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Tuesday 20 September 2022

Coto Donana!


September 9th Day 2

Morning session


This was the first day of our guided tour and was one of the venues that personally, I had always wanted to visit and long been on the radar – Coto Donana.

Pablo our guide picked us up in darkness around 6.30a.m, the plan being to get on the road for the 2-hour drive to Donana, and more specifically arrive at the Little Swift colony around dawn.

The destination was the port of Chipiona and as we arrived, the Little Swifts were already active, a tick for most of us, we spent a good hour watching these little beauties.
Still breeding, as they approached the nest they trilled, fantastic little birds who put a smile on your face with their antics and vocals around the nest building.

A great start to the morning, we also added Pallid Swift, a couple of Turnstone, ever present Yellow Legged Gulls, House Martin and Red Rumped Swallow. Audouins Gull was also seen, however brekkie was calling so we headed off.

After breakfast it was down to Chipiona Beach, where we added a good number variety of waders to the list, this included the first Kentish Plover along with Little/Sandwich/Common and Caspian Tern and a single Mediterranean Gull.

Zitting Ciscola, Sardinian/Cetti’s Warbler also gave themselves up and I gained my 2nd tick here in the shape of a Waxbill.

A good start to the morning and thoroughly enjoyable for all of us, we were now up to 53 species seen so looking good. Our next destination was aptly named for obvious reasons -

Stinky Pools (Lagunas de Camino Colarado)

In fact, there were 3 of these nicknamed pools, not that big and they did pong, but boy did they hold some goodies, everywhere you looked, there were birds of note and we all enjoyed good views and got some decent photos.

Exiting the vehicle, we straight away encountered a couple of very approachable Pied Flycatchers, however there was so much going on the 1st pool, it was hard to know where to look and give your attention to.
At the water’s edge were a number Little Ringed Plover, Black Winged Stilt, Green Sandpiper, 2 Purple Swamphens, 4 Temmincks Stint, Glossy Ibis, Ringed Plover and Greater Flamingo as an appetiser, stunning.

We all had a good look round this Pool before moving up and across the road to the next pool, this was a little bigger.

Immediately on view were Spoonbill, Green Sandpiper, more Little Ringed Plover, a few Glossy Ibis,2 more Purple Swamphens, Common Teal,2 Greater Flamingo’s, Kingfisher, Marbled Duck, Little and a Cattle Egret. Looking up showed a pale phase Booted Eagle forever searching, pretty low so could see all the head movements. This was without doubt better views of a Raptor than El Algarroba – little did I know what was to come over the next few days!

Little Grebe were plentiful as was Mallard so after getting yet more photos, we headed round to the 3rd Pool.

We immediately got on a Red Knobbed Coot located by Pablo, and we then saw around 4 White Headed Duck, another Glossy Ibis, Shoveler but a goodie was a roosting Night Heron in trees. A bit distant but nonetheless a good bird to see.

As we were watching a Common Sandpiper, 6 waders arrived, circulating around before disappearing, on the limited views they looked good for Curlew Sandpiper.

Out of nowhere a Squacco Heron arrived, landed and gave pretty good viewing, it had a mouth full of Dragons and would suspect these were Lesser Emperors, they seemed to be just about everywhere. Along with the Night heron, 2 great birds that we rarely see.

Another bird new for me and the chaps was Black Headed Weaver, 2 of these flew across the Pools, although not sure of their status in Spain.

We then left the ‘stinky pools’, a very productive area, thoroughly enjoyable and it bought the trip list up to 78.

More from Day 2 from the afternoon of our guided tour on the next update……………….

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