Fatbirder's Top 500 Birding Websites  
 


 

The FatBirder's Nest

FatBirder Web Ring

Prev Site

Random Site

Next Site

Linking Birders Worldwide Join
TRIP REPORTS. NOVEMBER 2005.

1st November. My first tour of the month was with Richard and Elizabeth Maddock from Wilmslow, Cheshire and a group of 10 birders from the Sotogrande area (Costa del Sol) led by David Hinton. We began at the Corredor Verde where 3 Hoopoes and a flock of Iberian Magpies put on a fine display for us. Several large flocks of Goldfinches were seen, with lesser numbers of Greenfinches and Serins. Numerous Southern Grey Shrikes and at least 7 Black-shouldered Kites showed well at various places along the route and Booted Eagles, Red Kites, Marsh Harriers, Buzzards, Kestrels, a Little Owl and an Osprey were also seen.
At the Lagunas de Mancho Zurillo there were Common Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Cormorants, Great Crested Grebes, Grey Herons and Little Egrets. Not far from the lagoons I stopped alongside the Black-crowned Night Heron colony and at least 80 birds were seen.
As we drove along the Río Guadiamar we saw Stonechats, Crested and Woodlarks and Black Redstarts.
We moved on to the Isla Mayor and found White Storks, Little Egrets, Greater Flamingos, Glossy Ibis, Avocets and thousands of Black-winged Stilts.
In the afternoon we visited the José Antonio Valverde Centre and a few sites in the Northern Marshes. We were busy watching 3 Hen Harriers near the Casa de Bombas when a majestic Short-toed Eagle flew directly overhead and then started hovering close by, looking for prey. We then spent a few minutes watching a flock of Calandra Larks in a field by the Huerta Tejada.
The JAV centre was very quiet, but we did manage to see Gadwals, Purple Swamp-hens and Snipe, but the shortage of birds was made up for at the Hato Raton fields, where several hundred Common Cranes and 4 Black Storks rounded of the day nicely.

2nd November. Richard and Elizabeth Maddock from Wilmslow were with me again today for a second day of birding in the Doñana region. Having covered the northern area yesterday we headed west, to the lagoons and marshes near Huelva. Our first stop was at the Laguna Primera de Palos and we almost immediately found 3 Red-knobbed Coots feeding just inside the fence, about 30 metres away. We scanned the water and found Wigeon, Gadwalls, Shovellers, Teal, Common Pochards, Cormorants and Little Grebes. In the reeds and surrounding marsh there were 4 Squacco Herons, Little and Cattle Egrets, Purple Swamp-hens, Willow and Sardinian Warblers, Collared Doves, Iberian and Black-billed Magpies, Kestrels and Marsh Harriers.
Our next stop was at the Río Tinto at La Rábida where we found the first of 6 Ospreys that we were to see during the day. We also saw Grey Herons, Grey and Ringed Plovers, Whimbrels, Common Sandpipers and Black-winged Stilts.
We then drove to the Marismas del Odiel, to take advantage of the low tide, which would enable us to see the feeding waders. At our first stop near the La Calatilla Visitors Centre there were Greater Flamingos, Spotted and Common Redshanks, Greenshank and Black-tailed Godwits. Moving along the marshes we saw Sanderlings, Dunlins, Curlew Sandpipers, Little Stints, Ruddy Turnstones, Oystercatchers, Curlews, Bar-tailed Godwits, Sandwich and Caspian Terns, Stonechats, Chiffchaffs, Serins, Goldfinches and a number of Audouin's Gulls.
At the Marismas de Río Piedras there were more Caspian Terns, an Avocet, a single Glossy Ibis, Common Buzzards, Southern Grey Shrikes and at least 4 Dartford Warblers.
We then visited the Laguna El Portil and the Estero de Domingo Rubio and although seeing many of the previously mentioned birds, we only managed to add Hoopoes, Meadow Pipits, Zitting Cisticolas and Spoonbills to our list.

