with shallow water and saw Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Lapwings, Kentish and Ringed Plovers, Dunlins, Redshanks, Greenshanks, and Curlew Sandpipers. In the fields nearby and on the dirt road, we also found Short-toed Eagles, Greater Short-toed Larks and Calandra Larks.

18th April. This was Mo and Colin´s 3rd day with me and today they were joined by a group of four other birders led by John Hill.
Our first stop was at the Laguna de Mancho Zurillo in the Corredor Verde and on the way there we saw Iberian Magpies, Hoopoes, Woodchat Shrikes, Serins and a Little Owl. At the lagoon we saw more of each of the above species, plus Tree Sparrows, Crested Larks, Common Sandpipers, Corn Buntings, Zitting Cisticolas, Common Swifts, Barn Swallows, a Golden Oriole and White Storks.
We then visited the Vado de Quema to see the family of Black-shouldered Kites that have their territory there. Both adults and all three of the juveniles were seen, along with 2 Montagu´s Harriers, Ravens, Buzzards, Kestrels and Booted Eagles.
Our next stop was at the “Turf farm”, where about 40 Collared Pratincoles and several Ringed Plovers were seen. Across the road, at the Dehesa de Pilas, there were Spanish Sparrows, Black Kites, Spoonbills, Black Storks, Little Egrets and Bee-eaters.
The rest of the day was spent in the northern marshes region, where we found 4 Short-toed Eagles, Purple Swamp-hens, Glossy Ibis, Squacco, Grey, Purple and Black-crowned Night Herons, 5 Little Bitterns, Cattle Egrets, a Great White Egret, Avocets, Greater Flamingos, Greenshanks, Spotted Redshanks, Ringed Plovers, Dunlins, Lapwings, Black-winged Stilts, Whiskered, Black and Gull-billed Terns, 3 Slender-billed Gulls, Common and Red-crested Pochards, Shovelers, Gadwalls, Garganeys, White-headed Ducks, Great Crested, Little and Black-necked Grebes, Sedge, Savi´s, Subalpine and Great Reed Warblers and a Common Cuckoo.

17th. April. Today was the second day of birding for Mo Sibbons and Colin Lewisohn, who are enjoying a short birding break with me. They were joined by John and Gillian Jowers for today´s tour and what a day it turned out to be.
We began by visiting the castle at Niebla, to see the Lesser Kestrels and about 25 were present and put on a great aerobatic display for us. Also on show were Pallid and Common Swifts, Spotless Starlings and White Storks.
Our next stop was at the marshes of the Río Piedras. Here we saw Little and Caspian Terns, Whimbrels, Ringed, Kentish and Grey Plovers, Turnstones, Redshanks, Dunlins, Sanderlings, Little and Cattle Egrets, Grey Herons and Cormorants. A small number of Iberian Magpies and several Hoopoes were also seen.
A quick stop at the Laguna El Portil produced Common and Red-crested Pochards, Gadwalls, Black-winged Stilts, Great Crested and Little Grebes and a couple of Black Terns. I also found 4 Chameleons in the Broom bushes beside the observation platform.
We then drove to the Marismas del Odiel and had cracking views of the Red-knobbed Coots that have bred on the lagoon by the La Caletilla restaurant. Both adults were busy feeding their 4 week-old chicks, just a few metres from us.
As we drove towards the marshes, we saw Greenshanks, Spoonbills, a Southern Grey Shrike, Ravens and both Marsh and Montagu´s Harriers.
There was a strong wind blowing from the north-east and as we approached the area where I usually find the resting gulls and terns, I noticed quite a few Northern Wheatears at the side of the road. I commented to the group that the wind direction and the presence of the wheatears could be a good indicator for a "fall" of migrants in the vegetated area a kilometre ahead and how prophetic this turned out to be. In the next couple of hours we saw 4 Golden Orioles, 100+ Woodchat Shrikes, 100+ Northern Wheatears, 15+ Orphean Warblers, 10+ Melodious Warblers, 30+ Common Redstart males (plus females), 10+ Subalpine Warblers, 15+ Whitethroats, Hoopoes, Bee-eaters, 2 Pied Flycatchers, a Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin and 4 Ortolan Buntings.

