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TRIP REPORTS. OCTOBER 2006.

29th October. Today´s tour was with Graham and Cathie Isom from near Yeovil in Somerset and Cathie´s father, Ernie. We began at the Laguna de Mancho Zurillo and quickly located the resident Osprey, which was busy preening in a tree at the far end of the lagoon. In another tree, there was a mixed bunch of birds, with Woodlarks, Goldfinches, Greenfinches and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Also in and around the lagoon there were 7 Red-rumped Swallows, Stonechats, Black Redstarts, Robins, Blue Tits, Hoopoes, Iberian Magpies, Crested Larks, Stonechats, Spotless Starlings, Cormorants, Great Crested Grebes, Grey Herons, Cattle Egrets, Common Sandpipers and Common Pochards.
As we drove through a part of the Corredor Verde, we saw 6 Black-shouldered Kites, Southern Grey Shrikes, Buzzards, Kestrels and Red Kites.
We drove around part of the Isla Mayor ricefields and found Avocets, White Storks, Black Storks, Little Egrets, Lapwings, 100´s of Glossy Ibis, Marsh Harriers, White Wagtails, Common Waxbills, Barn Swallows, Sand Martins and Black-headed, Yellow-legged and Lesser Blackbacked Gulls.
In the afternoon, we visited the northern marshes and found 4 Hen Harriers (1M & 3F´s), over 100 Spoonbills, 1,500+ Greater Flamingos, 1,000+ Black-winged Stilts, more Black Storks, Shovelers, Wigeon, 2 Great White Egrets, Greenshanks, Calandra Larks, Corn Buntings, Iberian Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, a Cetti´s Warbler, a Short-toed Eagle and 2 Little Owls.
The highlight of the day was finding 15 Common Cranes near the Caño de Guadiamar, my first sighting of the autumn and the first cranes of the 1,000´s that will arrive to spend the winter here.

28th October. With me today were Roy and Joy Carr from Solihull and their friend Sue. The Corredor Verde again lived up to expectations for raptors, with an Osprey, Marsh Harriers, Red Kites, Black Shouldered Kites, Buzzards and Kestrels being seen. Also in the CV were Hoopoes, Black Redstarts, Stonechats, Corn Buntings, Crested Larks, Woodlarks, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Tree Sparrows, Blackcaps, Common and Spotless Starlings, Ravens, Southern Grey Shrikes, a Kingfisher, Red-legged Partridges, Cormorants, Common and Red-crested Pochards, Teal, Grey Herons, Little Egrets, Black-crowned Night Herons and Great Crested Grebes.
We tried to cross the Entremuros, to visit the Isla Mayor ricefields, but both the Vado de Don Simon and theVado de Vaqueros were deeper under water than yesterday and it was impossible to cross. However, from the roadway we were able to see thousands of White Storks, Cattle and Little Egrets, Marsh Harriers (20+) and gulls feeding along the flooded Brazo de la Torre.
Unable to access theIsla Mayor, we drove out to the JA Valverde centre and on the way we found good umbers of Glossy Ibis, Avocets, Lapwings, 7 Black Redstarts and Greater Flamingos.
We did fairly well at the Caño de Guadiamar, with 7 Black Storks, 100´s of Black-winged Stilts, 54 Spoonbills, a Squacco Heron, a Kingfisher, Willow Warblers, Iberian Chiffchaffs, 2 female Hen Harriers and a melanistic (almost black) Montagu´s Harrier.
The highlight of the day for me was finding two Cetti´s Warblers in the Corredor Verde. The first was singing openly for about 15 seconds in a sparse broom tree, just 4 metres from the vehicle. The second, about a kilometre later, gave us cracking views for 2 minutes as it fed in some sparse, dry scrub, just 15 metres away

27th October. Today´s tour was with Jerry and Yvonne Bridgeland from Shropshire and their friends Huw and Victoria from Bristol. I collected the group from El Rocío and as we drove along the road to Villamanrique, e-route to the Corredor Verde, we saw numerous Iberian Magpies.
At the Corredor Verde there was an Osprey, 5 Black-shouldered Kites, Red Kites, a Booted Eagle, a Short-toed Eagle, Buzzards, Kestrels, Marsh Harriers, Ravens, Cormorants, Red-legged Partridges, Hoopoes, Crested and Woodlarks, Northern Wheatears, White Storks, Grey Herons, Cattle Egrets and Black-crowned Night Herons.
Following 12 days of rain, the Entremuros (and most other places) is completely under water and the Vado de Don Simon was impassable, so we went further along to the Vado de Vaqueros and although under about 10 inches of water, I was able to reach the Isla Mayor in 2nd gear at about 5kph.
Unfortunately, this proved to be a wasted exercise, as the 1,000´s of birds that were in the ricefields on Wednesday had mostly disappeared. We had our picnic lunch and I then chugged back across the Vado de Vaqueros and turned left, running alongside the Entremuros, heading for the nothern marshes. This as were all the birds had got to, there were 1,000´s of gulls and White Storks and 100´s of Little and Cattle Egrets and Glossy Ibis. Also present were Greenshanks, Barn Swallows, Mallards, Pochards, Marsh Harriers and 13 Stone Curlews.
At the Lucio del Lobo there were about 500 Greater Flamingos, 50+ Avocets, Black-winged Stilts and Shovelers.
The latter part of the afternoon was a bit disappointing and we only managed to add 2 Black Storks, Greylag Geese, a Little Owl and 4 Black Redstarts (1M & 3F´s) to our list.

