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TRIP REPORTS. OCTOBER 2005.

1st October. My first tour in October was with Scott and Cheryl Jones from Louisville, Kentucky and Gerry and Barbara Merrell from San Francisco, California. The first sites we visited were the Lagunas de Mancho Zurillo and the Corredor Verde, where we saw Common Pochards, Shovellers, Little-ringed Plovers, Green Sandpipers, Little and Cattle Egrets, an Osprey, 5 Black-shouldered Kites, Common Buzzards, Marsh Harriers, Southern Grey Shrikes, Iberian Magpies, Hoopoes, Tree Sparrows, Greenfinches, Stonechats, Serins and Crested Larks.
We then passed alongside the Arroyo de las Cigüeñas and the Dehesa de Pilas, finding Ravens, Yellow Wagtails, Willow Warblers, Tawny Pipits, Northern Wheatears, Whinchats, Red Kites and a Little Bustard.
The next stop was at the "reedbeds" where White Storks, Grey and Black-crowned Night Herons, Little Grebes, Green Sandpipers, Common Waxbills and Golden Bishops were seen.
After lunch we crossed the Río Guadalquivir and visited the Brazo del Este. At the numerous sites here we saw Black Storks, Teal, Wood and Common Sandpipers, Ringed Plovers, Lapwings, Purple and Squacco Herons, Black-winged Stilts, Purple Herons, Ruff, Snipe, a Little Stint, Black-tailed Godwits, Purple Swamp-hens, Barn Swallows, Sand Martins, Common Kestrels, another Osprey and a Booted Eagle.

3rd October. Today's tour was with Chris and Liz Kidd from Yorkshire and their Spanish friends Nacho and Victoria from Madrid. I collected the group from El Rocío and as we passed the Bar La Pará, on the Villamanrique road, I noticed a shape way out in a field. I immediately pulled over and trained my binoculars on it and was amazed to see it was a Great Bustard. I quickly set up the telescope and allowed the others to have good views of the bird, which was about 200 metres away, but showed very well in good light. This is the first GB I have ever recorded in the Doñana region.
A bit further along the road I again pulled over after spotting a flock of about a dozen Red-legged Partridges. Iberian Magpies, Common Buzzards and a large flock of Wood Pigeons were also seen as we drove along the road.
We then visited the Lagunas de Mancho Zurillo and the Corredor Verde, where we saw Hoopoes, Little and Cattle Egrets, Grey Herons, Green Sandpipers, Little-ringed Plovers, Black-winged Stilts, Great Crested and Little Grebes, Goldfinches, Serins, Corn Buntings, House and Sand Martins, Red-rumped Swallows, an Osprey and 5 black-shouldered Kites. Toward the end of the Corredor Verde we found 100+ Black-crowned Night Herons, roosting in tamarisk trees.
At the Arroyo de las Cigüeñas there were Yellow Wagtails, Northern Wheatears, Crested Larks and Southern Grey Shrikes and at the Dehesa de Banco we managed to find a few Stone Curlews.
A tour around the Isla Mayor produced two flocks Glossy Ibis, totalling about 300 birds, thousands of White Storks plus a few Black Storks, a Squacco Heron, Common Kestrels and both Marsh and Montagu's Harriers.
At the "reedbeds" there were good numbers of Golden Bishops and Common Waxbills, but no waders were present, which is very unusual.
As we were returning back to Villamanrique, I spotted 2 Little Bustards near the Arroyo de las Cigüeñas and pulled over to set the telescope up on them. More LB's were seen and we counted at least 11 of them, from less than 100 metres.

