Finding Birds in Andalucia update

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Odiel estuary

April 2011 At site 2, Red-Knobbed Coot exactly as stated, breeding in the same place! Osprey nest still present at site 6. Site 7 crawling with people! (Alan Whitehead)

Coto Donana

Sept 2012 There is now a by-pass around El Rocio which makes the directions a little confusing. If you approach from the north, you pass the west side of El Rocio and rejoin the 'old' road near the entrance to La Rocina (site 2). The old road back from there to El Rocio is closed so you can only drive back to the village via the by-pass (there is a well-signposted roundabout). Of course, the same applies in the opposite direction - you can't drive from the village to la Rocina and beyond without having to go back to the by-pass. You can still walk from the village to la Rocina via the old bridge - now with much less traffic. (Keith Betton)

Nov 2012 The new road means that if you want to get to Vilamanrique, you have to leave the by-pass at the El Rocio turn-off then turn left at 'the roundabout near pylons and masts'. Work has been finished on the 50km of tracks around the northern part of the Donana so this track is now in very good condition - that's great news, as its not been much fun bouncing along that track for 50 km! (Kate Holland)

March 2017 Definitely still worth the long drive around the northern part of the area (pages 10 -12); good views of Lesser Kestrels, Cranes, Hen Harrier, Little Owl, Stone Curlew, also PT Sandgrouse, Red Kite, Spanish Sparrow, Bonelli's Eagle and lots more (Chris Barfield).

Brazo del Este

April 2011 No sign of Rufous Bushchat at site 5, despite leaving it till the last day! Western Olivaceous Warbler seen in area recommended. Collared Pratincoles seen distantly commuting to Brazo del Este (unfortunately not visited) (Alan Whitehead)

2nd June 2015 At site5, at least 6 Western Olivaceous Warblers plus Red Avadavat, Purple Gallinule and Little Bittern but no Rufous Bush Chat (Alain Pataud)

Sept 2015 700 Glossy Ibis at the large pool at site 1. The warehouse en route to site 3 now goes by the name Travir Transitos (not Mediterraneo Algadon) (Harry and Denise Failey)

Algaida wetlands

April 2011 100's of Slender-billed Gulls at site 2, many White-headed Ducks at site 3, large Black Kite colony at site 4 plus 5 Booted Eagles. Lesser Short-toed Lark seen at site 5, 4 Marbled Ducks seen well at site 6 on north side of the road but no R.K. Coot or White-headed Duck (or P-T Sandgrouse at site 7) (Alan Whitehead)

May 2015 South of Algaida, beyond Sanlucar, is a colony of Little Swifts on buildings by the harbour at Chipiona  at 36.7454N, 6.4318W (Jean-Pierre and Nan Lucas-Vanuytsel)

June 2015 White-headed Ducks at site 3 and Red0knobbed Coot and Marbled Duck at site 6 (Alain Pataud)

Sept 2015 28 Marbled Duck at site 6. Site 7 looked unpromising as it is now mostly under plough. (Harry and Denise Failey)

Jerez lagoons

April 2011 No Red-Knobbed Coots seen at site 1 (Alan Whitehead)

Sept 2015 One Marbled Duck at site 5 (Harry and Denise Failey)

La Janda and the Sierra de la Plata

April 2011 4 Bald Ibis seen at dawn in last field on inland side of Barbate coast road just before Zahara de los Plata (Atunes). No sign of any Swifts on 3 visits to site 2 at dusk, last on 21/4 (Alan Whitehead)

23 Sept 2013 600+ Glossy Ibis, most concentrated around the wetland area. Also seen in this area: Ruff, Collared Pratincole, Snipe, Shoveller, Pintail, G.W. Egret, L. Egret, B.W. Stilt, Mallard, Lapwing Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier. We crossed the bridge and followed the track up to a farm. Bonell's Eagle had been seen hunting over the cotton field, but we were out of luck. Ditto with the Black-Winged Kite. But following the track to the T-junction, we saw a pair of Spanish Imperial Eagle hunting over the trees. Magnificent!  Other interest: Bee Eater, large flocks of Woodpigeon, flock of Lesser Kestrel, and of course White Stork in large numbers. Montenmedio Golf Club, just north of La Janda direction Cadiz: we were told of sighting of Bald Ibis, so went to investigate. Sure enough, we found 6, but can't imagine they can be wild. But wild or not, they were magnificent creatures. (Pat Harrison)

June 2015 No sign of White-rumped Swifts at site 2. Maybe they are obstructed by the fence across the cave. (Alain Pataud)

to Aug 15 Bald Ibis regularly seen at the Barbate marismas, viewed from rough track on right after the large palm tree just south of Barbate. Also Audouin’s Gull, Stone Curlew, Calandra Lark etc (Harry and Denise Failey)

Tarifa to Gibraltar

April 2011 2 Audouin's Gulls seen at site 4 - took 4 attempts! Seen near campsite - not easy! Site 1 was shrouded in mist on the "best" day for weather when we visited! On other days we viewed from a distance covered in mist/cloud even in high winds which were persistent. Migration non-existent on visit and on all visits to the southern tip in gale force easterlies! (Alan Whitehead)

24-27 Sept 2013 Spent each morning at the Cazalla Migres Watchpoint. The first two mornings were unbelievable. Hundreds of raptors, the sky was full and they were passing overhead non-stop. Species seen: Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Ruppell's Vulture, Sparrowhawk, Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Black Stork, Marsh Harrier, Swallow, R.R. Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Swift, Pallid Swift, White-rumped Swift. Ruppell's Vulture was seen most days at Cazalla during the week we were there.    The sheer numbers made this an awesome couple of days. (Pat Harrison)

Sept 2017 Harry and Denise Failey warn that the track to the Algorrobo watchpoint at site 3 is almost impossible to negotiate by car, even with a 4 x 4 - one couple reported smashing their sump whilst trying it. Meanwhile two of the other watchpoints now have visitor centre and toilet facilities.