25th October. This was the last day of Sandra and Bob Taylors´ inclusive packaged birding holiday and, in common with the other six days, we experienced some heavy rain storms during the day. We began by visiting the Corredor Verde and within 15 minutes of arriving we had found 2 Black-shouldered Kites, Common Buzzards, Red Kites, Common Kestrels and an Osprey. As we drove along, we also saw Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Crested Larks, Tree Sparrows and Cattle Egrets. There were well over 200 Black-crowned Night Herons at the usual roosting site and at one time there were about 100 flying close to us.
At the Dehesa de Abajo/Cañada de Rianzuela there were several hundred Black-winged Stilts and about 70 Avocets. Several Jackdaws, Barn Swallows and Sand Martins were also seen there.
We then drove around part of the Isla Mayor ricefields and in the harvested paddies there were hundreds of White Storks, 2 Black Storks, more Avocets, Grey Herons, Ringed, Little-ringed and Kentish Plovers, a flock of about 40 Little Stints, Yellow-legged and Black-headed Gulls, Yellow Wagtails, Zitting Cisticolas and a very large flock of about 700 Glossy ibis.
After lunch, we crossed to the eastern side of the Río Guadalquivir and visited the Brazo del Este, where, apart from the many of the birds we had already recorded, we also found Marsh Harriers, Shovelers, Teal, Wigeon, Great Crested and Little Grebes, Greenshanks, about 30 Purple Swamp-hens, Spoonbills and Little Egrets, plus 9 more Black Storks.
A very heavy downpour put an end to the birding at 5.45pm so I drove Bob and Sandra to Sevilla airport for them to check in for their flight back to Liverpool.
Despite the interference of rain on each day, we had some excellent birding, with about 120 species being seen. We also enjoyed plenty of good food and red wine in pleasant company.

24th October. Today it was back to work in Doñana with Sandra and Bob Taylor, the sixth of their seven days of birding with me. Today´s tour involved visiting some of the best birding sites to the west of the region and we began at La Rabida, on the east bank of the Río Tinto. On the exposed mudbanks we found Whimbrels, Redshanks, Common Sandpipers, Ringed Plovers, Redshanks, Greater Flamingos, Yellow-legged Gulls and Sandwich Terns. Overhead we saw Collared Doves and White Storks. An impressive flock of 46 Black-necked Grebes was seen on the river, just 100 metres offshore.
We then drove to the Marismas de Río Piedras where 8 Caspian Terns, Sandwich Terns, Whimbrels, Curlews, Oystercatchers, Turnstones, Dunlins, Ringed Plovers, an Osprey, Cormorants, Stonechats, a Southern Grey Shrike, Crested Larks, Black-billed Magpies and a Sardinian Warbler were seen.
At Ribera, there were Ringed, Kentish and Grey Plovers, Black-winged Stilts, Redshanks, Greenshanks, Dunlins, Black-headed, Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, White Storks, Crested Larks, Southern Grey Shrikes, a Robin, Corn Buntings, 5 Red-rumped Swallows, Mallards and Cattle Egrets.
Our next stop was at the Laguna El Portil, where rain cut short our visit, but not before we had recorded Great Crested, Black-necked and Little Grebes, Common Pochards, Shovelers, Gadwalls, Black Terns and Greater Flamingos.
A high tide at the Marismas del Odiel meant that waders were not so easy to find, but we did manage Ringed and Grey Plovers, Turnstones, Sanderlings, Curlews, Whimbrels, a flock of Little Stints, Dunlins, Black-tailed Godwits, dozens of Redshanks, a flock of 20 Greenshanks, Grey Herons, Little and Cattle Egrets, Spoonbills and Greater Flamingos. Other birds included Audouin´s Gulls, 4 Slender-billed Gulls, 2 Ospreys, Marsh Harriers, Sandwich Terns and 10 more Caspian Terns.
A 30 minute visit to the Estero de Domingo Rubio proved very productive in the shape of a White Pelican that flew over our heads for 5 minutes before disappearing into the distance. Also seen was an Osprey, Spoonbills, Little Egrets, Cattle Egrets, Grey Herons, Black-winged Stilts, Little-ringed Plovers, Teal, Moorhens and Coots.
Our last stop of the day was at the Laguna Primera de Palos. Here we found numerous Purple Swamp-hens, 2 Red-knobbed Coots, Gadwalls, Shovelers, Common Pochards, Little Grebes, Black Terns, a Whiskered Tern, Cormorants and Black-billed Magpies.

