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FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT PARTICIPATED IN A WINGSPAN TOUR DURING 2016, THANK YOU FOR YOUR CUSTOM & YOUR COMPANY AND WE WISH YOU HEALTH AND HAPPINESS FOR 2017.

THE PROGRAMME FOR SPRING 2017 IS NOW ON MY

WEBSITE BUT HERE IS A PREVIEW



Jan 15th - 28th. - Sri Lanka. £1750

Feb 12th -27th - Costa Rica - full

Mar 20th - 30th Morocco - 10 nights. - £1190

April 5th - 12th - Andalucia migration tour. - £750 - 2 places

April 16th - 24th - Coto Donana & Extremadura - £950 - 2 places

April 29th - 6th May. - Lesvos - £875

May 8th - 15th - Portugal - full


May 13th - 21st Bulgaria - £850

May 23rd - 30th - Andalucia birds and butterflies - £750

May 31st - June 8th. - Extremadura and Sierra de Gredos - £950

June 12th - 20th - Pyrenees and Picos de Europa - £1050


FLIGHTS NOT INCLUDED IN THESE PRICES



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Red-throated Bee-eater

Red-throated Bee-eater
join us for a fantastic tour of The Gambia this November

Monday, April 30, 2012

LESVOS - 7 DAY TOUR - DAY 3 APRIL 30TH


 PARAKILO CHAPEL - AGRA - SKALA ERESOS  - ERESOS TO SIGRI COAST ROAD VIA MELADIA VALLEY

BIRD OF THE DAY:   COLLARED FLYCATCHER

 COLLARED FLYCATCHER

Keep it coming!!! Another great day of birding in superb weather, the only downside is the lack of migrants because of the weather, there are many species but not many of each.

We started at 8am after an early breakfast heading for Sigri by taking the coast road along the north side of the Gulf of Kalloni. Our first stop was at the Chapel just west of Parakilo where we found a number of nice species. Our first Cretzchmar’s Bunting was exciting for the group but the beauty of the Cirl bunting was equally admired. A Blue Rock Thrush sang from the top of a spruce tree, a pair of Common Whitethroats chased around and at least three Black-eared Wheatears flitted about one the rocky slopes. More distant birds included a Short-toed Eagle (carrying a snake), a Golden Oriole seen briefly and a Common Kestrel.
 PURPLE HERON



 NIGHT HERON

 LITTLE BITTERN


A brief stop at the ‘towers’ above the town of Agra produced our first Western Rock Thrush, more Blue –rock Thrushes and Black-eared Wheatears. Then just a couple clicks along the road we stopped to watch soaring raptors, three of which were Eleanora’s Falcon and one a Short-toed Eagle.
At Skala Eresos we were very lucky to find a nest of the Penduline Tit, it was still under construction and we enjoyed watching the birds collecting nesting material from the nearby reed mace. Other birds seen included great views of Nightingale and Night Heron as well as Olivaceous Warbler, Reed Warbler and we heard a couple of Cetti’s Warblers.

 TEMMINCK'S STINT

From Eresos we took the coast track through the Meladia Valley, we spent a good 3 hours during several stops including a picnic lunch break. Over the whole valley and the ford area we listed a number of great species, the best of which were: Collared Flycatcher (2), Barred Warbler, Orphean Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Whinchat (6), Masked Shrike (1), Red-backed Shrike (24), Woodchat Shrike (8), Spotted Flycatcher (18), Pied Flycatcher (2) and lots of Black-headed Buntings, Cretzchmar’s Buntings and a couple of Little Owls.

SPUR-THIGHED TORTOISE
We drove through Sigri and up through the hills back towards kalloni via Andissa. Along the road above Sigri we saw 8 Lesser  Kestrels feeding over the hillside. At the Eresos crossroads we found a couple of Isabelline Wheastears and a Middle Spotted Woodpecker.

ISABELLINE WHEATEAR
Back at kalloni at 6pm we decided to have a quick look at the Tsiknias river, a good decision as we found some good birds. New for the trip list were Montagu;s Harrier and Red Footed Falcon but we also enjoyed TRemminck’s Stint (4), Little Bittern (3), lots of Wood Sandpipers, Little Ringed Plovers and Yellow Wagtails. The evening light was superb and I didn’t want to leave this magical scene, but we had to go back to the hotel for dinner.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

LESVOS - 7 DAY TOUR - DAY 2 APRIL 29TH

SKALA KALLONI - KALLONI SALT PANS - UPPER TSIKNIAS RIVER

BIRD OF THE DAY  -  CITRINE WAGTAIL

Another superb day on this idyllic birding island. Sunshine all day not much of a breeze so it got very warm in the middle of the afternoon.