4th October.. my tour today was with John and Sue Morton from Oxford and Bill Burrows from Wotton-under-Edge in Wiltshire. We began at the forests of Torrejones y Las Labrados, where Iberian Magpies and Hoopoes provided good views. A number of Red-legged Partridges, Wood Pigeons and Crested Larks were also seen.
At the Corredor Verde, there were 5 Black-shouldered Kites, Buzzards, Marsh Harriers, Kestrels, Southern Grey Shrikes, Serins, Sardinian and Willow Warblers, Lapwings Ravens and 50-60 Black-crowned Night Herons. On the lagoons we saw Common Pochards, Shovelers, Tufted Ducks, Great Crested Grebes, Grey Herons, Coots, Little and Cattle Egrets, Black-winged Stilts and Little-ringed Plovers.
As we drove along the Camino de las Cigüeñas we found Whinchats, Stonechats, Yellow Wagtails, Northern Wheatears, a Montagu's Harrier and a number of Stone Curlews.
We then visited several sites in the Isla Mayor region, finding thousands of gulls (mainly Yellow-legged, Black-headed and Lesser Blackbacks), White and Black Storks, Green and Wood Sandpipers, a Kingfisher, an Osprey, 2 Booted Eagles, Greater Flamingos, Ruff, Greenshanks and hundreds of Glossy Ibis.
We finished the day at the "reedbeds", finding Squacco Herons, Purple Swamp-hens, Golden Bishops and Common Waxbills.

8th October. Today I was guiding Neil and Karen Ashton from Birmingham. After collecting the couple from the Casa Doñana www.casadonana.com I headed straight for the Corredor Verde and the Lagunas de Mancho Zurillo.
At the first lagoon there was an Osprey that showed well for over 15 minutes and a Red Kite passed by, about 200 metres away. We also saw Little-ringed Plovers, Green Sandpipers, Little and Cattle Egrets, Grey Herons, Shovelers and Coots. In the surrounding scrub and trees we saw Iberian Magpies, Hoopoes, Crested Larks, Great and Blue Tits, Stonechats and Greenfinches. A few Woodlarks were calling, but we never managed to get a sight of them.
At the second lagoon we added a Great Crested Grebe, Common Sandpipers, Serins, Goldfinches, Robins, House Martins and Barn Swallows.
As we drove through the Corredor Verde we spotted 4 Black-shouldered Kites, Kestrels, Buzzards, Ravens, Hobbys, Southern Grey Shrikes, Corn Buntings, Red-legged Partridges, Sardinian and Willow Warblers, a Barn Owl and about 60 Black-crowned Night Herons.
We then drove to the Dehesa de Banco and the Arroyo de la Cigüeñas, where 16 Stone Curlews, 4 Little Bustards, White Storks, Yellow Wagtails and Northern Wheatears were found.
During the afternoon we toured the Isla Mayor and Hato Raton rice fields. We stopped at numerous sites and recorded 300 - 400 Glossy Ibis, a Purple Heron, Greater Flamingos, Spoonbills, Black-winged Stilts, Purple Swamp-hens, 100's of Snipe, Lapwings, Wood Sandpipers, Dunlins, Redshanks, Greenshanks, 4 Black Storks, Common Waxbills, Golden Bishops, a Kingfisher and about 25 Marsh Harriers.

10th October. With me today were John and Jill Wilkinson from Bath and Simon and Sheila Wood from Cheshire. We started the birding at the Corredor Verde and the Lagunas de Mancho Zurillo and the first bird we saw was a Red Kite, one of three seen altogether. An Osprey posed well for over 15 minutes and numerous Buzzards and Kestrels were also seen. At the lagoons we found several Little-ringed Plovers, Green Sandpipers, Grey Herons, Little Egrets, Common Pochards and a Great Crested Grebe.
Along the Corredor Verde we recorded about 60 Black-crowned Night Herons, Southern Grey Shrikes, Stonechats, Whinchats, Gold and Greenfinches, Serins, Hoopoes, Robins, Sardinian Warblers, Ravens, a Short-toed Eagle and 11 Black-shouldered Kites. Ywo more B-s Kites were seen elsewhere during the day, making a total of 13, a record for one of my tours.
The next area we visited was the Arroyo de la Cigüeñas. More Hoopoes were seen, along with Northern Wheatears, Spotless Starlings, Meadow Pipits and 4 Little Bustards.
A visit to the Dehesa de Banco produced excellent views of about 30 Stone Curlews and a good number of White Storks.
We then drove around the Isla Mayor, visiting several sites and finding Greater Flamingos, Black Storks, over 150 Glossy Ibis Black-winged Stilts, Spotted Redshanks, Black-tailed Godwits, Marsh Harriers and 2 Hobbys.
We then drove out to the Casa de Bombas and the Hato Raton rice fields, but although we saw many of the birds we had previously recorded, we only managed to add Spoonbills, Cormorants, Greenshanks and Greylag Geese to our list.