21st, 22nd and 23rd October. These three days involved a trip up to Extremadura and the Monfragüe National Park with Sandra and Bob Taylor from Todmorden, as part of their 8-day package tour with me. Rebecca, my wife, also came along.
21st, After collecting Sandra and Bob from their hostal in Hinojos, we made straight for the site at Las Doblas. As soon as we got out of the vehicle we found a flock of Spanish Sparrows and several Crested Larks. It started raining, so we only spent a short time there, adding a Black-shouldered Kite, Grey Herons, Corn Buntings and Stonechats to the list.
As we drove up towards Extremadura we saw numerous Red Kites, Buzzards, Kestrels and White Storks en-route. We stopped for lunch at Aldea de Cano and just after starting off again, we stopped as a group of about 35 vultures circled nearby. We managed to break the group down to 26 Griffons and 7 Black Vultures.
Once beyond Cáceres, we turned on to the Llanos de Cáceres (plains) and after a few minutes we had our first encounter with about 24 Great Bustards, feeding and showing well about 200 metres away. We also saw Southern Grey Shrikes, Little Owls, Calandra Larks, Skylarks, Hoopoes, Spotless Starlings, a Sparrowhawk, Ravens, Black-billed and Iberian Magpies, Northern Wheatears and Red-legged Partridges.
Later, as we crossed the Rio Almonte, we saw numerous Crag Martins and a Woodlark.
22nd. The day was spent in the Monfragüe National Park, but the weather was atrocious, with heavy rain and high winds that restricted our birding opportunities to a few short breaks in the weather.
At the Arroyo de la Vid we managed Blue Tits, Chaffinches, Iberian Magpies, Crested Larks and a few overhead vultures.
The Castillo de Monfragúe offered better views of both Griffon and Black Vultures and a flock of Common Swifts.
At the Peña Falcon, there were more of the same, but we also managed to spot 2 Bonelli´s Eagles, Barn Swallows, Crag and House Martins and Black Redstarts.
The weather conditions were having a drastic effect on the smaller birds, which were all staying well under cover and we felt ourselves lucky to find about 6 Long-tailed Tits (ssp irbii), Willow Warblers and a Nuthatch.
We did manage to see another Bonelli´s Eagle at La Bascula and a pair of Great Crested Grebes at Portilla de Tietar.
Also worthy of mention were a family of wild boar, seen swimming across the river from the Salto de Gitano to the Peña Falcon and a number of Red Deer at La Tajandilla
23rd. We woke to torrential rain, which threatened to wipe out the entire day´s birding, but we drove to Belen plains in the hope of a few breaks in the rain. For the first 90 minutes it was sheer frustration, as all we had seen, from the shelter of the car, were Crested Larks, Corn Buntings and Lapwings. Then, at about 11am, we had a break in the weather and we were able to seriously start birding. Suddenly, a small group of Stone Curlews flew from close by and landed in view about 100 metres away. A Green Sandpiper was seen in a flooded ditch and numerous Northern Wheatears appeared. 6 Red Kites, a Southern Grey Shrike, Hoopoes, Jackdaws, Woodlarks, Calandra Larks and a pair of Ravens were next to be seen. I then spotted a lone Great Bustard and with the help of the telescopes, we were able to see at least 11 of these magnificent birds.
It was getting close to lunchtime and as we were returning along the road towards Belen, I spotted what appeared to be 5 Little Bustards out to our right, about 60 metres away. As I put the others on to the birds, they suddenly took off. We had great views as two groups (18 and 26) of Little Bustards filled the sky.
After lunch we visited the Santa Magascar plains, finding more Great Bustards, 60+ Pin-tailed Sandgrouse and 2 Black-bellied Sandgrouse. The weather had improved, as had the light and as we reached the end of the plains near Cáceres, we saw both vulture species, Common Kestels, Little Owls, Spotless and Common Starlings, White Wagtails, Corn Buntings, Meadow Pipits, a Thekla Lark, Green Sandpipers, a Greenshank, Red-legged Partridges and Iberian Magpies.
The day had started badly, but ended with us clearing up on the steppe species we had been looking for and we returned to Doñana in a good frame of mind.