3rd November. On my tour today was Hannu Allonen from Turku, Finland and his sister and brother-in-law. Hannu is a keen photographer, so we were looking for good photographic opportunities. On the way from El Rocio to Villamanrique he managed to get good shots of a Southern Grey Shrike, a Stonechat and a Corn Bunting. The tour really began at the Corredor Verde, where hundreds of Goldfinches we feeding on dead thistles and other plants. A Hoopoe flew overhead and the first Black-shouldered Kite was seen and photographed. Altogether, 17 B-s Kites were seen during the day, 12 of them in the Corredor Verde. Other birds that were recorded in this area were Ravens, Red Kites, Buzzards, Kestrels, an Osprey, Common Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Great Crested Grebes, Little and Cattle Egrets, Grey Herons, over 100 Black-crowned Night Herons, Crested and Woodlarks and a Cetti's Warbler.
We then drove along the Camino de las Cigüeñas and saw Marsh and Hen Harriers, Serins, Meadow Pipits and Red-legged Partridges.
As we were crossing the Entremuros, we stopped to watch a pair of Hen Harriers (M & F) that were hunting over the fields. I noticed a buzzard almost directly overhead and I remarked on the underwing markings (which were of an unusual pattern for the common variety) and the broad white band at the end of the tail. As the bird passed us it banked and started to circle, allowing us to see the upper body. We could clearly see a bright white tail which left us in no doubt that we were watching a Rough-legged Buzzard. We continued to watch it for over 5 minutes, before it finally disappeared from sight. Hannu remarked that it was much darker than the ones that are found in Finland. As this is a very rare bird for Spain, it will be reported to the Spanish Rarities Committee. The odd thing is, that only 20 minutes earlier, Hannu had asked if we had rough-legged Buzzards in Doñana and I had replied, with some authority, "Sorry, they are very rare birds in Spain and have never been found here in Doñana". Believe me, I have never been so pleased to have been proved wrong.
A short drive to the other side of the Entremuros brought us to the rice fields of the Isla Mayor, where the first 4 fields were packed with thousands of birds that were feeding and following two tractors that were ploughing the stubble back into the wet earth. I estimated that there were 5,000+ gulls, 7-800 White Storks, 50 Grey Herons, 250 Glossy Ibis and one Black Stork. Also present were Lapwings, numerous Marsh Harriers and 3 Hen Harriers.
Our next stop was at the Cañada de Rianzuela, where a flock of about 1,500 Black-winged Stilts were feeding, along with a small number of Avocets. As we watched, the whole flock took off as a Peregrine Falcon made a surprise attack. We watched 4 unsuccessful passes by the Peregrine and by this time the vast number of stilts had moved out of our line of vision. We saw the Peregrine turn and make another attack, but did not see the outcome, although within a minute, all of the stilts settled down again to feed, so we assume that there was one less stilt and that the Peregrine had got its lunch.
The rest of the day was spent in the northern marshes, where we saw Purple Swamp-hens, Greater Flamingos, Snipe, Gadwalls, Shovelers, Pintails, Calandra Larks, Little Owls, a Dartford Warbler, a Merlin and a good number of Common Cranes.

5th November. Today I had to drive 90 kms to Punta Umbria to collect Pat Hamilton from Cambridge and her friend Liz, who were staying at the Hotel Barcelo. The first site we visited was the Laguna El Portil, where plenty of birds were on show. Scanning the water we soon found Teal, Mallards, Gadwalls, Little and Black-necked Grebes and Yellow-legged Gulls. Closer scrutiny revealed a male White-headed Duck and then 3 male Ferruginous Ducks.
On the banks of the lagoon were Greeen and Redshanks, Black-winged Stilts, Common and Green Sandpipers and Snipe. Overhead there were about 40 House Martins flying and in the trees and reeds we found 5 Hoopoes, Southern Grey Shrikes, Stonechats, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs.
We then visited a part of the Río Piedras, where Sanderlings, Ringed Plovers, Goldfinches, Crested Larks and Serins were seen.
Our next stop was at the port of El Rompido. Here there were Whimbrels, Curlews, Oystercatchers, Cormorants, Dunlins, Black-tailed Godwits and Kentish Plovers.
Next on the itinerary was the river and salt marshes of the Paraje Natural de Río Piedras. The first birds we saw were 6 Caspian Terns, resting on a sandbank. Nearby were a few Sandwich Terns, Sanderlings, Spoonbills, an Avocet an Osprey and Marsh Harriers.
The next stop was at La Ribera where many waders were present, but the onlt new birds that we added to our list was White Storks, Cattle Egrets, Kestrels and Black Redstarts.
We then visited the Marismas del Odiel, Where Greater Flamingos, Grey Plovers, Ruddy Turnstones, Purple Swamp-hens, Meadow Pipits, Dartford and Sardinian Warblers, Corn Buntings, Spanish Sparrows, Lesser Black-back, Black-headed and Audouin's Gulls ended the day nicely.