13th October. Today I was guiding Doug and Lois Thomas from Toronto, Canada. We began at the Corredor Verde and the nearby lagoons. Almost immediately I spotted the first of four Black-shouldered Kites we were to see and this was quickly followed by Red-legged-Partridges, Serins, Southern Grey Shrikes, Willow Warblers, Crested Larks, Stonechats and Hoopoes. On and around the lagoons we found Common Pochards, Shovelers, Little and Cattle Egrets, Green Sandpipers, Great and Blue Tits, Buzzards and Kestrels. At the end of the Corredor Verde we had excellent close-up views of about 100 Black-crowned Night Herons.
At the Arroyo de la Cigüeñas we found Northern Wheatears White Storks and a very late migrating Woodchat Shrike. We then moved on to the Dehesa de Banco, where numerous Stone Curlews were seen from 50 metres.
Following two days of rain, the Cañada de Rianzuela has been transformed from an arid dessert to a lagoon once more. There were thousands of birds present, mainly Yellow-legged, Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, but there were also hundreds of Black-winged Stilts and about 40 Avocets.
We then drove around the Isla Mayor rice fields and found several small flocks (up to 60 birds) of Glossy Ibis and hundreds of Lapwings.
We wanted to find some Flamingo, so I detoured into the Isla Minima area in search of them. I suddenly noticed two birds of prey, standing in a harvested rice field. I picked up the first one in my binoculars, which turned out to be a female Marsh Harrier, but it was the second one that interested me more. It was feeding about 80 metres from the road and I quickly recognized it as an adult Spotted Eagle. I was able to get out of the vehicle and set up the telescope, getting cracking views, before it finally flew and landed about 100 metres further away.
As I was putting the telescope I heard the unmistakeable call of a flamingo and sure enough, just 50 metres away, but out of our view from where we were parked, were about 80 Greater Flamingos, feeding in the next field.

18th October. With me today were Ed Rush and his partner Yvonne from Kent. Ed was last with me in April but he was now back for a spot of autumn birding. We began at the Corredor Verde where we soon found the first of 8 Black-shouldered Kites that were to be seen during the day. We stopped at the "Egret's roost" but the lagoon was sadly lacking in birds. However, the surrounding trees and other vegetation held Crested Larks, Hoopoes, Red-legged Partridges,Iberian Magpies, Serins, Green and Goldfinches, Southern Grey Shrikes, Stonechats and both Tree and Rock Sparrows.
Further along the track we saw Buzzards, Kestrels, Corn Buntings, 100+ Black-crowned Night Herons and two Cetti's Warblers, one of which perched openly in a tamarisk bush just 10 metres away, giving cracking views of this normally elusive bird.
We then visited the Isla Mayor and Isla Minima rice fields, where Greater Flamingos, thousands of White Storks, 12 Black Storks, Black-winged Stilts, Greenshanks, Common Sandpipers, Spoonbills, Marsh Harriers, a Booted Eagle and 3 Ospreys were found.
We then drove out to the José Antonio Valverde centre where we saw Red Kites, a Peregrine, Purple Swamp-hens, Pintails, Common Pochards, Gadwalls, Little Grebes, Yellow Wagtails, Zitting Cisticolas, Northern Wheatears, a Black Redstart, Little Owls and a flock of over 1,000 adult Greater Flamingos parading in a Lagoon.