20th October. My second day with Sandra and Bob Taylor took us out towards the northern marshes in the morning, however, constant rain showers hampered the birding.
We began at the Dehesa de Pilas and the Partido de Resina and we very quickly spotted 2 Kingfishers, Yellow Wagtails, Zitting Cisticolas, Corn Buntings, Crested Larks, Spotless Starlings, Stonechats, White Storks, Cattle Egrets, Grey Herons and Common Buzzards.
We then drove along the Entremuros and out to the Caño de Guadiamar and during breaks in the rain we were able to see 50+ Spoonbills, Avocets, Green Sandpipers, a Black Stork, 2 Great White Egrets, Greater Flamingos, Cormorants, Marsh Harriers, Kestrels and many Calandra Larks.
We spent most of the afternoon in the La Cantarita region of the Isla Mayor ricefields, where rice harvesting and the ploughing-down of the fields is in process. Thousands of birds were present and by making several stops at suitable fields we were able to record Ringed and Little-ringed Plovers, Lapwings, Dunlins, Redshanks, Greenshanks, 30+ Little Stints, Little Egrets, Yellow-legged and Black-headed Gulls, 4 Black Terns, Purple Swamp-hens, 100+ Glossy Ibis, Shovelers, Common Pochards, Little Grebes, Willow Warblers and Whinchats.
As were were returning home, we saw 400+ Black-winged Stilts, a number of Pintails, a flock of Jackdaws and a Southern Grey Shrike at the Cañada de Rianzuela and 2 Black-shouldered Kites, hunting close to us, at the Dehesa de Banco.

19th October. Today was the first of 7 days that I will be guiding Sandra and Bob Taylor from Todmorden in West Yorkshire, who are here on one of my inclusive 8-day package holidays.
We spent the day in the southern sector of the region, visiting El Rocío, La Dehesilla, the Arroyo de la Cañadas, Las Guayules and the El Acebuche and La Rocina visitors centres.
After two days of heavy rain storms and showers, there is now some water in most of the areas we visited. At El Rocío, there were Shovelers, Pintails, Teal, White Storks, Grey Herons, Little and Cattle Egrets, Snipe, Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwings, Black-winged Stilts, Whiskered Terns, Red Kites, Marsh Harriers, Kestels, Spotless Starlings, White Wagtails and Goldfinches.
At La Dehesilla and the Arroyo de la Cañadas, there were much of the same, but we also saw 3 Redstarts, 2 Kingfishers, Serins, Stonechats, Linnets, Jackdaws and Hoopoes.
We had our picnic lunch at El Acebuche, accompanied by 20 or so Iberian Magpies. Other birds seen here included Pied Flycatchers, Iberian Chiffchaffs, Great and Blue Tits and Little Grebes.
Elsewhere, there were Ravens, Spotted Flycatchers, Robins and a Southern Grey Shrike.
Tomorrow, we head for the Corredor Verde and the Isla Mayor ricefields for the spectacle of thousands of birds feeding in the recently harvested fields.

17th October. Two of the couples that were with me yesterday, Dave and Sue Faulkner and Richard and Leah Booth, were with me again today for a second day of birding. Heavy early morning rain threatened to put a stop to the day´s activities, but the sight of a lightening sky offered the hope of a decent day´s birding.
We drove first to the Entremuros and made our way out towards the José Antonio Valverde centre. After a couple of kilometres, we noticed movement in the marsh and stopped to investigate. We discovered at least 30 Stone Curlews and although the rain was still falling, we had reasonably good views from the car. Lapwings and Common Sandpipers were also present.
A few kms further on, a Short-toed Eagle flew from a post beside the track and landed in a field about 125 metres away. As we continued we found White Storks, a Little Owl, Kestrels, Buzzards, Crested Larks, Corn Buntings and Stonechats.
The Lucio del Lobo has been dry for months, but now water is being pumped into the lagoon to give the migrant wintering birds a place to feed. There were hundreds of Pintails and Shovelers present, along with a good number of Greylag Geese, Ringed and Kentish Plovers, Green Sandpipers and Little Stints.
There was very little of interest at the JAV, although Red Kites and Greater Flamingos were seen there, so we moved on to the Caño de Guadiamar, finding 15 Black Storks, 100+ Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Little and Cattle Egrets, Teal, Red-crested Pochards, Marsh Hariers and a Male Hen Harrier.
We moved across to the Isla Mayor ricefields and at the "reedbeds" saw 3 Male Golden Bishops and numerous females. We discovered a GB nest that obviously had young inside, as the adult female was taking insects into the carefully woven domed structure.
At the edge of one ricefield we found a flock of about 100 Spanish Sparrows. There were also Barn Swallows, House Martins and a lone Common Swift.
Elsewhere, 2 Southern Grey Shrikes, Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls, Spotless Starlings and Jackdaws were seen.
We ended the day by driving along the Corredor Verde, where we found many Black-crowned Night Herons and 4 Black-shouldered Kites.