 
 A BAD PICTURE OF ONE OF THE CITRINE WAGTAILS

We spent the day 'locally' visiting boith the rivers that form the east/west boudaries either side of Kalloni and we spent a lot of time at the salt pans burther to the east.

Our pre-breakfast outing started at 6:30am and took in the the Christou river and surrounding salt marsh. We found Stone Curlew and several species of wader, the Little stint was ther only new one for our list.

The rest of the morning was spent in and around the Salt Pans. We listed over 80 species and some of the highlights were: Garganey, Glossy Ibis, Great Egret, Collared Pratincole, Whiskered Tern, Red-throated Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Lesser Grey Shrike, Black headed Bunting, Short-toed Lark, Gull-billed Tern, White-winged Tern and tons of waders the best of which was Temminck's Stint. Not a bad list of goodies!!!


MALE GARGANEY

We also visited the east side of the salt pans where we found two Citrine Wagtails, great birds but very flighty and difficult to photograph.

SCOPS OWL


Another site we visited was along a track that follows the upper stretch of the Tsiknias River, along there we found Hoopoe, Woodchat Shrike, Black-eared Wheatear and several raptors drifted over which included: Short-toed Eagle (4), Long-legged Buzzard, Pergerine Falcon and Hobby.

Lastly we visited the lower Tsiknias River and near the ford we found Temminck's Stint (4), Little Bittern (2), and plenty of Wood Sandpipers, Little ringed Plovers, Black Stork, Common Nightingales, Olivaeous Warblers, Bee-eaters and a host of other species. At the river mouth we saw 5 Meditteranean Gulls. Before we finshed for the day we visited a site in the middle of Papina the next village to Kalloni, where we had great views of both Scop's Owl & Long-eared Owls.








Saturday, April 28, 2012

LESVOS - 7 DAY TOUR - DAY 1 APRIL 28TH 2012


MYTILINE – SKALA KALLONI VIA DIPI LARISOS MARSHES. LATER WE VISITED  – SKALA KALLONI – TSIKNIAS RIVER AND KALLONI SALT PANS


BIRD OF THE DAY  -  PYGMY CORMORANT      
    
;but also Temminck’s Stint, Little Bittern  and high numbers of Squacco Herons.

The group of 9 met at Gatwick Airpoort in preparation for the direct flight to Mytiline, Lesvos. Everything went smoothly at both airports and by 2:30pm local time we were on our to our hotel in Skala Kalloni which is situated in the centre of the island. The weather was superb, a clear sky a little breeze and a temperature of 21C.

We saw Hooded Crow, Barn Swallow and Yellow-legged Gull as we worked our way through Mytiline town and before long we were on the highway heading out towards the Gulf of Gera. There was one short stop planned en-route and that was at Dipi Larisos Reedbeds found on the Gulf of Gera where a pair of Pygmy Cormorants had been reported.

VIEW LOOKING UP THE RIVER TSIKNIAS - PLENTY OF WATER THIS YEAR

Sure enough one of the birds were there, a super bird for our tour list and a lifer for me, it was a little too distant to photgraph. At the same place we found Great Cormorant, Spanish Sparrow, Yellow Wagtail and we heard aCetti’s Warbler.
We arrived at our hotel at 4pm and after a short settling period we set off for our first birding excursion on this superb island. In Skala Kalloni we stopped to admire a beautiful Squacco Heron seen in a ditch, it was in full breeding plumage and the afternoon sun made it looked exquisite. Along the track to Tsiknias river we found 9 more Squaccos, a lot of Wood Sandpipers and more Yellow Wagtails. We also found several Corn Buntings House Martins and Sand Martins. At the river we found an Oystercatcher, Common Terns, Little Terns, Wood Sandpipers, but the star of the show was a magnificent adult Black Stork.

SEVERAL SHOTS OF A VERY CONFIDING LITTLE BITTERN
Upriver at the ford we spent some time watching a Little Bittern feeding, with its ridulously long neck it would lean from its reedy perch and snatch food from the water. Also at the ford were many more Wood Sandpipers (30+), Little Ringed Plover (2), Temminck’s Stint (2), Reed Warbler, Whinchat and another Black Stork, lots of Yellow Wagtails were also feeding at the ford, we saw Black-headed, Blue headed and Grey Headed. A little further upriver we came across a party of 8 Gull Billed Terns, they were feeding in a small pool area.