16th April. This morning, I drove to Faro (Portugal) airport to collect Mo Sibbons from Cambridge and her friend Colin Lewisohn from Leeds. The two are here on one of my short 5-day, 4-night packages and over the next few days will be visiting all of the best birding sites in the Doñana region.
Being so close, it made sense to visit the Ría Formosa marshes, just behind Faro airport and within 15 minutes of meeting Mo and Colin from their plane we were watching Kentish and Grey Plovers, Dunlins, Little Stints, Redshanks, Greenshanks, Turnstones, Whimbrels, Bar-tailed Godwits, Black-winged Stilts, Cormorants, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, White Storks, Woodchat Shrikes, Whinchats, Spotted Flycatchers, Crested Larks, Spotless Starlings, Barn Swallows, Zitting Cisticolas, Corn Buntings and Sardinian Warblers.
After a couple of hours, it was time to drive towards Spain, but we stopped at the Castro Marim nature reserve, right on the Portuguese side of the border, to have our picnic lunch and to explore the site. Here we found Common and Red-crested Pochards, Gadwalls, 50+ Spoonbills, Little and Cattle Egrets, Green Sandpipers, Avocets, Stonechats, Bee-eaters, Willow Warblers, Marsh Harriers, Common Kestrels, a Booted Eagle and Little Terns. I was lucky enough to see a Common Quail walk into some scrub beside the track, before disappearing forever.
On the way from the border to the hostal in Hinojos, we stopped overlooking some open land near Rociana and saw Montagu´s Harriers, Lesser Kestrels, Black Kites and Ravens.

14th April. My tour today was with Graham and Sue Whitehead from Skipton in Yorkshire and David and Janet Benwell from Hull, also in Yorkshire. Our first stop was at the Laguna de Mancho Zurillo, where we saw Hoopoes, Iberian Magpies, Bee-eaters, Woodchat Shrikes, Sardinian Warblers, Tree Sparrows, Crested Larks, a Little Owl, White Storks, Cattle Egrets, Common Sandpipers and Booted Eagles.
We then drove in to the Corredor Verde and watched a family of 5 Black-shouldered Kites (2 Adults & 3 Juvs) performing for about 20 minutes. There were also Black Kites, Buzzards, Kestrels, Ravens, Corn Buntings, Zitting Cisticolas, Serins, Greenfinches and Goldfinches present in the area.
Our next stop was at the Dehesa de Pilas, where we found 2 Stone Curlews, 7 Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Spanish Sparrows, Yellow Wagtails, Greater Short-toed Larks, Calandra Larks, Spoonbills and 2 Black Storks.
We had our picnic lunch at the Dehesa de Abajo and added Common and Red-crested Pochards, Great Crested, Black-necked and Little Grebes, Moorhens and Jackdaws to our list.
We spent the afternoon in the northern marshes, finding Purple Swamp-hens, Little Egrets, 2 Great White Egrets, Greater Flamingos, Purple, Squacco and Black-crowned Night Herons, Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits, Glossy Ibis, Lapwings, Ringed Plovers, Greenshanks, Shovelers, Gadwalls, Garganeys, 2 White-headed Ducks, Marsh Harriers, Griffon Vultures, Sand Martins, Barn Swallows, Reed and Great Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers and 2 Great Spotted Cuckoos.