21st October. On today's tour were Chris and Ursula Brookes from Bedford and Marcel and Gaby Lefever from Belgium. The first site we visited was the Cañada de Rianzuela, Where hundreds of White Storks and Black-winged Stilts, thousands of Yellow-legged, Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Grey Herons, Geenshanks, Lapwings and a Kingfisher provided a good start to the day. We then moved on to the Corredor Verde where numerous Black-shouldered Kites, Buzzards, Kestrels, Ravens, Southern Grey Shrikes, Red-legged Partridges, Crested Larks, Stonechats, Woodlarks, a Little Owl, Hoopoes and Iberian Magpies were recorded.
In the afternoon we visited the Isla Mayor rice fields and found an Osprey, Little and Temminck's Stints, Ringed and Little-ringed Plovers, Snipe, Cattle and Little Egrets, a Turtle Dove and hundreds of Glossy Ibis.
We also visited the José Antonio Valverde Centre and the Hato Raton rice fields. Here we added Greater Flamingos, Purple Swamp-hens, Gadwall, Teal, Shovelers, Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits, Cormorants, Black Storks and a Red Kite to our list.

22nd October. Today's tour was with Graham and Jill Hollox from Shropsire and was conducted around several sites in the west of the region. The first site that we visited was the Estero de Domingo Rubio near Palos. At first view there appeared to be only Crested Larks, Stonechats, Grey Herons, Cormorants, Coots and Cattle Egrets present, but a bit of searching revealed Purple Swamp-hens, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwits, Little Egrets, Little Grebes, Kestrels, Ravens, a Marsh Harrier, Reed and Willow Warblers and fleeting glimpses of a Little Bittern and two Common Waxbills.
Our next stop was at the Río Tinto at La Rábida and we were fortunate with the ebbing tide as waders were just moving onto the exposed mudbanks to feed. We recorded Sanderlings, Ruddy Turnstones, Dunlins, Grey and Ringed Plovers, Whimbrels, Common Sandpipers, Redshanks and Yellow-legged, Black-headed and Lesser Blackback Gulls.
We then moved on to the Laguna el Portil, hoping to find some of the scarcer duck species. We were in luck with a pair of white-headed Ducks, Pintails, Teal, Common Pochards and a single Ferrugionous Duck. We also saw a Hoopoe, House Martins, Sardinian Warblers, Green Sandpipers, Black-winged Stilts and both Black and Little Terns.
We then drove to La Ribera and found White Storks and many of the previously mentioned birds, but heavy rain called a sudden halt to any more birding at that site.
After a 20 minute coffee break we went to the Marismas de Río Piedras and found 7 Caspian Terns and a number of Sandwich Terns. Next stop was at the Marismas del Odiel where we saw Greater Flamingos, Avocets, Greenshanks, hundreds of Audouin,s Gulls, Bar-tailed Godwits, Curlews, Kentish Plovers, 2 Peregrine Falcons and 2 Ospreys.
Our last port of call was at the Laguna Primera de Palos where we found Wigeon, a Squacco Heron and 3 Red-knobbed Coots.

24th October. On my tour today were Colin and Jill Haines from Cheshire, Andy and Helen Pay from Helston in Cornwall and David and Karen Adair from Seattle, Washington. We began at the Corredor Verde, where several Black-shouldered Kites, Buzzards, Kestrels, Booted Eagles, Marsh and Hen Harriers and a Spanish Imperial Eagle were seen. Other birds included Little Egrets, Grey and Black-crowned Night Herons, Shovelers, Teal, Common Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Great Crested Grebes, Common Coots, Cormorants, Hoopoes, Crested Larks, Southern Grey Shrikes, Gold and Greenfinches, Chaffinches and Bramblings.
The rice fields of Islas Mayor and Minima produced White and Black Storks, Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, Ringed and Little-ringed Plovers, Wood Sandpipers, Little Stints, Lapwings Glossy Ibis and Black-headed, Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
We also visited the José Antonio Valverde Centre and the fields of Hato Raton. In these areas we found Griffon Vultures, Red Kites, Iberian Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, a Song Thrush, Northern Wheatears, Calandra andLesser Short-toed Larks, Black Redstarts, Stonechats, Greater Flamingos, Snipe, Gadwalls, Green Sandpipers and Little Owls.

