Blue-tailed Bee-eater
Real Birder

Spain: Andalusia 9th to 11th November 2016

     

     Birding  Andalusian flag Andalusia     andalusianbirdingholidays.com/en     Flag of seville                                                                          
    Guide: Luis Miguel Garrido Padillo [Andalusian Birding Holidays]

    INTRODUCTION

    For the third year in a row I found myself back in Andalusia, for a birder this is a no brainer. The area around Seville is simply fantastic for birding, with so many prime habitats. I stayed in Dos Hermanas, an area just east of Seville, for a week with my wife and allocated three days for birding from the 9th-11th of November with Luis of Andalusian Birding Holidays, a guide  I have used before.

    The weather during the week was basically fine 20-24⁰C with two cloudy days and some rain. No doubt the non-birding highlight came on Tuesday night as we watched one DJ Trump become President of the USA. However back to the birding; we went to three sites in the Seville–Cadiz area, which of course included Donana National Park, one of the greatest birding areas in Europe, especially in winter.

    9/11/16: GREEN CORRIDOR OF THE RIO GUADIAMAR

    The day starts sunny, but it quickly became cloudy, although thankfully the rain stays away and the temperature rises to a pleasant 20⁰C.

    The visit to this area consisted of a pleasant walk along the paths on either side of the Rio Guadiamar, whose banks consisted of a mixed woodland of Poplars, Wild Olive, Eucalyptus, Pistacia Lentiscus and Ash trees. The surrounding areas are dedicated mainly to agriculture, interspersed with Holm Oak.

    The highlights of the walk along the riverbanks were: Wryneck, Woodlark, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Spoonbill, Black-winged Kite, Booted Eagle [pale form], Green Woodpecker, Common Waxbill, Azure-winged Magpie, Red Kite, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Zitting Cisticola, Cetti’s Warbler and of course all the usual suspects that you would find in this type of habitat.

                        Spanish Sparrow           Zitting Cisticola
                       Male Spanish Sparrows                          Zitting Cisticola

    The sky began to get very dark and heavy rain looked likely, so we walked back to the car and drove back to Seville. I was looking forward to a nice warm bath.

    10/11/16: CADIZ, BAHIA de CADIZ and SURROUNDING AREAS [Chiclana de La Fronterra, Puerto Real and Puerto de Santa Maria]

    The weather today was sunny with a mild NW wind, with temperatures around 22⁰C.

    The golf courses of Chiclana are located in a very urbanized area, dominated by Pine and Pistascia lentiscus, accompanied by several ornamental species of shrubs and trees. In the Bahia de Cadiz NP, the marsh is the main habitat, dominated by halophytic plants. The rhythm of the tides and the artificial management of the habitat have defined the distribution and number of birds that can be seen in the bay. Economic activities such as fish farms and salt production also influence the variety of birds around the protected areas.

    The main target today is one of the rarest birds in Europe, but it can be found in the Cadiz area due to a re-colonisation plan by the Spanish Authorities and nature conservation groups in Spain. Surprisingly in the winter months one of the bird’s favourite habitats is the golf courses in the Chiclana urbanization. There are several golf courses in the area, but after searching for twenty minutes, we eventually found the birds at the edge of a course full of early golfers. At last we came face to face [literally] with the Bald Ibis. This penchant for golf courses is both a protector and a danger, already one bird has been killed and one badly injured. They will never win a beauty contest, however they have a certain charm.

    
                                   Bald Ibis                        Bald Ibis Juvenile
                                                Bald Ibis: Adult                                        Bald Ibis:  Juvenile 

    After a light breakfast we then headed to the Bahia de Cadiz NP, a huge area, to search for several trip targets. Criss-crossing the bay area we stopped at several points and picked up the following, amongst many others: Audouin’s Gull, Caspian Tern, Greater Flamingo, Short-toed Eagle, Osprey, Whimbrel, Marsh Harrier, Avocet, Crested Lark, Grey Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Sanderling, Turnstone, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Sandwich Tern & Crag Martin.

                                          Crag Martin                               Slender-billed Gull 
                                                           Crag  Martin                          Slender-billed  Gull


    11/11/16: ISLA MAYOR RICE FIELDS/DEHESA de ABAJO/PUEBLA del RIO

    Sunny day with mild NW wind and temperature high of 22⁰C

    The rice fields of Isla Mayor and La Puebla del Rio are a very rich habitat, which attracts and maintains huge numbers of bird species during most of the year. The agriculture of rice maintains a large number of invertebrates, which are the food source for the birds.

    In the Dehesa de Abajo visitor centre the adjoining reservoir is a refuge for thousands of waterfowl, especially when autumn and winter are very dry and Donana and its surroundings have little water.

    Wildfowl flock at Dehejosa de Aba
    Part of the huge wildfowl flock in Dehesa de Abajo

    The number of birds in the rice fields is truly astonishing; everywhere we turned birds  were in the sky flying from one field to another depending on where the cutting was taking place. Unexpected was the large number of Common Cranes in the fields.