10th, 11th & 12th April. This was a three day trip to Tarifa with Jim and Catherine Shirtcliffe to watch the raptor migration. Rebecca also joined us on this trip. After collecting the couple from their hostal on the 10th, we made for the site at Las Doblas, near Sanlúcar la Mayor. Here we found Reed and Cetti´s Warblers, Common Waxbills, Nightingales, Crested Larks, Spotless Starlings, Corn Buntings, Serins, Pallid Swifts, Sand Martins, Little-ringed Plovers, a Common Cuckoo, Iberian Magpies, a Montagu´s Harrier, Purple Herons, White Storks and Little Egrets.
We then headed for the Tarifa region, stopping en-route at the Laguna de Medina, but apart from finding Common and Red-crested Pochards, Coots and Sardinian Warblers, there were no new birds to be seen.
Once we arrived at our hotel near Tarifa we unloaded our luggage and set off for the Río Palmones in Algeciras bay. A low tide meant plenty of gulls and waders were feeding or resting on the exposed mudflats and we saw Sandwich, Whiskered and Caspian Terns, Audouin´s, Yellow-legged, Lesser Black-backed, Black-headed and 4 Slender-billed Gulls, Whimbrels, Turnstones, Ringed and Kentish Plovers, Dunlins, Sanderlings, Redshanks, Greenshanks, Grey Herons, Cattle Egrets and Marsh Harriers.
The next morning (the 11th), there was a very stong wind blowing from the north-east, so we set off for Bolonia, hoping that any migrating raptors would be blown in that direction. However, persistent rain showers throughout the day seemed to stop all raptor migration.
On the beach at Bolonia and out to sea, we managed to find most of the waders seen yesterday, plus Gannets and a solitary shearwater. Elsewhere, there were Griffon Vultures, Kestrels, Montagu´s Harriers, Greenfinches, Zitting Cisticolas, Sardinian Warblers and White Wagtails.
Our next stop was at Barbate, but the weather was still against us and we only managed to add Caspian Terns, Sandwich Terns, Audouin´s Gulls, Black-winged Stilts, Ringed, Kentish and Grey Plovers, Redshanks, White Storks, Little Egrets and Cormorants to our daily list.
La Janda was almost a wash-out, due to rain and the only new birds seen there were Green Sandpipers, Jackdaws, Ravens, Red-legged Partridges and Pheasants.
As we were driving back toward Tarifa at 5.30pm, the weather finally broke and although there was still a very strong wind, the sun came out. From Los Lances beach, we searched for any raptor movement, but I think that the birds had sensibly decided to stay on the Moroccan side of the water for the day. However, we took advantage of the better weather and walked along the new boardwalk of the Los Lances Natural Park. This is a great facility and offers excellent birding opportunities. We were fortunate enough to find a small flock of about 20 Collared Pratincoles, Common Sandpipers, a Hoopoe, Yellow Wagtails, Northern Wheatears, Goldfinches, Serins, Greater Short-toed Larks, Pallid and Common Swifts, Whiskered Tern and 2 Common Terns.
On the 12th, we woke up to fairly clear skies and a gentle breeze blowing to the north-east. Ideal conditions for raptor migration and I knew the best spot to see any movement under these conditions would be at Punta Carnero or Punta Secreta, so we headed straight to that area. We arrived at about 09.20 and stopped at Punta Carnero. No raptor movement yet, so we set about finding passerines in the surrounding scrubland. This proved productive, with 2 Wrens, 2 Nightingales, numerous Blackcaps and Sardinian Warblers, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Zitting Cisticolas and Common Kestrels.
I decided that as the weather was warming up, the raptors would soon start moving and it would be better to move on to the Punta Secreta, where we would have a better chance of spotting the birds crossing from Africa. For about 20 minutes, there was no movement, and then, a distant group of about 20 birds were seen leaving the African coast. We were in the perfect position and within 5 minutes they were flying directly over our heads, just 20 - 30 metres above us. In this group there were mainly Black Kites, but 2 Marsh Harriers were also present. For the next 3 hours there was a constant stream of birds passing overhead, including approximately 600 Black Kites, 100+ Booted Eagles, 150+ Griffon Vultures, 40+ Short-toed Eagles, 4 Sparrowhawks, 2 Montagu´s Harriers, 26 Black Storks, 150+ White Storks, Barn Swallows, Common Swifts and Bee-eaters. We also saw 2 European Storm Petrels, Sandwich Terns, Gannets and Audouin´s Gulls.
By 2pm, the wind had changed completely. It was now a strong wind blowing towards the south-east and I knew that the stream of birds would either dry up, or the birds would be crossing way out of our sight, and this proved to be the point. Therefore, we had our lunch in a nearby restaurant and then made our way back to Doñana, happy at having had such a spectacular morning´s birding.