Lastly we paid a visit to the salt pans, it was brief stop to look for a reported Baillon’s Crake which failed to show, however we enjoyed great views of White-winged Terns, Gull-billed Terns, Kentish Plover, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Wagtail, 2 more Black Storks and we had distant views of Avocet and Greater Flamingo. This finished off our day nicely so we drove back to the hotel in readiness for our 7:30pm dinner.


What a great day our first full day proved to be we only saw 40+ birds but there was good feeling in the group about future sightings – watch this space.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Nest Building at its best

Structural engineer in action

  
Whether you’re a ‘bird person’ or not, this is stunning!!!

Not to detract from the sheer magic of it, but in practical terms,
how MANY trips would a bird have to make with that tiny little
quantity of mud/clay it could carry? (and how far from the nest
is the source of material?)
 
If you take the construction of a “circular bowl” in your stride as
instinctive – how the heck does the bird come up with the
windbreak/entrance design that shields the eggs/chicks from the
elements – and at what point in fashioning the bowl do they start
to construct it?














Thursday, April 26, 2012

ANDALUCIA DAY TOUR - APRIL 26TH 2012

GENAL VALLEY - SAN ENRIQUE WOODS - LAGUNA TORREGUADIARO - MANILVA BEACH - SIERRA CRESTELLINA.

70 SPECIES SEEN:  HONEY BUZZARD INVASION HAS STARTED: BONELLI'S EAGLES HAVE A CHICK!!! EGYPTIAN VULTURES AT CRESTELLINA

What another fantastic day, it can't go on like this! can it?? Perfect weather and tons of birds with several new birds for the year and couple of nice discoveries!

I met Jane, my client for the day, at Casares at 8:30am and we drove the short distance to the track that leads down to the  Rio Genal. I decided to go this route because 3 Rollers had been seen there this week, the Roller is a 'good' bird for our area, but we didn't see one. Before we had got very far down the track we saw a single Honey Buzzard circling over a ridge not too far from the road, we had great views of it. Several Woodchat Shrikes were perched on the top of bushes and a couple of Corn buntings were on the wires.

Northern Wheatear at the Rio Genal

We stopped at a view point that overlooked the valley and the river, lots of Bee-eaters were flying over and we had many species in the open fields and bushes. A Sardinian Warbler was song-flighting and this drew our attention to a Melodious Warbler which quickly lead on to a Subalpine Warbler. There were many Linnets, Goldfinches, Serins, Crested larks and Stonechats flitting about.

Rio Genal

We stopped at the river and fun began, first one then two then five then twenty Honey Buzzards came up out of the woods and begin climbing on the thermals. They were joined by Booted Eagles, Black Kites and a few Griffon Vultures, a single Hobby flew over our heads and on up the valley. Inb the meantime the river was alive with bird song; Common Nightingale, Cetti's Warbler, Cirl Bunting and lots of finches. We saw Little Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper onthe river along with White Wagtail. Three Turlte Doves sat onthe wires and another large flock of Bee-eaters flew over.



Further down the valley we stopped on anumber of occasions and found Kingfisher, Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler and many more Nightingales, Cetti's Warblers and Serins. Other species found included Spotted Flycatcher, Short-toed Eagle (5), Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk & lots of Griffon Vultures.
Stonechat

At San Enrique woods we had agreattime watching Spotted & Pied Flycatchers, Short-toed Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Blackcap and we watched a Wren Building a nest in a hole in a tree!!
Pied Flycatcher

The laguna at Torreguadiaro produced a lot of species, the water level was very low and areas of mud is now exposed this attracted waders, the first for a long time. Black-winged Stilt (6), Redshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper (3) , but the best sightings we of Little Bittern, Glossy Ibis ( 1 feeding in the laguna and 22 flying over), Purple Swamphen (3) and many common species.

Glossy Ibis, Redshank & Mallard at Laguna Torreguadiaro

We also saw the usual Crested Larks, Nightingales in the tamarisk, a Little Owl and Lesser Kestrel on the ruined tower.

A quick stop at the beach near Manilva produced our first Whinchat of the year and 6 Woodchat Shrikes on one small length of fencing!