                            Common Cranes               Common Cranes

    The tracks that run along the edge of the rice fields allow you to use your vehicle as a mobile hide, very advantageous when you want to get close to the birds. The following is a summary of some of the birds seen:Black Stork, White Stork, Yellow-crowned Bishop, Common Waxbill, Corn Bunting, Spanish Sparrow, Penduline Tit, Bluethroat, Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Serin, Booted Eagle, Glossy Ibis, Great White Egret, Cattle Egret, Red-crested Pochard, Kingfisher, Black-winged Kite, Yellow-legged Gull, Iberian Grey Shrike, Spoonbill, Common Stonechat, Greater Flamingo, Crested Lark, Common Snipe, Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Common  Kestrel, Greenshank and a few distant unidentified warblers that appeared suddenly out of the reeds and then disappeared as quickly.

       Greater Flamingo         Night Herons disturbed by a Marsh Harrier
                                                               Greater  Flamingo                                    Night Herons & interloper
    
    
    
    
                   Green Sandpiper                  Wood Sandpiper                  Common Kestrel      
                      Green  Sandpiper                        Wood  Sandpiper                          Common Kestrel            

    SUMMARY

    Having been here in September and November, both periods offer some fantastic birding but if I had a preference it would be September, due to the huge numbers of birds that go through on migration. However, with Donana and surroundings as a backdrop, any trip will be rewarding at any time of year.

    I would like once again to thank Luismi for a superb three days in the field and his homemade delicacies that we ate en route.

     