9th April. Today´s tour was with Jim and Catherine Shirtcliffe from Chelmsford and Rex and Dilys Cranstone from Nottingham. The first stop on the itinerary was the Corredor Verde, but en-route we saw Iberian Magpies, Hoopoes, Crested Larks, Greenfinches and Serins. In the Corredor Verde there were at least 7 Black-shouldered Kites, including 4 juveniles from one nest, a testimony to how well the B-s Kites have colonized this area since the first pair bred here in 2002. As we were watching the kites we had tremendous views of a pair (M & F) Montagu´s Harriers performing their aerial courtship dance just 100 metres away. A Common Buzzard, Common Kestrels, a Booted Eagle and numerous Black Kites were also seen, along with Zitting Cisticolas, Blackcaps, Corn Buntings, White Storks, Sardinian Warblers and a Common Cuckoo.
Our next stop was at the Dehesa de Pilas, where a Spotted Eagle, Bee-eaters, Northern Wheatears, Woodchat Shrikes, Calandra Larks, Spanish Sparrows, Black Storks, Spoonbills, Black-winged Stilts and 13 Pintailed Sandgrouse were seen.
At the Entremuros we had cracking views of Little Egrets, Grey Herons, a Squacco Heron and a couple of Black-crowned Night Herons, whilst at the Cañada de Rianzuela there were Ravens, Common and Red-crested Pochards, Greylag Geese, and Black-necked Grebes.
After a picnic lunch, we visited the Caño de Guadiamar, finding a Red-knobbed Coot, Purple Herons, Cattle Egrets, Purple Swamp-hens, a Great White Egret, Greater Flamingos, Little Grebes and Glossy Ibis.
Elsewhere in the northern marsh area we saw Sedge Warblers, Great Reed Warblers, White and Yellow Wagtails, Greater Short-toed Larks, Sand Martins, Red-rumped Swallows, Whiskered and Gull-billed Terns, Marsh Harriers, Short-toed Eagles, Griffon Vultures, Avocets, Greenshanks, Common Sandpipers, Spotted Redshanks, Ringed Plovers, Dunlins, Shovelers, Gadwalls and Garganeys.

DONANA - EXTREMADURA PACKAGED TOUR, 1st - 7th OF APRIL 2007. This was another 8-day packaged birding tour arranged for Wade and Karen Harris from Ontario, Canada.
The couple were on my previous packaged tour of Doñana/Tarifa last week, with a group of 4 others, but also wanted to experience the steppe and mountain species of Spain, so they had booked 2 different tours.

1st April. On the first day, we visited the Marismas del Odiel and several sites to the west of the Doñana region, as the couple wanted to catch up on some of the waders that were missed during the previous week.
We stopped first at Niebla castle, where Lesser Kestrels, Pallid Swifts and White Storks were the main attraction.
We then drove to Odiel Marshes and at our first stop we saw the nesting Red-knobbed Coots, Shovelers, Gadwalls, Southern Grey Shrikes, Montagu´s Harriers, Yellow Wagtails, Zitting Cisticolas and Black-billed Magpies.
A little further on we visited a bird hide and found Spoonbills, Grey Herons, Little Egrets, Grey and Ringed Plovers, Little Stints, Redshanks and Yellow-legged Gulls.
At the old salinas there were Kentish Plovers, Spotted Redshanks, Greenshanks and Black-winged Stilts.
Our next stop produced Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Audouin´s Gulls, Little, Sandwich and Caspian Terns, Cormorants, Oystercatchers, Curlews, Whimbrels, Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Dunlins, Curlew Sandpipers, Kentish Plovers, Sanderlings, Turnstones, Red Knots and Cormorants.
In the dry areas of the marshes we saw Crested Larks, Stonechats, Black-eared Wheatears, Hoopoes and Marsh Harriers.
We then moved on to the Estero de Domingo Rubio and found Common Waxbills, Cetti´s Warblers, Goldfinches, Serins, Greenfinches and Cattle Egrets.
At the Laguna Primera de Palos we added Common and Red-crested Pochards, Squacco Herons and Purple Swamp-hens to our list.
We ended the day at El Rocío marshes and found Greater Flamingos, Glossy Ibis, Meadow Pipits, Yellow Wagtails and Black Kites.