16th October. Today´s tour was with Richard and Leah Booth from Manchester, Johan and Danielle Sierens from Belgium and Dave and Sue Faulkner from the Lake district. The tour today was to the west of the region and on our way to our first stop, which was at the Laguna Primera de Palos, we saw Black-billed and Iberian Magpies and a Common Buzzard. There were a large number of ducks on the lagoon and we managed to pick out Gadwalls, Common Pochards, Mallards, Shovelers and Wigeon. Elsewhere, on the water there were Red-knobbed Coots, Cormorants, Moorhens, Yellow-legged and Black-headed Gulls and Common Coots. Numerous Purple Swamp-hens were seen on the edges of the lagoon and a Kingfisher, a Common Kestrel, a Common Redstart and a Sardinian Warbler also put in appearances.
We then drove to the Estero de Domingo Rubio and spent a pleasant hour watching White Storks, Grey Herons, Little and Cattle Egrets, Spoonbills, Little Grebe, Common Sandpipers, Snipe, Little-ringed Plovers, Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Teal, Cetti´s Warblers, Stonechats, Crested Larks, Willow Warblers and 2 Common Waxbills, which showed themselves briefly.
Our next stop was at La Rabida, but it was high tide and there were only a few waders to be seen. however, we did manage to add Whimbrels, Green Sandpipers, Sandwich Terns and Collared Doves to the list.
Rain started to fall as we reached El Portil, so we opted for a cup of coffee and an early picnic lunch near the Marismas de Río Piedras, where, during a break in the rain, we managed to see Redshanks, Greenshanks and Black-winged Stilts.
We then returned to Laguna El Portil and found White-headed Ducks, Great Crested Grebes, Black Terns, Barn Swallows and House Martins.
We ended the day dodging the rain showers at the Marismas del Odiel, but were lucky enough to have good views of Marsh Harriers, an Osprey, Bar-tailed Godwits, Oystercatchers, Curlew Sandpipers, Sanderlings, Turnstones, Ringed Plovers, Kentish Plovers, Grey Plovers, Curlews, 6 Caspian Terns, Common Terns and about 150 Audouin´s Gulls.

14th October. Heather Dean and Steve Myers from Alaska were with me again today and they were joined by Paul and Greta Ceuppens from Belgium. We started the day at the Dehesa de Pilas, finding Red Kites, 2 Black-shouldered Kites, Common Buzzards, Kestrels, Griffon Vultures, Crested Larks, Spotless Starlings, Stonechats, Corn Buntings and Woodlarks in the open areas and about 8 Green Sandpipers in an agricultural irrigation ditch.
Our next stops were in the Cantarita area of the Isla Mayor. Here there were Greater Flamingos, 1,000´s of White Storks, Cattle Egrets, Little Egrets, Grey Herons, Black-winged Stilts, Ringed Plovers, Little and Temminck´s Stints, Dunlins, Lapwings and 1,000´s of Yellow-legged and Black-headed Gulls.
In the afternoon, we crossed the Río Guadalquivir and visited several sites in the Brazo del Este region. The birds recorded here included Black Storks, Purple Swamp-hens, Redshanks, Greenshanks, Avocets, Common Snipe, Common and Wood Sandpipers, Black-tailed Godwits, Gadwalls, Shovelers, Little Grebes, female Golden Bishops, a Cetti´s Warbler, Marsh Harriers and an Osprey.

13th October. Today´s tour included Heather Dean and Steve Myers from Anchorage, Alaska, David and Jill Chisholm from London and Robert de Bruin from Sevilla and his friend Rob from Amsterdam. As we drove away from El Rocío, along the Arroyo de la Cañadas, we spotted a Kingfisher, a Squacco Heron, Spotless Starlings, Crested Larks and Goldfinches.
In the Stone pine forest near Villamanrique there was a large flock of Iberian Magpies and a pair of Hoopoes.
The Corredor Verde produced Green Sandpipers, Black-crowned Night Herons, Grey Herons, Tree Sparrows, Cetti´s Warblers, Black Redstarts, Stonechats, Greenfinches, Corn Buntings, Red-rumped Swallows, Common Buzzards, Marsh Harriers and 3 Black-shouldered Kites.
In the ricefields of the Isla Mayor, we found White Storks, Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits, Little and Cattle Egrets, Wood Sandpipers, Ruff, Little-ringed Plovers, Little Stints, Shovelers, Red-crested Pochards, Golden Bishops, an Osprey and a Booted Eagle.
In the afternoon, we drove to the Hato Raton area and found Greater Flamingos, Spoonbills, Black Storks, a Great White Egret, Redshanks, Lapwings, Ringed Plovers, Dunlins, Little Grebes, Yellow-legged and Black-headed Gulls, Red Kites, Common Kestrels, 2 Short-toed Eagles and a large flock of Calandra Larks.