Laguna de Fuente de Piedra

April 2011 Lesser Flamingoes reported but not seen despite extensive searching. Incredible numbers of Greater! White-headed Ducks present at site 4. Site 5 was disappointing with little seen except Blue Rock Thrush and Crag Martin (Alan Whitehead)

19th May 2012 Water levels falling but 100+ Greater Flamingo. Curlew Sandpiper on small pool by visitor centre. (John Hague)

Lagunas de Espera

April 2011 No sign of any Red-Knobbed Coots at any of the Lagoons. Water levels very high here (road flooded). A theme repeated at all water bodies. (Alan Whitehead)

Via Verde near Coripe

April 2011 Site 2 - pair of Bonelli's Eagle present at same nest site...fantastic views! (Alan Whitehead)

March 17 Well worth the walk from Coripe to Pena de Zaframagon, I had Golden, Bonelli's and ST Eagle, Sparrowhawk, Peregrine, Cirl Bunting, lots of Iberian Chiffchaff, Blue Rock Thrush and Chough (Chris Barfield).


May 2013 Its not just me who struggles to find Dupont's lark and Trumpeter Finch in Almeria. Mike Cotgias writes 'Our hotel was 3 miles east of the airport, overlooking the steppe area between El Toyo and the airport, very convenient and can be recommended. Overflights by Short-Toed and Booted Eagle were not uncommon and we had Stone Curlews fly over the hotel. Two pairs of hoopoes called from dawn till dusk. We were handily situated for some of the "hot-spots" for Dupont's Larks but dawn and dusk trips yielded nothing. Walked more ramblas than Clint Eastwood but didn't see or hear Trumpeter Finches.'

Sept 2015 For Black Wheatears at site 6, take the road to the left before the lighthouse (signed to Aula del Mar) and follow it as far as a car park at Cala Raja; look for wheatears on overhead wires or on the hillside from the car park. No Trumpeter Finches (again). The area around site 4 is rapidly being encroached by the dreaded polytunnels. For site 8 ‘you need to drive under the entrance gate to mini hollywood and continue past 2 car parks on the left and the attraction to your right before reaching the rough track in open country’. No Trumpeter Finches anyway. (Harry and Denise Failey)

22nd February 2016. At site 6 still no Trumpeter Finches but 150 Balearic Shearwaters sitting on a calm sea in the bay and several Black Wheatears from the rough road east of the lighthouse. 5 Stone Curlew in the scrub at site 5 between the north end and second hide (Harry and Denise Failey)

Rio Guadiaro

26th Sept 2013 Estuary a few km north of Gibraltar. Very disappointing. Difficult to find and when we did, the hide was locked and looked abandoned. No access that we could find into the saltmarsh. The only interest was Gannets diving just off the  beach. (Pat Harrison)

Las Doblas lagoons

August 2016 All the well-known wetlands on the Coto Donana were completely dry but there were plenty of waterbirds (and Olivaceous Warblers) at a little-known site just west of Sanlucar La Mayor (not to be confused with Sanlucar de Barrameda).  From Sanlucar, just before the river, there is a car park  (37.3971N, 6.2258W) with picnic tables and footpaths leading to the north. The shallow lagoon is best observed from the eastern boardwalk during the morning. Highlights were: Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Purple Heron, Grey Heron, Glossy Ibis, Black-winged Stilt, Little-ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Gull-billed Tern, Turtle Dove, Kingfisher, Golden Oriole, Common Waxbill and lots of of Cettis and Olivaceous Warblers.
If you continue west and cross the river, turn first right then immediately left towards the solar power plants. After a couple of hundred meters there is another lake (37.4045N, 6.2399W) on the right of the road (200 Mallard and a few Great-crested Grebes in August). If you continue past the lake, the area of scrub between the lake and the next turning right was very productive, and held Black-shouldered Kite, Raven, Red-legged Partridge, Iberian Grey Shrike and loads of Corn Buntings. (Jim Sellwood)


March 2017

The sewage ponds north of the village are now signposted 'Laguna del

Gobierno' from the roundabout in the village. The site is still only open

by arrangement, but finding the gate open I wandered in and was treated to a

guided tour by the local birders! This was well worth it, there was a flock

of 10 Garganey, a single Ferruginous Duck, White-headed Ducks, Common and

Red-Crested Pochard. Just past the main entrance there's a hide, which is only open by arrangement, but there's a wall next to it which you can easily climb on to get reasonable views of the main lake, which is by far the best one. Further on by the crematorium there's a sign describing a short bird trail around local fields, I had a quick look, plenty of larks, including Short-toed, and a pair of Montagu's Harriers, presumed migrants (Chris Barfield).

Finding Birds in Andalucia

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