2nd April. Today, Wade and Karen were joined by Kurt and Michelle Bossert from Switzerland, who were sharing the day as a day tour. We began at the Puente de Ajolí, near the Arroyo de Partido, where we found Green Sandpipers, Gadwalls, Common Kestrels, Black Kites, Jackdaws, White Storks, Chaffinches, Serins, Great Tits, Cetti´s Warblers, Blackcaps, a Garden Warbler, Tree Sparrows, Black-billed Magpies and at least 5 Great Spotted Cuckoos.
A quick visit to the Puente de Canaliega produced a nesting pir of Penduline Tits, a singing Savi´s Warbler, Blue Tits, Barn Swallows, Sand Martins, Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Whiskered Terns.
Our next stop was at the Corredor Verde, where we saw Booted Eagles, Marsh Harriers, Ravens, Woodchat Shrikes, Hoopoes, Iberian Magpies, Bee-eaters, Red-rumped Swallows, Willow Warblers and several Black-shouldered Kites.
We then drove to the Dehesa de Pilas, where I finally managed to find 8 Pintailed Sandgrouse, one of the species most sought after by all four of the group. Spoonbills, Cattle Egrets, Grey Herons, Corn Buntings, Crested and Calandra Larks and a Red Kite were also found in that area.
At the Cañada de Rianzuela there were Great Crested and Black-necked Grebes, Cattle Egrets, Shovelers, Red-crested Pochards, Little Owls, a Southern Grey Shrike and Black-winged Stilts.
We spent the afternoon in the northern marshes and found a Barn Owl, Squacco, Purple and Black-crowned Night Herons, a Great White Egret, Avocets, Redshanks, Greenshanks, Ringed Plovers, Greater Flamingos, Spoonbills, Purple Swamp-hens, Glossy Ibis, Collared Pratincoles, Marsh Harriers, Montagu´s Harriers, Short-toed Eagles, Griffon Vultures, Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers, Common Redstarts and Gull-billed Terns.

3rd April. This was the last full day in Doñana for Wade and Karen and in the morning we visited the Las Gayules area and the road to the Palacio de Acebrón, looking for scrubland and forest birds. Both Sardinian and Dartford Warblers were seen in good numbers and Zitting Cisticolas, Stonechats, Short-toed Treecreepers, Bee-eaters, Black-eared and Northern Wheatears, Tree Sparrows, House Martins, Crested Larks, Corn Buntings, Barn Swallows, Common Buzzards, Booted Eagles, a Short-toed Eagle, Kestrels and Red-legged Partridges were also recorded.
Previous to this, we had stopped in Hinojos forest and had excellent views of Green Woodpeckers.
We had our picnic lunch at El Acebuche, accompanied by a flock of Iberian Magpies, House Sparrows and a couple of Blue Tits. In the park, we found a pair of Red-knobbed Coots with 3 chicks, Purple and Grey Herons, White Storks, Spoonbills, Little and Cattle Egrets, Great Crested and Little Grebes, Red-rumped Swallows, Woodchat Shrikes, Reed Warblers, Black Redstarts and a Spotted Crake.

4th April. Today, we were driving up to Extremadura for the second part of the tour and we were joined by my wife Rebecca. On the way from Doñana we stopped at the Las Doblas site near Sanlúcar la Mayor. Here we saw Cetti´s and Reed Warblers, Blackcaps, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Serins, Chaffinches, Pallid Swifts, Sand Martins, Barn and Red-rumped Swallows, Kingfishers, Purple Herons, Little Egrets, a Little Bittern, a Common Cuckoo, Iberian Magpies, Woodchat Shrikes, Bee-eaters, White Wagtails, Crested Larks, a Coal Tit, Corn Buntings, Booted Eagles, Buzzards, Kestrels and 3 Black-shouldered Kites.
Once we had arrived in the Extremadura area, we took a short drive across part of the Llanos de Caceres. Here we found Southern Grey Shrikes, Calandra Larks, Ravens, Black and Griffon Vultures, Red-legged Partidges and a beautifully plumaged male Little Bustard, the first of many we were to see over the next 3 days.
Before driving to our hotel in Trujillo, we stopped at the bridge over the Río Almonte and had great views of Crag Martins and Alpine Swifts.