Lastly we stopped at Sierra Crestellina where many Griffon vutlures could be seen circling over the mountain ridge. We scopped the Bonelli's Eagle's nest and found a chick sitting there, then a parent bird flew and and began to feed it, what a great sight. Next we found two Egyptain Vultures circling the mountain, they landed in the distance but could be clearly seen in the scope, another great find! The last tick for Jane was a Cirl Bunting, seen as it sat on a wire delivering its short trill and calling it a song!!

That completed another superb day out in southern Spain, it is great birding here, you should try it!!

ANDALUCIA - DAY TOUR - 24TH APRIL 2012

TARIFA - LOS LANCES BEACH - LA JANDA - BARABTE MARSHES - VEJER - BOLONIA AND SIERRA DE LA PLATA.

91 SPECIES SEEN TODAY.

Another fantastic day, I can't believe the weather - I have never before been to Tarifa when the wind has been at zero kilometers an hour!! The sun shone all day, the wind picked up in the afternoon.

The Hide at Los Lances beach - calm and peaceful - it is usually blowing a gale here

I took Pat and Kevin out for their second day, we left in the dark at 7am, the sky was full of bright stars, a Blue Rock Thrush was singing from the rocks above our house. As we dropped down the Guadiaro valley towards the coast it got light, we saw Storks on their nests and a colony of Lesser Kestrels as we passed through Jimena and Castellar.

The wader pools at Los Lances

We then drove through patches of thick mist as we climbed the hills between Algeciras and Tarifa, thick cloud hung over Los Lances Beach as we approached. The birds came thick and fast as we left the car and walked to the hide at Los Lances:Corn Bunting, Zitting Cisticola, Short-toed Lark, Linnet, Crested Lark and Goldfinch were all in song. Several waders were found at the beach: a few pairs of Kentish Plover were noisily sorting out the pecking order, whilst Whimbrel (5), Sanderling,Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Grey Plover all foraged along the beach pools. Lesser Black-backed and Yellow-legged Gulls were joined by the handsome Audouin's Gull. A few Sandwich Terns were diving for fish over the sea.

By the time we reached La Janda all the mist had burnt off and we enjoyed superb views of the whole area. We watched a pair of Black-winged Kites frolicking in the air and a pair of Calandra Larks doing the same on the ground. Everywhere we went birdsong filled the air: Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Greenfinch and Linnets were the mainstay of the choir.

We drove along the Benalup track where we found several hundred pairs of Cattle Egrets in their 'nesting colony', it was quite a sight. Several Turtle Doves 'turred' as they sat out in the open and both Pheasant and Red-legged Partridges put in appearances and we had good views of Golden Oriole, Spoonbill, Night Heron and Nightingale. In the sky we had already logged Montagu's Harrier, Griffon Vulture, Booted and Short-toed Eagles, Common Buzzards: but all these were overshadowed by the sighting of, not one, but two Spanish Imperial Eagles, they were a bit distance but well seen. We also found a pair of Collared Pratincoles as we were searching for a singing (if you can call it a song!) Great Reed Warbler!


Redshank & Whimbrel at Los lances

Next we paid a quick visit to Vejer to look at the Bald Ibis nesting Colony, there are now four nests with birds sitting on eggs! This is remarkable because the birds are part of a release programme to save this very rare species, hope they do well, but they are still ugly.
Yet another picture of the Bald Ibis - I'm sure there will be more to follow

At Barbate Marshes we found a flock of some 40 Glossy Ibis, now these birds are pretty to look at, unlike the Baldy! We also found Curlew Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilts, Wood Sandpiper, Ruff, Gadwall and hundreds of Moorhens.

Lastly we visited the picturesque  Sierra de la Plata, the view from the mountain over to Bolonia is quite impressive. Birds seen were Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Rock Bunting, Wren, Blue Rock Thrush, Common Kestrel, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler and another Whitethroat.

 Rock Bunting at Sierra de la Plata

As we drove back towards Gaucin we stopped at Sierra Crestellina and had great views of a pair of Bonelli's Eagles, they both flew off the rocks to mob a Griffon Vulture as it got too close to their nest, it was a greaat way to finsh the day.



The View from Sierra Plata down to the beach at Bolonia

Monday, April 23, 2012

DAY TOUR - MONDAY APRIL 23RD 2012

GAUCIN CORK WOODS - RIO GUADIARO - LLANOS DE LIBAR - ENCINAS DE BORRACHES TRACK

MIGRANTS GALORE AS SPRING FINALLY ARRIVES: thousands of new arrivals throughout Southern Spain

GOLDEN ORIOLES, TURTLE DOVES, PIED FLYCATCHERS, COMMON NIGHTINGALES, BONELLI'S WARBLERS, COMMON CUCKOOS, ORPHEAN WARBLERS, SUBALPINE WARBLERS, SPECTACLED WARBLERS, MELODIOUS WARBLERS, ROCK THRUSHES  - just some of the summer migrants seen today!!! We logged 75 species with many new birds for the year list.