25th October. With me today were Karen and David Adair from Seattle, USA, Karen Rix and her friend Liz from Leighton Buzzard, Oscar Gates from Newcastle and Lawrence moore from Cornwall. The first site that we visited was the Estero de Domingo Rubio, where Purple Swamp-hens, Little and Cattle Egrets, a Spoonbill, Snipe, Gadwalls, Cormorants, Grey Herons, Spotless Starlings, Zitting Cisticolas, Willow Warblers and Meadow Pipits were seen.
Our next stop was at the Laguna Primera de Palos and here we saw Pintails, Wigeon, Common Pochards, Shovelers, 3 Red-knobbed Coots, Robins, Black Redstarts, Chaffinches, Collared Doves and 2 Caspian Terns. The star bird of the day was an Osprey that arrived over the lagoon and circled above us (as low as 25 metres) for 3 or 4 minutes before landing on a post in the water.
We then moved on to the Laguna El Portil. I was hoping to find a few White-headed Ducks, but unfortunately, there were none to be seen. However, i did manage to find a male Feruginous Duck, which was a "lifer" for most of the group. 2 Common Buzzards and 3 Booted Eagles (2 light and 1 dark morph) circled overhead for a few minutes and these were joined by a Kestrel. Back on the lagoon we found Black-winged Stilts, Common and Green Sandpipers, Common and Spotted Redshanks, Greenshanks, Sanderlings, Black-tailed Godwits, Yellow-legged and Lesser Blackback Gulls, a Black Tern, Teal and Little Grebes. In the surrounding vegetation there were Sardinian and Dartford Warblers.
After a picnic lunch in a quite forest we made for the Marismas de Río de Piedras. Here there were two more Caspian Terns, Sandwich Terns, Curlews, Whimbrels, Ringed and Grey Plovers, Dunlins, an Avocet, White Storks, Black-headed Gulls, a Mediterranean Gull, Serins, Stonechats, Blackcaps and 2 more Dartford Warblers.
Our last stop of the day was at the Marismas del Odiel, where we added Oystercatchers, Audouin's Gulls, Bar-tailed Godwits, Crested Larks, Whinchats and Marsh Harriers to our day's list.
On the way back to El Rocío we saw both Black-billed and Iberian Magpies.

26th October. On my tour today were Michael and Chris Dunn from near Cardiff and Kevin and Dot O'Sullivan from Leeds. We began at the Corredor Verde where we had excellent views of 5 Hoopoes, 8 Black-shouldered Kites, 2 Booted Eagles, an Osprey, Kestrels, Buzzards and Marsh Harriers. At two lagoons we found Great Crested Grebes, Shovelers, Turted Ducks, Common Pochards, Grey Herons, Cattle Egrets, Cormorants, Common Sandpipers, Stonechats, Black Redstarts, Robins, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Serins, Southern Grey Shrikes, Meadow pipits, White Wagtails, Crested and Woodlarks, Great Tits, Song Thrushes and Willow Warblers. As we drove along the Río Guadiamar I stopped at a Black-crowned Night Heron roost, where well over 100 of these birds were seen.
The Dehesa de Abajo and the Isla Mayor rice fields were next on the itinerary and these areas produced Red Kites, Little Egrets, White Storks, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingos, Black-winged Stilts, Northern Wheatears, Jackdaws and LBB, Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls.
In the northern marshes we saw Little Owls, Gadwalls, 2 Peregrine Falcons, Corn Buntings, Green Sandpipers and many of the previously mentioned species.