    BIRD LIST

    BIRD

    LATIN

    AREA

    1

    Red-legged Partridge

    Alectoris rufa

    Several seen in Donana

    2

    Red-crested Pochard

    Netta rufina

    Large numbers in Donana

    3

    Greater Flamingo

    Phoenicopterus roseus

    Large numbers in Donana

    4

    Black Stork

    Ciconia nigra

    Several seen in Donana

    5

    White Stork

    Ciconia ciconia

    Large numbers in Donana

    6

    Northern Bald Ibis

    Geronticus eremita

    20 plus seen in Chiclana

    7

    Glossy Ibis

    Plegadis falcinellus

    Large numbers in Donana

    8

    Eurasian Spoonbill

    Platalea leucorodia

    30 plus in Donana/Cadiz

    9

    Night-Heron

    Nycticorax nycticorax

    Several seen in Donana

    10

    Cattle Egret

    Bubulcus ibis

    Large numbers in Donana

    11

    Grey Heron

    Ardea cinerea

    Several seen in Donana

    12

    Great  White Egret

    Ardea alba

    4 seen in Donana

    13

    Little Egret

    Egretta garzetta

    Large numbers in Donana

    14

    Great Cormorant

    Phalacrocorax carbo

    Several seen in Donana

    15

    Osprey

    Pandion haliaetus

    1 seen at Cadiz

    16

    Black-winged Kite

    Elanus caeruleus

    4 seen in Donana area

    17

    Red Kite

    Milvus milvus

    Several seen in Donana

    18

    Black Kite

    Milvus migrans

    4 seen in Donana

    19

    Griffon Vulture

    Gyps fulvus

    20 plus in Dos Hermanas

    20

    Short-toed Snake Eagle

    Circaetus gallicus

    1 seen in Bahia de Cadiz

    21

    Western Marsh Harrier

    Circus aeruginosus

    Several seen in Donana

    22

    Hen Harrier

    Circus cyaneus

    1 male seen in Donana

    23

    Common Buzzard

    Buteo buteo

    Several seen

    24

    Booted Eagle

    Hieraaetus pennatus

    3 birds seen Donana/Cadiz

    25

    Common Kestrel

    Falco tinnunculus

    Several seen in Donana

    26

    Peregrine Falcon

    Falco peregrinus

    1 bird near Isla Major

    27

    Moorhen

    Gallinula chloropus

    Several seen

    28

    Eurasian Coot

    Fulica atra

    Common in Donana

    29

    Common Crane

    Grus grus

    Large numbers in Donana

    30

    Oystercatcher

    Haematopus ostralegus

    Large numbers in Bahia de Cadiz

    31

    Black-winged Stilt

    Himantopus himantopus

    Large numbers in Donana

    32

    Avocet

    Recurvirostra avosetta

    Large numbers in Bahia de Cadiz

    33

    Lapwing

    Vanellus vanellus

    Large numbers in Donana

    34

    Grey Plover

    Pluvialis squatarola

    1 bird in Bahia de Cadiz

    35

    Ringed Plover

    Charadrius hiaticula

    Large numbers in Bahia de Cadiz

    36

    Common Snipe

    Gallinago gallinago

    Several seen in Donana

    37

    Black-tailed Godwit

    Limosa limosa

    Several seen in Donana

    38

    Whimbrel

    Numenius phaeopus

    1 bird in Bahia de Cadiz

    39

    Redshank

    Tringa totanus

    Large numbers in Donana

    40

    Common Greenshank

    Tringa nebularia

    Several seen in Donana

    41

    Green Sandpiper

    Tringa ochropus

    Several seen in Donana

    42

    Wood Sandpiper

    Tringa glareola

    3 birds on Bahia de Cadiz

    43

    Common Sandpiper

    Actitis hypoleucos

    Several seen in Donana

    44

    Turnstone

    Arenaria interpres

    Several seen in Bahia de Cadiz

    45

    Sanderling

    Calidris alba

    Several seen in Bahia de Cadiz

    46

    Curlew Sandpiper

    Calidris ferruginea

    Several seen in Bahia de Cadiz

    47

    Dunlin

    Calidris alpina

    Large numbers in Donana

    48

    Slender-billed Gull

    Larus genei

    Several seen in Bahia de Cadiz

    49

    Black-headed Gull

    Larus  ridibundus

    Large numbers in Donana

    50

    Audouin's Gull

    Larus audouinii

    20 plus seen in Bahia de Cadiz

    51

    Yellow-legged Gull

    Larus cachinnans

    Large numbers in Donana

    52

    Lesser Black-backed Gull

    Larus fuscus

    Large numbers in Donana

    53

    Caspian Tern

    Hydroprogne caspia

    20 plus seen in Bahia de Cadiz

    54

    Sandwich Tern

    Thalasseus sandvicensis

    200 plus seen in Bahia de Cadiz

    55

    Wood Pigeon

    Columba palumbus

    Common in most areas

    56

    Collared Dove

    Streptopelia decaocto

    30 plus seen

    57

    Common Kingfisher

    Alcedo atthis

    3 in Donana

    58

    Hoopoe

    Upupa epops

    5 seen in different areas

    59

    Wryneck

    Jynx torquilla

    1 seen at the Rio Guadiamar

    60

    Lesser Sp. Woodpecker

    Dendrocopos minor

    3 seen at the Rio Guadiamar

    61

    Green Woodpecker

    Picus viridis

    1 seen at the Rio Guadiamar

    62

    Southern Grey Shrike

    Lanius meridionalis

    1 seen at Dehesa de Abajo

    63

    Azure-winged Magpie

    Cyanopica cooki

    30+ seen at the Rio Guadiamar

    64

    Common Magpie

    Pica pica

    Several seen

    65

    Jackdaw

    Corvus monedula

    Several seen

    66

    Common Raven

    Corvus corax

    4 seen at the Rio Guadiamar

    67

    Great Tit

    Parus major

    4 seen at the Rio Guadiamar

    68

    Penduline Tit

    Remiz pendulinus

    Several seen in Donana

    69

    Crested Lark

    Galerida cristata

    Common in suitable habitat

    70

    Wood Lark

    Lullula arborea

    1 seen at Rio Guadiamar

    71

    Swallow

    Hirundo rustica

    10+ in Dehesa de Abajo

    72

    Eurasian Crag Martin

    Ptyonoprogne rupestris

    100+ in Cadiz

    73

    Cetti's Warbler

    Cettia cetti

    Several seen in Donana

    74

    Willow Warbler

    Phylloscopus trochilus

    2 seen at Rio Guadiamar

    75

    Common Chiffchaff

    Phylloscopus collybita

    Common in all areas

    76

    Reed Warbler

    Acrocephalus scirpaceus

    1 seen at Rio Guadiamar

    77

    Zitting Cisticola

    Cisticola juncidis

    Several seen in Donana

    78

    Eurasian Blackcap

    Sylvia atricapilla

    Common in all areas

    79

    Spotless Starling

    Sturnus unicolor

    Common in all areas

    80

    Blackbird

    Turdus merula

    Several seen in suitable habitat

    81

    Song Thrush

    Turdus philomelos

    Several seen in suitable habitat

    82

    Mistle Thrush

    Turdus viscivorus

    Several seen in suitable habitat

    83

    Robin

    Erithacus rubecula

    Several seen in suitable habitat

    84

    Bluethroat

    Luscinia svecica

     1 bird seen in Donana

    85

    Black Redstart

    Phoenicurus ochruros

    Common in all areas

    86

    Stonechat

    Saxicola rubicola

    Several seen in Donana

    87

    House Sparrow

    Passer domesticus

    Common in all areas

    88

    Spanish Sparrow

    Passer hispaniolensis

    Large numbers in Donana

    89

    Tree Sparrow

    Passer montanus

    Large numbers in Donana

    90

    Dunnock

    Prunella modularis

    Several seen in suitable habitat

    91

    White Wagtail

    Motacilla alba alba

    Large numbers in Donana

    92

    Meadow Pipit

    Anthus pratensis

    Several seen in Donana

    93

    Chaffinch

    Fringilla coelebs

    Several seen in suitable habitat

    94

    Serin

    Serinus serinus

    Common in all areas

    95

    Greenfinch

    Carduelis chloris

    Common in all areas

    96

    Goldfinch

    Carduelis carduelis

    Common in all areas

    97

    Linnet

    Carduelis cannabina

    Common in all areas

    98

    Bullfinch

    Pyrrhula pyrrhula

    Several seen in suitable habitat

    99

    Corn Bunting

    Miliaria calandra

    Large numbers in Donana

    PDF version of Andalusia Trip Report

    Ed.O’Hara

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