11th October. With me today were Tony and Joyce Askem from Norfolk, Steve Bright from Preston, Mick Owen from London and Hans Rooijers and his friend Fons from Holland. The day started with heavy mist and visibility at the Lagunas de Mancho Zurillo was down to about 30 metres, making birding almost impossible at those sites. I decided to head for the Isla Mayor ricefields, in the hope that we may have better conditions. As we continued along the Corredor Verde, I spotted a Black-shouldered Kite perched on an electrical pylon and we stopped to put the telescopes on it. As we watched the bird, the sun started to burn off the mist and we were soon enjoying the warmth and the good views. Three more B-s Kites were seen in the area and a female Hen Harrier cruised past at a distance of about 80 metres. In the usual winter roosting site we saw more than 50 Black-crowned Night Herons.
We then moved on to the Isla Mayor and at the "reedbeds" we saw the resident Golden Bishops and Common Waxills. Green Sandpipers, Common Snipe, Purple Swamp-hens, White Storks, Grey Herons and Cattle Egrets were also recorded here.
In the ricefields opposite the Dehesa de Abajo, we found Greater Flamingos, Little Egrets, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwits, Greenshanks, Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Marsh Harriers, Common Kestrels, Yellow Wagtails, Crested Larks and Jackdaws.
Elsewhere in the ricefields we saw 5 Black Storks, Common Buzzards and an Osprey.
In the afternoon we visited the Hato Raton area and the Caño de Guadiamar. Here there were Spoonbills, Redshanks, Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Lapwings, Northern Wheatears, Zitting Cisticolas, a Cetti´s Warbler, Willow Warblers, Stonechats, Whinchats and many of the previously recorded species, including 16 more Black Storks. Overhead, we had good extended views of a Spanish Imperial Eagle and a dozen or so Griffon Vultures.
As we were leaving the area we saw a Short-toed Eagle, another Osprey, another Hen Harrier, Corn Buntings and hundreds of Calandra Larks.

10th October. After the trip to Extremadura it was back to the one-day Doñana tours with Huw Wilding from Wales, Toenne and Ida Toennessen from Copenhagen and Claudia and Klaus Beer from Munich. We first visited the Lagunas de Mancho Zurillo, where Common and Green Sandpipers, Common Snipe, Barn Swallows, Shovelers, Common Pochards, Gadwalls and Great Crested Grebes were seen.
We then drove through the Corredor Verde, finding Red-legged Partridges, Tree Sparrows, Iberian Magpies, 15+ Hoopoes, Pied Flycatchers, Willow Warblers, Stonechats, Crested Larks, Black-crowned Night Herons, Common Buzzards, Southern Grey Shrikes and at least 11 Black-houldered Kites. The highlight was watching a Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk and a female Marsh Harrier all flying together, inter-reacting and sky-dancing, complete with interlocking talons. Fascinating stuff.
In the Isla Mayor ricefields we saw Greater Flamingos, Ruff, Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits, White Storks, Little and Cattle Egrets, Wood Sandpipers, Redshanks, Little-ringed Plovers, Sardinian Warblers, Northern Wheatears and Whinchats.
In the "reedbeds" we found 2 male Golden Bishops (plus numerous females), Purple Swamp-hens, Grey Herons, a Booted Eagle and a flock of Common Waxbills.
In the afternoon we drove to the Hato Raton ricefields, where the harvesting was taking place. Here we saw over 1,000 Greater Flamingos, 100´s of White Storks, 13 Black Storks, 100´s of Black-winged Stilts, Spoonbills, Lapwings, Greenshanks, Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls, Yellow Wagtails, Buzzards and Marsh Harriers.
As we were returning home, we stopped beside the Entremuros, where 4 Short-toed Eagles were seen hunting in close proximity to each other. Two Stone Curlews were aslo seen, along with hundreds of Calandra Larks and Corn Buntings.
The last birds we encountered were a pair of Hen Harriers (M & F).