5th April. The whole day was spent visiting the sites in and around the Monfragüe National Park. Our first stop was at the Arroyo de la Vid, where Long-tailed Tits, Blackcaps, Chaffinches, a Song Thrush, Iberian Magpies, Serins, Hoopoes and Subalpine Warblers were seen.
We walked up to the Castillo de Monfragüe and found Red-billed Choughs, Pallid Swifts, Crag Martins, Great Tits, Sardinian Warblers and both Black and Griffon Vultures.
At the Peña Falcon we saw Egyptian Vultures, Black Storks, Blue Rock Thrushes, Black Redstarts, Spotless Starlings and Blue Tits.
We stopped at a well-known nesting site for Bonelli´s Eagles near Villareal de San Carlos and saw a pair of the eagles circling overhead.
At the Tajandilla viewpoint we saw more of each species of vulture, a Short-toed Eagle, Black Kites, Ravens, a Black-eared Wheatear and a Subalpine Warbler.
The Portillo de Tietar produced good views of an Eagle Owl beside its nest, with two young owlets. A pair of Rock Buntings came to within a few metres of us and then I spotted a soaring Spanish Imperial Eagle, which passed about 40 metres overhead and circled around us for almost 5 minutes.

6th April. The morning was spent on the Belen plains, near Trujillo and provided us with about 30 Great Bustards. Many of the males were in their finest breeding plumage and were displaying to the females by fluffing up their feathers, making themselves look like large white puffballs.
Several single male Little Bustards in breeding plumage were also seen very well and a flock of about 30 were seen flying about 500 metres from us. We also recorded numerous Great Spotted Cuckoos, Calandra, Crested and Thekla Larks, Red-legged Partridges, Southern Grey Shrikes, Woodchat Shrikes, Red and Black Kites, Booted Eagles, Lesser Kestrels, Common Kestrels, Ravens, Black and Griffon Vultures, Corn Buntings, Pallid Swifts, Spanish Sparrows and Chiffchaffs.
In the afternoon we drove along the road from near Trujillo to Monroy. The weather was cold and windy, so stopping along the way was somewhat uncomfortable. However, we managed to find over a dozen Montagu´s Harriers, 2 Great Spotted Cuckoos, 2 Common Cuckoos, Black-eared and Northern Wheatears, White Storks, Cattle Egrets, Crag Martins, Pallid Swifts, White Wagtails, Little-ringed Plovers and a flock of over 100 Griffon Vultures in a field. We had earlier seen 30 or so Griffons at a lamb´s carcase, with Ravens, Black Kites, Red Kites and a female Hen Harrier.
We returned to Trujillo via the Llanos de Caceres, finding Alpine Swifts, Bee-eaters, a group of 11 Little Bustards, a flock of about 60 Pintailed Sandgrouse, Spanish Sparrows, 4 Little Owls and a few Great Bustards.

7th April. The last morning of the tour was spent on the plains near Santa Marta de Magascar and the Llanos de Caceres. At our first stop we found Black-winged Stilts, Lapwings, Green Sandpipers, Spotless Starlings, Ravens, Jackdaws and several Montagu´s Harriers. We stopped again within 2 kms and saw 8 Pintailed Sandgrouse, Black and Griffon Vultures, Spanish Sparrows, Southern Grey Shrikes, Corn Buntings, Thekla Larks, Red-legged Partridges, Stone Curlews, Black Storks and a Golden Eagle. The eagle completed the full set of 5 Spanish eagles for us.
As we neared the end of the track across the plains, I saw two birds take off and land about 150 metres away. Quickly getting out of the vehicle and setting up the telescopes revealed the birds we had spent most of the morning looking for, Black-bellied Sandgrouse. We had quite good views of at least 7, including 2 males in fine plumage, whilst a flock of about 30 flew towards us before landing behind a hillside, out of sight.
The sandgrouse brought the two-week total of birds seen by Wade and Karen to 177 species, of which almost 150 were “lifers” for them.