What a fantastic day, it was the best birding day I have had for a long time. The weather was perfect, a real spring morning, bird song was prolific,  wild flowers were in full bloom and the sun shone all day.



Kevin and Pat are staying with us for their third visit and have booked a couple of days out with birding with me. We left our home at 7:30am and drove northward from Gaucin towards Ronda, our first stop was at the 'Bull Ring'. The woodland there consists of Sweet Chestnut, Cork Oak and Pine, we found Eurasian Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Firecrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Long-tailed Tit and several common species.

At the Guadiaro River we had a superb time, birds were everywhere and the air was full of song. As soon as we got out of the car we heard, Hoopoe, Common Cuckoo, Common Nightingale, Cetti's Warbler, Serin, Blackcap, Turtle Dove, Golden Oriole and many frogs were calling from the river.
Our walk along the river was filled with great sightings and memorable species: we saw more Treecreepers, a Pied Flycatcher, Common Nightingale, Rock Sparrow, Pallid Swifts, Red-rumped Swallows, Booted Eagles, Short-toed Eagles, Cirl Buntings, Common Kingfisher, Little-ringed Plover,
Turtle Dove, Cetti's Warbler and many more.

We ate our picnic lunch by the side of the river and during lunch we saw Grey Wagtails, Hawfinches, Garden Warbler and many Griffon Vultures.

For the afternoon we decided to visit the scenic valley at Llanos de Libar which is found hidden in the mountains above Montajaque. Again we had a great time and saw some special species, as soon as we got out of ther car we located a Rock Bunting that was singing just above us. Then we found Blue Rock Thrush, Red-billed Chough and lots of Serins, Goldfinches and Linnets. On a high distant cliff we found a Rock Thrush, although it was distant it's colours were clearly seen. Next we had great views of a Bonelli's Eagle as it drifted across the valley. Our first Melodious Warblers was found as it sang from a Tamarisk, then we went on to find more Cirl and Rock Buntings and small flocks of Red-billed Choughs.

The track along the Llanos de Libar
 Our last stop was at the Encinas Borraches track just south of Ronda. A wind had got up and it made viewing a little difficult but we did get great views of Dartford, Spectacled and Orphean Warblers. There were also Thekla Larks, Corn Buntings, Common Cuckoo (the first one we actually saw today), Northern Wheatears and more Red-billed Chough. But are best sightings were of Golden Orioles, they seemed to be everywhere and one or two perched right out in the open on small tamarisk bushes, what a stunning bird.

We finshed the walk at 5pm and drove back down to Gaucin in time for dinner and a well-earned rest, what a great day!!!!






ANDALUCIA - 7 DAY TOUR - DAY 7 21ST APRIL

EL ROCIO - MATALASCANAS - HUELVA - LAGUNA PRIMERA DE LOS PALOS - MARISMAS DE O'DIEL NATURAL PARK.

Our best day yet with the weather, a cloudless sky with very light winds. We set off for Huelva after breakfast but we made a quick stop to look at the El Roico laguna to look for the Gull-billed Terns seen last night. The terns were not there but we did find a Common Teal and we had a great sighting of 9 Little Gulls that flew over the laguna, they did not stay but we all had good views of them.



At Matalascanas we spent a short time looking out to sea from the cliffs hoping for some migrant passage. All we found were a number of Northern Gannets, lots of Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a Hoopoe came in off the sea.

Just outside of Huelva we stopped to look at the laguna de los Palos, this small body of water usually holds a good selection of birds. Today was a little disappointing but we did see Gadwall, Shoveler, Common and Red-crested Pochard, Purple Swamphen, Squacco Heron, Pruple Heron and lots of Common Coots.

We then drove through the port of Huelva and round to the Marismas de O'diel, this 'island' runs some 30km and is parallel to the Huelva shoreline. The whoile marsh is superb with hundreds of hectares
of salt marsh, open lagoons, salt pans, beach, stone pine woodland and shingle banks. We started at the small lagoon at the Calatilla Restaurant. There we had excellent views of a Red-knobbed Coot, the bird swam in front of us just a few meters out. Then a Little Bittern flew across the pool, it was the one and only sighting of this species. Many other birds were on the water and included: Spoonbill, Greater Flamingo, Gadwall, Shoveler, Common Pochard, Little Grebe, Black-winged Stilts and Common Sandpiper.