7th - 9th September.
7th. John and Cathy Arnott were with me again today and they were joined by Ed and Evie Rush and their friends Neil and Eldeg. Today we were travelling up to Extremadura, but we had 5 hours of birding in the Doñana region before heading north. In the Corredor Verde we saw several Black-shouldered Kites, Common Buzzards, an Osprey, Hoopoes, Iberian Magpies, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Crested Larks, Cattle Egrets and Black-crowned Night Herons. A visit to the "reedbeds" and a few sites in the Isla Mayor area produced Golden Bishops, Zitting Cisticolas, Willow Warblers, Common Waxbills, Redshanks, Greenshanks, Black-winged Stilts, Ruff, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwits, Greater Flamingos, Avocets, Little-ringed Plovers, Grey Herons, Little Egrets and Marsh Harriers.
Ater a lengthy drive, we arrived at the plains near Caceres (Llanos de Caceres) and we drove a few kilometres into the plains for a quick look before moving on to the Hotel Carvajal in Torrejon El Rubio, our base for the next two nights. At the first stop we found Southern Grey Shrikes, Northern Wheatears, Little Owls, Calandra Larks and 3 Great Bustards. Our second stop was a real bonus, when about 20 Black-bellied Sandgrouse took off from about 25 metres away and treated us to excellent views as they flew over and around us for a minute or so. Several landed further away in a field and were able to get the telescopes on them. Three more Great Bustard flew directly over our heads. We then made our way to Torrejon, stopping to watch about 30 Griffon Vultures roosting on electricity pylons beside the road.

8th. We left the Hotel Carvajal at 9am and made our way towards Monfragüe Natural Park, but just 100 metres from the village we stopped for a flock of about 30 Red-rumped Swallows and a similar number of House Martins. A Sardinian Warbler showed itself for a while, chattering to announce his whereabouts.
Within a kilometre, we stopped again, this time for a flock of Iberian Magpies, a couple of Hoopoes, Pied Flycatchers and a few Collared Doves.
Our next stop was at the Arroyo de la Vid. Here we found a Grey Wagtail, Blue Tits, Sardinian Warblers and a Blue Rock Thrush, the first of many we were to see during the day. Overhead, there were many Griffon Vultures and a few Black Vultures.
We parked in the Castillo de Monfragüe car park for a few minutes and recorded Chaffinches, Woodlarks, Nuthatches and a Jay. We then drove as far up to the castle as we could, before climbing up the last 200 metres. We were a bit disappointed with the number of birds present, but the near fly-bys of many Crag Martins and very close-up views of several Hawfinches made the effort of the climb worthwhile.
At the Peña Falcon there were the usual vultures, Ravens and a Bonelli´s Eagle and a search of the closer rocks and scrubland revealed Spotted Flycatchers, Blue Rock Thrushes, White Wagtails and Black Redstarts.
At the Fuente de la Francesas, we were treated to cracking views of several Hawfinches, Chaffinches and Robins, all bathing together in a small pool beside the drinking well.
At the Tajandilla viewpoint we saw a Kingfisher, Long-tailed Tits, Iberian Magpies, Sardinian and Willow Warblers, Northern Wheatears, Ravens and, of course many vultures, both Griffon and Black.
We then drove to the Portillo de Tietar, where apart from both of the vulture species, we also saw a Short-toed Eagle, a Sparrowhawk and 3 Spanish Imperial Eagles, which circled, soared and sky-danced overhead for about 10 minutes.
On the way back to the hotel we found a couple of Calandra Larks and an Iberian Chiffchaff.

9th. After breakfast, we made straight for the Belen plains behind Trujillo. Within a kilometre of passing through Belen we stopped for 4 Great Bustards that were feeding in a field, about 120 metres away. Also seen here were Red-legged Partridges, Northern Wheatears, Lapwings, Black-billed Magpies, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Southern Grey Shrikes, Common Kestrels and Corn Buntings.
Further into the plains we saw Little Owls, a few Thekla Larks, many Calandra Larks, Ravens, Griffon and Black Vultures, Common Buzzards, Kestrels and Red Kites.
At the end of the plains, near the pig slaughterhouse, about 120 Griffon and 3 Black Vultures took off and circled overhead. There wee also a number of Ravens and Red Kites amongst them.
After a lunch break in Trujillo, we made for the Santa Magascar plains prior to leaving the area and returning to Doñana. The afternoon didn´t really live up to expectations, but we did manage to find more Great Bustards and Black-bellied Sandgrouse, a Booted Eagle, Marsh Harriers, Lapwings, Black-winged Stilts, Willow Warblers and 3 Whitethroats.