20th November. With me today were Graham and Jean Calvert from West Sussex. The couple had driven over from Arcos de la Frontera, so I met the couple at Benacazon and headed straight to the Corredor Verde. The first bird we saw was a Southern Grey Shrike, posing well just 20 metres from the car. This was quickly followed by Crested Larks and a Hoopoe.
We stopped at the "egret's roost" lagoon, which is slowly begining to fill with water after being nearly empty a month ago. Still not a lot of waterbirds there yet, but we did see Common Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Grey Herons, Cattle Egrets and Cormorants. The surrounding area of trees and meadows offered a better selection and we found Red Kites, Common Buzzards, Ravens, Spotless Starlings, Tree Pipits, Woodlarks, Corn Buntings, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Rock Sparrows, Black Redstarts and Iberian Magpies.
We then drove along the Corredor Verde and found the first of six Black-shouldered Kites. Also seen were Iberian Chiffchaffs, Stonechats, Sardinian Warblers, Robins, Serins, Blackcaps, a Booted Eagle, Red-legged Partridges and over 100 Black-crowned Night Herons.
Our next stop was in the Isla Mayor ricefields where hundreds of Black-winged Stilts were feeding in a flooded field. Close by there were 100's of House Martins, White Storks, Little Egrets and several Marsh Harriers. As we drove around the island we encountered several large flocks of Greater Flamingos, totalling well over a thousand birds. A Squacco Heron showed well for several minutes, just a few metres away and two Black storks were also recorded.
In the afternoon we drove out to the northern marshes in search of Common Cranes. Our first stop produced both male and female Hen Harriers, Lapwings, 20+ Kentish Plovers, Snipe, Spanish Sparrows and thousands of Greylag Geese.
Further along the road we stopped to watch a small flock of Lesser Short-toed Larks feeding in a field together with a number of Meadow Pipits.
As we approached the Caño de Guadiamar we found what we were looking for, Common Cranes feeding in the field beside the road. As Graham and Jean were viewing the through the telescope, I started counting the birds. I gave up after counting 400 and estimated that there were still another 200 - 250 that I hadn't counted, so, an estimate of 650 Common Cranes in one flock.
Our next stop was at the "Valverde" centre where we saw several Purple Swamp-hens, Little Grebes, Gadwalls and a very unseasonable Red-rumped Swallow.
The Lucio del Lobo offered better viewing and we recorded 4 Green Sandpipers, 50+ Avocets, Teal, Shovelers, another 1000+ flamingos and many more greylags.
As we approached the Huerta Tejada, Graham asked if we had Stone Curlews in the area. I said that there was a field just ahead that sometimes held Stone Curlews and two minutes later we had 19 of them in the telescope.
As we were leaving the marshes I spotted a Barn Owl roosting in a small tree beside the road and was able to reverse to within 5 metres of it. As we were preparing to move off I suddenly noticed 2 Great White Egrets in the ricefield on the opposite side of the road. As it was now starting to get dark I thought that these would be the last birds of the day, but at that moment a Spoonbill flew overhead.

