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Friday, 23 September 2022

Donana - Sept 9th - Afternoon


Afternoon session

Initially we visited a track with the vast Marshes viewable beyond, but with Farmland on one side and a large pool on the other. The usual culprits were present, and we searched a treeline and crops for birds, good numbers of Willow Warblers were around. A very green chunky Warbler aloft may have been Melodious but didn’t get good enough views to clinch it.

The vast Marsh we couldn’t access, you could see it was teeming with birds and a couple of largish distant Raptors.

We moved on and headed to the Salt Pans, a vast massive area next to a very wide river, I would presume this was the Guadalquivir.

These Salt Pans were alive with birds of all shapes and sizes, Greater Flamingo and White Stork dominated the big boys but the whole area of pans was teeming with waders of all sorts.

We spent quite a bit of time here, the heat was pretty impressive, as we had now sussed, you get a lot of shimmering which didn’t make for sharp photos but just seeing them was good enough.

Big flocks of Dunlin, smaller numbers of Curlew Sandpiper, occasional Little Stint, Redshank/Avocet everywhere, Little Ringed/Kentish Plover and fantastic to see good numbers of Slender Billed Gulls.

Sanderling was also seen along with a very big flock mainly made up of Bar Tailed but also a few Black Tailed Godwit mixed in, we also added Whimbrel and Ruff.

Raptors present were Booted Eagle, Common Buzzard, Marsh Harrier and the best of all, an Osprey sitting on a post.

We also saw Crested /Calandra Lark, Red Rumped Swallow, Bee Eater, Hoopoe and Griffon Vulture.

After time spent here, we moved on to another area favoured by Rufous Bush Robin, not a common bird now in Spain, they were known to favour this area. Despite a thorough good look around, we couldn’t locate one, but we did connect with our only Cirl Bunting of the trip.

Whilst also watching a pair of Red Rumped Swallows, I looked up and there was a dot, obviously a big Raptor, initial thought was Black Vulture and Pablo confirmed, another superb bird and one we didn’t expect in this neck of the woods. Grabbed a couple of distant photos of it, enough to confirm the ‘white feet’ and darker underwing.

                                                                 Slender Billed Gull

                                                                Red Rumped Swallow

                                                                       Black Vulture

It was time to call it a day, we were all pretty tuckered out with the heat, Pablo our guide had pulled out all the stops, shown us some stunning birds and he was worth every penny, it had been a fantastic day.

We finished the day on 104 species so going well.

Our next day was again with Pablo, this was La Janda and Barbate Marshes……., hopefully for one of my favourite raptors Black Winged Kite!

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