27th October. Today's tour was with a group of six birders from Estepona (Costa del Sol) led by Joan Thompson. On leaving El Rocío we came upon a flock of Iberian Magpies on the way to Villamanrique. This was the first time some of the group had seen this species so it was a good start to the day.
As we drove along a track leading to the Corredor Verde, 3 Hoopoes presented themselves in front of the car and a Southern Grey Shrike perched on a telephone cable for our enjoyment. Stonechats, Goldfinches, Crested Larks, Meadow pipits, White Wagtails and the first of 9 Black-shouldered Kites that we saw during the morning were also seen along the track.
At the Corredor Verde we found Great Crested Grebes, Tufted Ducks, Pochards, Kestrels, Buzzards, Marsh Harriers, Sardinian and Willow Warblers, Robins, Black Redstarts, a Cetti's Warbler, Corn Buntings and a large flock of Black-crowned Night Herons. Seven more B-s Kites were seen here, two of which were hunting and hovering only 50 metres away from us.
We then headed for several sites in the Isla Mayor region. Here we found White Storks, Grey Herons, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingos, Black-winged Stilts, Purple Swamp Hens, Little Grebes, Little-ringed Plovers, Gadwalls, Shovelers, Red and Black Kites, an Osprey, a Spotted Eagle, Common Waxbills, Green Sandpipers, a Kingfisher and the 3 common gull species, ie. Yellow-legged, Black-headed and LBB Gulls.

28th October. My tour today was with Nick and Nadia Watkins from Leicester, their daughter Natalia and her partner Eric. The tour started at the Lagunas de Mancho Zurillo, which produced a good selection of birds. The first birds we saw were Grey Herons and Cormorants, but a bit of searching amongst a large flock of Common Pochards revealled Tufted Ducks, Shovelers, a Ferruginous Duck and Great Crested Grebes. Around the lagoons we found several Black Redstarts, Stonechats, Crested Larks, Green and Goldfinches, Serins, Robins, Rock Sparrows, Spotless Starlings and Southern Grey Shrikes.
We then drove through a part of the Corredor Verde and found 10 Black-shouldered Kites (2 more were seen elsewhere later), Common Buzzards, Marsh Harriers, Common Kestrels, a Booted Eagle, an Osprey, Hoopoesand Corn Buntings.
At the Camino de las Cigüeñas there were Meadow Pipits, a Water Pipit, Iberian Chiffchaffs, Lesser Short-toed Larks, White Wagtails, Ravens and a large flock of Black-crowned Night Herons.
We then toured around the Isla Mayor and saw thousands of White Storks and Black-winged Stilts, many Greater Flamingos and Glossy Ibis, Little and Cattle Egrets, Red-legged Partridges, Little Owls, Little-ringed Plovers, Lapwings, Zitting Cisticolas and thousands of Gulls.
We then drove out to the northern marshes and were delighted to find 9 Hen Harriers (4M & 5F), 7 Red Kites, a Peregrine Falcon, large flocks of Linnets and Calandra Larks, Green Sandpipers and Purple Swamp-hens.
As we were driving off the marsh we saw a flock of about 300 Common Cranes near Hato Raton rice fields.

29th October. With me today were Antoon van Oosterhout and his friend Bob from Holland. We began at the Corredor Verde and found Hoopoes, Black Redstarts, Crested Larks, Rock Sparrows, Woodlarks, Stonechats, Meadow Pipits, Gold and Greenfinches, Spotless Starlings, Black-crowned Night Herons, Southern Grey Shrikes, an Osprey, Buzzards, Kestrels and 12 Black-shouldered Kites.
At the Lagunas de Mancho Zurillo there were Common Pochards, Red-crested Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Great Crested Grebes, Common Coots and Cormorants. We then visited the Entremuros and several sites in the Isla Mayor region. Here there were Greater Flamingos, White Storks, Glossy Ibis, Black-winged Stilts, Little and Cattle Egrets, Lapwings, Greenshanks, Green Sandpipers, Meadow Pipits, Robins, Willow and Sardinian Warblers, Booted and Short-toed Eagles and Marsh Harriers.
We spent the afternoon in the northern marshes, where Little Owls, Red Kites, Hen Harriers, Griffon Vultures, White Wagtails, Corn Buntings, Calandra Larks, Purple Swamp-hens, Black Storks, Gadwalls and Little Grebes where seen.
As we left the marshes I again found the large flock of Common Cranes that were seen yesterday. A close count of the birds came to 284.
Apart from the 12 Black-shouldered Kites that were recorded in the Corredor Verde, we saw another five during the day, bringing the total to 17. This is the most I have ever recorded in a single day and is a sure sign that Doñana is now one of the best and easiest places to see this particular species of raptor.