22nd November. With me on today's tour were Andrew and Sarah Scarborough from Northamptomshire. I collected the couple from Sevilla and drove straight to the Corredor Verde/Lagunas de Mancho Zurillo area. At the first lagoon there were plenty of ducks present, mainly Pochards, Shovelers, Gadwalls and Mallards, but a couple of Tufted Ducks were also seen. Driving through the Corredor Verde to the second lagoon we watched two Black-shouldered Kites hunting over a large open area. A few Kestrels and Buzzards were also in the area, as well as Blackcaps, Crested Larks, Woodlarks, Black Redstarts and Corn Buntings. We also had a brief view of a Sparrowhawk as it drifted overhead.
The second lagoon was very quiet, with just Grey Herons, Coots, Cormorants and several Red Kites present. We then drove along the Corredor Verde, finding more B-s Kites, Little and Cattle Egrets, Stonechats, Iberian Chiffchaffs, a Barn Owl and 100+ Black-crowned Night Herons.
I then headed for the northern marshes and on the way we passed a recently harvested ricefield where about 1,000 White Storks, 120 Purple Swamp-hens and a Great White Egret were feeding. At the usual field near the Huerta Tejada we found over 30 Stone Curlews, the nearset just about 60 metres away. Numerous Marsh Harriers were seen as we drove along and a female Hen Harrier passed no more than 30 metres from us as we watched the Stone Curlews.
At the Lucio del Lobo there were thousands of birds, most of them Greylag Geese, ducks (Pintails, Teal, Shovelers, Pochards) and coots, but there were at least 400 Greater Flamingos, 100 Black-tailed Godwits, 60+ Avocets, 23 Common Shelducks, Ruff, Green Sandpipers and Kentish Plovers. Along the side of the lagoon there were Linnets, White Wagtails and Meadow Pipits.
There were plenty of birds at the J.A.Valverde centre, but nothing that we hadn't already recorded.
I then drove to a regular feeding spot for Common Cranes and found over 500, spead over three large fields beside the Caño de Guadiamar. As we left the marshes we were stopped dead in our tracks by a Short-toed Eagle, hovering just beside the track we were driving on. We got out of the vehicle and watched it for over five minutes as it circled and hovered over the marsh.
We then made a quick stop for our picnic lunch before heading for the Brazo del Este. On the way to the ferry we found a large flock (200+) of Black-winged Stilts and a Squacco Heron. The first bird we saw at the Brazo del Este was a Spoonbill, the first of about 50 that we saw altogether. As we drove down the central track we were absolutely astounded by the number of Purple Swamp-hens we were seeing. It seemed that nearly every swamp-hen in Doñana had congregated in the surrounding ricefields and reedbeds. I am used to seeing flocks of 4 - 500 of them feeding in the ricefields after the harvesting, but this surpassed anything I had seen before. At a rough estimate I would put the number seen at above the 1,000 mark, although there were probably more, as in the end we just stopped looking at them.
In various lagoons along the route we saw Great Crested and Little Grebes, more Spoonbills, B-crowned Night Herons, Ruff and 1,000'S of Black-winged Stilts. We also found a flock of well over 400 Glossy Ibis.

25th November Joining me on today's tour were Jim Alcock, from Scotland and his son-in-law, Richard Leslie. The first birds we saw as we approached the Corredor Verde where Iberian Magpies. These were "lifers" for Richard and more were to follow during the day. At the Lagunas de Mancho Zurillo we saw Shovelers, Gadwalls, Common Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Coots, Cormorants, Great Crested Grebes, Grey Herons, Cattle Egrets, Black Redstarts, Crested Larks, Meadow Pipits, Robins, Sardinian Warblers, Iberian Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Gold and Greenfinches, Tree Sparrows, Song Thrushes and a Woodlark (lifer for both Jim and Richard).
As we drove along the Corredor Verde we found numerous Black-shouldered Kites, Red Kites, Marsh Harriers, a Booted Eagle, Kestrels, Buzzards, a Short-toed Eagle, Helmeted Guinea Fowl, Black Storks, Lesser Short-toed Larks and many Black-crowned Night Herons.
At the Entremuros we had cracking close-up views of a male Hen Harrier and more Marsh Harriers and B-s Kites, along with Spotless Starlings, Little Egrets, White Storks and Common Snipe.
In the afternoon we visited the northern marshes and found Stone Curlews (lifer for Jim) Greater Flamingos, Teal, Wigeon, Greylag Geese, Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Green Sandpipers, Lapwings, Golden, Kentish and Ringed Plovers, Purple Swamp-hens, Common Cranes (lifer for Richard), a Peregrine Falcon and hundreds of Calandra Larks (lifer for both).
Altogether we recorded about 73 species during the day.

