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TRIP REPORTS. JUNE 2006

18th June. My tour today was with Bill Boyle and Kathy Thompson from New Jersey, USA. After collecting the couple from El Rocío we drove along the Arroyo de la Cañadas and found Squacco Herons, Spoonbills, Little Egrets, Black-crowned Night Herons, Yellow Wagtails and Serins.
We stopped at the bridge over the Arroyo de Santa Maria, where there were Reed Warblers, Zitting Cisticolas, Corn Buntings, Southern Grey and Woodchat Shrikes, Hoopoes, Black-billed and Iberian Magpies, Barn Swallows, Pallid Swifts and Black Kites.
In the Coredor Verde we saw Crested Larks, Sardinian, Cetti's and Melodious Warblers, Tree Sparrows, 7 Black-shouldered Kites, Kestrels, a Montagu's Harrier, Booted Eagles, Purple Herons, Cattle Egrets, Sand Martins, Red-rumped Swallows, Spotless Starlings and Collared Pratincoles.


In the Isla Mayor region we saw a Red-knobbed Coot, Common Pochards, Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, White Storks, Greater Flamingos, Purple Swamp-hens, Whiskered and Black Terns, Great Crested, Black-necked and Little Grebes, Jackdaws and a female White-headed Duck with six ducklings.
In the northern marshes there were Short-toed Eagles, Ravens, a Little Owl, Little Bitterns, Glossy Ibis, Great Reed Warblers, a Savi's Warbler, Greater Short-toed Larks, 2 Great White Egrets and 19 Pin-tailed Sandgrouse.

© Dani Huertas www.daniscoping.com

16th June. With me today was Tony Bates from Southampton in the UK. The first area we visited was the Corredor Verde and the Lagunas de Mancho Zurillo. On and around the lagoons we saw Purple and Grey Herons, Little Egrets, Crested Larks, Hoopoes, Bee-eaters, Goldfinches, Serins, Greenfinches, Iberian Magpies, White Storks, Common and Pallid Swifts, Barn Swallows and Sand Martins. As we drove through the Corredor Verde there were 3 Black-shouldered Kites, Common Buzzards, Booted Eagles, Kestrels and Turtle Doves.
We then drove to the Isla Mayor ricefields and found Glossy Ibis, Purple Swamp-hens, Whiskered, Black and Gull-billed Terns, Marsh Harriers, Black-crowned Night Herons, Yellow Wagtails, Zitting Cisticolas, Reed Warblers and a Little Owl.
At the Cañada de Rianzuella there were Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, Common and Red-crested Pochards, Greater Flamingos, Black-necked, Great Crested and Little Grebes, Woodchat Shrikes and Jackdaws.
We spent the afternoon in the northern marshes area, finding many of the previously mentioned birds and adding Griffon Vultures, Short-toed Eagles, Ravens, Spoonbills, Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwings, a Great White Egret, Catle Egrets, Squacco Herons, Great Reed Warblers, Greater Short-toed Larks, Red-rumped Swallows and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse to our list.

Griffon Vulture. © Jorma Tenovuo.