6th October. With me today were John and Cathy Arnott from Bagshot in the UK. After collecting the couple from their hotel in Hinojos, I drove to the Laguna San Lázaro, near Villamanrique, looking for Iberian Magpies. Soon, we were parked beside the dried out lagoon, surrounded by about 40 magpies and a Hoopoe. Overhead, a Red Kite soared slowly over the area and a Grey Heron and 2 Ravens also drifted past.
Moving on from the lagoon, we drove along a track between the Arroyo de las Cigüeñas and the "turf farm", were we had good views of at least 18 Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, a Southern Grey Shrike, Common Buzzards, Little Egrets, Yellow Wagtails, Crested Larks, a Sparrowhawk and a Black-shouldered Kite.
The rice havesting season has now begun in Doñana and we spent half an hour at one field where there were over 500 Cattle and Little Egrets, Grey and Squacco Herons, Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls and a few Black Storks.
We then drove around the Isla Mayor area, including Cantarita, were we saw Greater Flamingos, Black-tailed Godwits, Greenshanks, Redshanks, Little-ringed Plovers, Black-winged Stilts, Ruff, Shovelers and Pintails.
The afternoon was spent in the northern marshes region and from the José Antonio Valverde Centre we saw Griffon Vultures, an Egyptian Vulture and 2 Spanish Imperial Eagles. Elsewhere in the marsh area there were Whinchats, Stonechats, a Male Common Redstart, Calandra and Lesser Short-toed Larks, Black-billed Magpies, a Little Owl, Avocets and many more Black Storks.
John and Cathy are with me for the next two days, which will be spent in Extremadura, looking for the representative species of that region.

3rd October.. My tour today was with Dick and Pauline Gilmore from Sussex and Jonas and Maria Ekstrand from Sweden. The itineray for the day included the sites to the west of the region and we began the birding at the Marismas del Odiel. We had a great start at the small lagoons near the Caletilla bar, with a Kingfisher, Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew Sandpipers, Dunlins, Ringed Plovers, Common Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, Black-winged Stilts, Common Redshanks, Purple Swamp-hens, Little Grebes, Southern Grey Shrikes and Willow Warblers all being seen.
Driving further along the marshes, we found Greater Flamingos, Spoonbills, Spotted Redshanks, Greenshanks, Grey Plovers, White Storks, Grey Herons, Oystercatchers, Whimbrels, Curlews, Cormorants, Sanderlings, a White Wagtail, a Sparrowhawk and an Osprey.
On an offshore sandbar there were Yellow-legged, Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls and at another location we found about 100 Audouin´s Gulls and a good number of Sandwich Terns.
We had our picnic lunch in a forest near Ribera, surrounded by Hoopoes, Iberian Magpies and Collared Doves.
Our next stop was at the Marismas de Río Piedras, where Zitting Cisticolas, Whinchats, Stonechats, Pied Flycatchers, Kentish Plovers and a Caspian Tern were seen.
Our last stop was at the Laguna El Portil and a soon as we stopped I spotted two White-headed Ducks, fairly close to our observation platform. Also present were Shovelers, Pintails, Teal, Common Pochards, Wigeon, Great Crested and Black-necked Grebes and more than a dozen Black Terns.

1st October.. This was my third and final day with the 23-strong group from the London Wetland Centre at Barnes (see Septembers´ trip reports for the previous two days). We began the birding at the forest just outside Villamanrique. The forest was fairly quiet, but collectively we managed to see Sardinian and Willow Warblers, Tree Sparrows, Long-tailed and Great Tits, Collared Doves, Iberian Magpies, a Buzzard and a Black Kite.
A drive through part of the Corredor Verde, alongside the Río Guadiamar, produced 5 Black-shouldered Kites, Southern Grey Shrikes, Whinchats, Stonechats, Goldfinches, Crested Larks, Cetti´s Warblers, Red-rumped Swallows, Grey Herons, Cattle Egrets, a Kingfisher and many Black-crowned Night Herons.
The next site we visited was the "reedbeds", in the Isla Mayor, where 3 male Golden Bishops gave impressive displays over their territories. A flock of about 10 Common Waxbills were seen feeding on the edge of a ricefield and Zitting Cisticolas flew overhead. Hundreds of White Storks were also found in the ricefields.
At several other locations in the Isla Mayor there were Glossy Ibis, Little and Cattle Egrets, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwits, Wood and Green Sandpipers, a Stone Curlew, Yellow Wagtails, Marsh Harriers, Booted Eagles, Kestrels, an Osprey, Black Storks, Northern Wheatears and a Barn Owl.
We ended the day back near El Rocío, with a 90 minute walk through the La Rocina park, but only a Short-toed Treecreeper was added to the group´s list.