27th November. Today I was guiding Leonard and Brenda Fleming from near Morecambe in Lancashire. The couple were staying at Punta Umbria, close to the Odiel marshes, so naturally we visited the top sites in that region.
We started off at the Laguna El Portil on a cold, frosty morning and found Shovelers, Gadwalls, Common Pochards, Ferruginous Ducks, Little Grebes, Black-winged Stilts, Common Sandpipers, Redshanks, Hoopoes, Black Redstarts and Chiffchaffs.
We then moved on to the port at El Rompido, but unfortunately there was a fairly high tide and waders were few and far between. We did manage to see a few Dunlins, Ringed Plovers, Oystercatchers, Sandwich Terns, Whimbrels and Curlews, but on the whole the bird numbers were not up to standard.
The next stop was at the Marismas de Río Piedras. This was better, with Southern Grey Shrikes, Buzzards, Greenshanks, Snipe, Stonechats, Meadow Pipits, Sardinian Warblers and 7 or 8 Dartford Warblers.
La Ribera was the next site on the itinerary and we managed to find Little egrets, Grey Herons, White Storks and Common Kestrels.
The lagoons at Estero de Domingo Rubio produced an Osprey, Marsh Harriers, Purple Swamp-hens, Cormorants, Teal and Crested Larks.
There was a good number of birds at the Laguna Primera de Palos, including 5 Red-knobbed Coots, Wigeon and many of the previously mentioned birds.
We finished at the Marismas del Odiel, where Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Grey Plovers, Sanderlings, Gannets and over 100 Audouin's Gulls were seen.

30th November. With me today were Alan and Ann Clegg from Guildford, Surrey. We began at the Lagunas de Mancho Zurillo and even before stopping at the first lagoon we spotted 4 Great White Egrets standing together midway along the the bank. We managed to get good views with the telescope before they flew off. Also on the water were Little Egrets, Grey Herons, Cormorants and Coots. In the surrounding areas there were Crested Larks, 20+ Woodlarks, Gold, Green and Chaffinches, Serins, Black Redstarts and Kestrels.
At the second lagoon we saw Common Pochards, Gadwalls, Tufted Ducks and Great Crested Grebes.
As we drove along the Corredor Verde there were 8 Black-shouldered Kites, 3 Booted Eagles, Red Kites, Buzzards, Ravens, Southern Grey Shrikes, Blackcaps, Robins, Song Thrushes, Sardinian Warblers, Meadow Pipits, Lesser Short-toed Larks, Red-legged Partridges and dozens of Black-crowned Night Herons.
At the Entremuros there were 100's of White Storks, 36 Black Storks, Greater Flamingos, Purple Swamp-hens, Green Sandpipers, Redshanks, Greenshanks, Ringed and Kentish Plovers, Lapwings, 150+ Little Stints and many Marsh and Hen Harriers.
In the afternoon we visited the northern marshes and as we drove toward the Valverde Centre we found a number of Stone Curlews and two Little Owls.
There were plenty of birds at the Lucio del Lobo, including 18 Common Shelducks, Avocets, Dunlins and Sanderlings.
In the fields to the east and north of the Valverde Centre there were up to 1'000 Common Cranes.
On the lagoon at the Valverde Centre there were Black-winged Stilts, Snipe, Shovelers and Teal.
As we were leaving the marshes we added Corn Buntings, Chiffchaffs and Calandra Larks to the list.
Other birds seen during the day included Black-headed, Yellow-legged and Lesser Blackbacked Gulls and Iberian Magpies.