www.jtenovuo.com


15th June. Today's tour was with Joäo Jara Carvalho from Lisbon and his wife and 11 year old son. We began the tour at the Corredor Verde, where there were White Storks, Grey and Purple Herons, Little Egrets, Black Kites, Bee-eaters, Iberian Magpies, Woodchat Shrikes, Spanish Sparrows and Crested Larks.
We moved on to the Isla Mayor, in search of a few of Joäo's target species. In a ricefield we saw about 40 Glossy Ibis and as many Spoonbills. A little further on we found a Squacco Heron, Yellow Wagtails, Great Reed Warblers, a Green Sandpiper, a Little Owl, Whiskered and Black Terns, Booted Eagles and Cattle Egrets.
The Cañada de Rianzuela produced 3 male White-headed Ducks, which were "lifers" for Joáo, Common and Red-crested Pochards, Greater Flamingos, Great Crested, Black-necked and Little Grebes, Gull-billed Terns, Jackdaws, Spotless Starlings and Zitting Cisticolas.
In the northern marsh region there were Greater and Lesser Short-toed Larks, Callandra Larks, Purple Swamp-hens, a Great White Egret, Ravens, Short-toed Eagles, a Marsh Harrier, Black-winged Stilts, Avocets and Black-tailed Godwits.
Another of Joäo´s targets was found as we were leaving the marsh. We had spent a fair time in the morning looking for Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, without success, but along the Caño de Guadiamar I spotted 3 in a recently cut hay field. further checking of the field with our telescopes produced at least 18 sandgrouse. A good end to the day.
13th June. With me today were Cathy Kemp, Andrew and Rosemary Rowntree and Peter, all from the Estepona area of the Costa del Sol. We began the birding at the Raya Real, on the way from El Rocio to Villamanrique. One of the main target species was the Iberian (Azure-winged) Magpie and good numbers of these were soon located in the forest, along with Hoopoes, Woodchat Shrikes, Tree Sparrows, Spotless Starlings, Ravens, White Storks and a Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin.
In the Corredor Verde we saw Black Kites, Booted Eagles, Common Buzzards, Grey, Purple and Black-crowned Night Herons, Little Egrets, Crested Larks, Turtle Doves and another of the group's target birds, Black-shouldered Kites.
At the "reedbeds" there were Reed and Savi's Warblers, Zitting Cisticolas, Whiskered and Gull-billed Terns, Little Egrets, Purple Swamp-hens and Collared Pratincoles, whist at the Cañada de Rianzuela we found Avocets, Black-necked and Little Grebes, Common Pochards, Greater Flamingos, a Muscovy Duck, Jackdaws and Bee-eaters.
We spent most of the afternoon in the northern marshes area, finding 2 Short-toed Eagles, Common Kestrels, Red Kites, Marsh Harriers, Glossy Ibis, Squacco Herons, Little Bitterns, Spoonbills, Great Crested Grebes, Lapwings, Black-winged Stilts, Red-crested Pochards, Great Reed Warblers, Calandra and Greater Short-toed Larks, Yellow Wagtails and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse.
12th June. Today I was guiding John and Val Lloyd from Alcaidesa, near to Gibraltar. After collecting them from the Hotel Toruno in El Rocío, we paid a quick visit to the marsh where there were Black-crowned Night Herons, Spoonbills, Greater Flamingos, Black-tailed Godwits, Grey Herons, Squacco Herons, Black-winged Stilts and Barn Swallows.
We then drove to the Lagunas de Mancho Zurillo and the Corredor Verde. The main birds seen at these locations included Iberian Magpies, Bee-eaters, Hoopoes, Crested Larks, Woodchat Shrikes, Little Egrets, Purple Herons, White Storks, Red-legged Partridges, Black Kites and Booted Eagles.
A visit to the "reedbeds", in the middle of the Isla Mayor ricefields, produced Whiskered and Gull-billed Terns, Reed Warblers, a Savi's Warbler, Yellow Wagtails, Zitting Cisticolas, a Short-toed Treecreeper and Glossy Ibis.
At the Cañada de Rianzuela we saw Black-necked Grebes, Common and Red-crested Pochards, White-headed Ducks, Avocets and Jackdaws.
An afternoon tour around the northern marshes produced thousands of birds, but the only new birds we added to our list were Great Reed Warblers, Little and Great Crested Grebes, Purple Swamp-hens, Cattle Egrets, Ravens, Greater Short-toed Larks, a Marsh Harrier and a Little Bittern.
9th June. Today I was guiding Wulf and Heidi Bretzel from Switzerland and their friends Herman and Barbara from Munich, Germany. We began at the El Rocío marshes, watching Greater Flamingos, Spoonbills, Black-winged Stilts, Black-tailed Godwits, Grey Herons, Squacco Herons, Greylag Geese, Gull-billed Terns, Barn Swallows and Reed Warblers.
We drove along the Villamanrique road and saw Iberian and Black-billed Magpies, Woodchat Shrikes, Corn Buntings and Serins. We then stopped at the palace in Villamanrique and saw the White Storks with their now quite well developed offspring.
We visited the Corredor Verde, finding Black Kites, Booted Eagles, Black-shouldered Kites, a Southern Grey Shrike, Purple Herons, Little and Cattle Egrets, Goldfinches and Tree Sparrows.
At the Cañada de Rianzuala there was a Marbled Duck, Common and Red-crested Pochards, Shovelers, Black-necked Grebes, Whiskered Terns, White-headed Ducks, Jackdaws, Bee-eaters and Marsh Harriers.
Two Red-knobbed Coots, Night Herons, Little Grebes and Sardinian Warblers were seen at a gravel pit near the Venta del Cruce.
In the northern marshes there were Avocets, Lapwings, Glossy Ibis, Ravens, Short-toed Eagles, Common Kestrels, Yellow Wagtails, Sand Martins, Spotless Starlings, Great Reed Warblers, Purple Swamp-hens and a Great White Egret.
As we were leaving the marshes, 2 Pin-tailed Sandgrouse flew past the car and landed about 150 metres behind us. I turned the car around and was able to park within 35 metres of the birds, getting excellent views of them as they fed.
7th June. After having a week off, and visiting Köln in Germany for a 5-day break, it was back to work today guiding Stuart Rubin and his friends Don and Rose, who all live in California.
I collected the group from Sevilla and headed for Villamanrique, where the White Storks on their nests in the palace gardens put on a good display for us. A male Serin stood proudly on a nearby branch, offering excellent views. Barn Swallows, Crested Larks and Spotless Starlings were also seen.
I had hoped to go to the Corredor Verde, but all the tracks were blocked by the tractors, trailers, 4x4 vehicles and ornately decorated horse-drawn caravans of thousands of pilgrims returning from the annual religious festival in El Rocío.
Changing the plan, I drove to the Dehesa de Pilas and we contented ourselves with views of Little and Cattle Egrets, Collared Pratincoles, Black Kites and Yellow Wagtails.
At the Cortijo de las Madrigales, we saw Black-crowned Night Herons and Spoonbills. We crossed the Entremuros and visited several sites in the Isla Mayor area. Two Red-knobbed Coots showed briefly at the usual gravel pit, along with Moorhens and Little Grebes. At the Dehesa de Abajo there were Bee-eaters, Jackdaws and a Booted Eagle.
There were more than a thousand Greater Flamingos at the Cañada de Rianzuela, many of them within 20 metres of the road. A group of 6 male White-headed Ducks were also seen at close-quarters, along with Common Pochards, Avocets and Black-winged Stilts.
In the afternoon we took a sedate drive out to the northern marsh area. On the way we stopped to watch a magnificent male Marsh Harrier, a pair of Short-toed Eagles and a pair of Little Owls.
Much of the wetland boardering the national park has now dried out, including the Lucio del Lobo, which contained plenty of water when I last visited it 10 days ago, but is now a dust-bowl.
There are still many breeding birds at the JAV, including Glossy Ibis, Squacco Herons, Purple Herons and Great Reed Warblers. We also saw Red-crested Pochards,Gadwalls, Black-necked and Great Crested Grebes, aGreat White Egret, Ravens, Kestrels and 2 Red Kites.