Over the next 2 hours we drove towards the 'tip' of the island and stopped several times to look at thousands of waders. The tide was low and huge areas of mud were exposed where we found several new species for the trip. Grey Plover, Eurasian Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher and Stone Curlew were all new. This raised our total of wader species recorded during the trip to an impressive 25.

A large flock of Little Terns numbering over 170 was really nice to see and an Ortolan Bunting was a terrific find on the way out of the reserve.


We ate our picnic lunch sitting on a grassy bank in warm sunlight and then at 1pm we set off for the long journey back to Gaucin.

ANDALUCIA - 7 DAY TOUR – DAY 6 - APRIL 20TH


El ROCIO – CORREDOR DE VERDE – DEHESA ABAJO – JOSE VALVERDE CENTRE (NORTHERN MARSHES)

A rain free day with a cloudless morning and overcast afternoon, warm out of the breeze. 

We drove the 20km to Villamonrique and then turned onto dirt tracks that ran along the Coredor de Verde. We noted White Stork, the ubiquitous Black Kite, Common Buzzard, Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Common & Azure-winged magpies and plenty of Woodchat Shrikes before we stopped the bus for our first walk. In fact we never reached our destination because we found our target species before we got there! A Black-winged Kite was seen from the bus and we all jumped out to get superb views of this lovely little raptor, we watched for 10 minutes before is drifted off in its’ delightful kit-like manner.
We made another couple of stops along the coredor de verde where we saw more Bee-eaters and White Storks, we also heard a Common Cuckoo and noted both Booted and Short-0toed Eagles up in the blue sky.
 
A VIEW OF EL  ROCIO FROM ACROSS THE LAGUNA MADRE DE LAS MARISMAS

The eucalyptus wood at Dehesa de Pilas had it usual colony of Spanish Sparrows, there must be over 1000 pairs, the noise is deafening. Most of the sparrows we flying off into the fields and returning with a mouth full of grass, some struggled with a large amount, I wonder how many kilos of grass it takes to build 500 nests?? Over 50 Bee-0eaters were milling around and we saw a couple of Montagu’s harriers as well.

At Dehesa Abajo the lake was full of birds but as usual they were a mile away on the far side, however we did get good views of Little & Cattle Egrets, Night Herons, Purple Swamphens, Common Pochard, Shoveler, Gadwall, Black-winged Stilts, Spoonbills, Greater Flamingos, Great Cormorants (sinensis) and lots of grebes, Great-crested and Little. In the distance we could see many Whiskered Terns, Jackdaws, White Storks and Black Kites.

We stopped at aventa and had a tapas lunch before setting off towards the Valverde Centre, we made a couple of stops to watch Lesser Short-toed and Short-toed Larks, Calandra Lark, Yellow Wagtail, Corn Bunting & Monatgu’s Harrier. As we approached the Valverde Centre we stopped to view the large lake on our right which held hundreds of birds. There were over 100 Ringed Plover, Redshank (50+), Greenshank (4), Spotted Redshank (15 – some in pure black plumage!), Curlew Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Dunlin, Kentish Plover, Avocet, Whimbrel, White Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Whiskered Tern and Greater Flamingo. We also saw Grey & Purple Herons, Great Egret, Little Egret and Whiter Stork.

We then took the track that leads back to El Rocio and found our first Collared Pratincoles of the trip, we also saw a bizarre sight of over 300 Whiskered Terns quartering a field in one huge flock and diving to the ground to collect insects as when they found them, extraordinary!!

Next we dropped into the visitors centre for a caffeine top up and some ‘birding-behind-plate-glass’., We had good close views of Great Reed Warbler, Purple Swamphen, Little Grebe and Common Pochard but not much else.
 
Our drive back to El Rocio was interrupted only once when we stopped to view a known Spanish Imperial Eagle’s nest site, this proved successful as two birds were seen around the nest. During this homeward journey we also saw Tawny Pipit, several Purple Herons, Great White Egrets and two Marsh Harriers.

A last look at the marismas at El Rocio produced 2 new birds for the trip in the shape of Gull-billed Tern (14) and Green Sandpiper (1). We had logged 86 species today which is a fair reflection of the current dry status of Donana.