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Join us on another exciting Andalucia tour in September 2014


2010 TRIP REPORT (Sep)
2010 GALLERY (Sep)
2010 GALLERY (April)

ANDALUCIA: Migration & Wetlands
12th – 19th September 2010

Leaders            Dave Read & Andy Shooter
Participants     Christopher Watkinson, Christine Watkinson, Derek Beech, Molly Beech, Jane Antony, Richard Ness and Jack Driver

Day 1
The tour got off to a good start with a direct flight from East Midlands - Faro, landing around 11.00am.  We quickly picked up the minibus without any trouble and were soon on our way, over the border and to our first hotel.  After checking in and freshening up we headed straight back out, spending the remainder of the day on the Odiel Estuary (Marismas de Odiel).  Our first stop was at a small reed-fringed pool on the outskirts of Huelva where upon arrival a Red-knobbed Coot was immediately located.  Other highlights here included Little Egret, Greater Flamingo, Purple Gallinule, Slender-billed Gull and our only Little Gull of the trip.  Overhead an Osprey passed over and up to five Pallid Swifts showed well.  Waders were also well represented and included Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Black-tailed Godwit and our only Snipe.  Continuing further onto the salt marshes a single Purple Heron was noted as were Sandwich Tern, Mediterranean Gull, Curlew and Gannet.  A Southern Grey Shrike also showed well nearby.

Day 2
We headed into the Doñana National Park stopping first at El Rocio, where the pool had completely dried out, but still held a flock of c40 Lapwing. Next we visited La Rochina, but this too was completely dry, a result of the exceptionally hot summer this year.  Interesting birds were still found however and included Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Short-toed Treecreeper and Common Waxbill.  Up to six species of warblers were also seen with Sardinian, Fan-tailed, Cetti’s and Great Reed all worthy of noting.  Acebuche was our next destination, where we started by feeding the ever present Azure-winged Magpies.  On the lagoon, which thankfully held good levels of water were Red-crested Pochard, Spoonbill and Purple Gallinule, while the nearby Umbrella Pines and heath added Dartford Warbler and Thekla Lark to the list.  Overhead were several Booted Eagles and Marsh Harriers as well as our first Honey Buzzard and Black Stork. 

Day 3
Today we moved south stopping first at the Laguna de Medina, an excellent wetland and an important wintering site for wildfowl.  On arrival we were immediately rewarded with an impressive movement of Black Kite, which moved directly overhead and involved c180 birds in total, also on the move was a flock of 48 White Stork and c20 Raven.  Several interesting species were added on approach to the hide, with Stone Curlew and Bonelli’s Warbler perhaps the most noteworthy.  Once at the hide the true importance of the site became clear with large concentrations of many species, the most impressive of which was c150 White-headed Duck.  Other birds of note included c20 Black-necked Grebe, Squacco Heron and Whiskered Tern.  Dragonflies too were abundant and included Broad Scarlet, Red-veined Darter, Northern Banded Groundling and Lesser Emperor.  Next we visited the Trebujena Marismas, where Nigh Heron, Red Kite and Lesser Short-toed Lark were all added to the list.  Other highlights included a very obliging Osprey on top of roadside Pylons and several Spoonbill and Greater Flamingo.
We then continued to our next hotel in the town of Chiclana de la Frontera, ideally placed adjacent to the Marismas de Sancti Petri and just 50 metres from the Chiclana pools.

Day 4
After breakfast we headed further south making our first stop at the Sierra de la Plata, a rocky outcrop famed for its rare breeding swifts.  Although none of the rarer swifts were found we did see Common, Pallid and Alpine, along with Crag Martin and Red-rumped Swallow.  However it was raptors that this site will be best remembered for with a passage of at least 44 Honey Buzzards noted, many of which gave excellent views.  Other raptors included Griffon & Egyptian Vultures, Black Kite, Short-toed & Booted Eagle, Sparrowhawk, Osprey, Common Kestrel and Peregrine.
We then moved the short distance around the coast to the Mirador de Estrecho; however the weather here was far from ideal with strong south-easterly winds and low cloud blowing in off the sea.  As a result we didn’t spend much time here, though we did enjoy a coffee in the café.  Instead we moved inland to the Ojen Valley where we hoped we and the raptors would be protected from the wind.  This worked quite well as on the way down we passed a small valley being use by Booted Eagles, with 18 birds passing through in just 15 minutes, many at very close range.  Once in the Ojen it was Short-toed Eagles that stole the show with a passage of 22 birds through in an hour.  It was here we also received good views of the beautiful Two-tailed Pasha butterfly.

Day 5
After breakfast our first stop was at Los Lances Beach near Tarifa, where we added Audouin’s Gull with an impressive count of 82, while other new additions included Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot and White Wagtail.  A Little Swift was also found overhead, though sadly it quickly moved out of sight.  Looking back from the beach several raptors could be seen heading south over a distant ridge, so we moved around the coast to one of the many viewpoints.  Once there we didn’t have long to wait for the raptors to oblige, with the next 90 minutes producing c200 Short-toed Eagles, 80 Booted Eagles, 40 Honey Buzzards, 20 Black Kites, 10 Sparrowhawks, several Griffon Vultures, 2 Egyptian Vultures and an Osprey.
Next we visited La Janda, an ancient marsh drained for agriculture and now used for growing rice, but not before stopping on route to watch a flock of c150 migrating White Storks, with 4 Black Storks and our first Hen Harrier also noted.  Once there we almost immediately spotted a distant Black-shouldered Kite, which was later relocated perched on top of an irrigation pipe.  Other raptors include 2 Common Buzzards and several Hen, Marsh and Montagu’s Harriers, as well as a total of c60 Lesser Kestrel which was another addition to the ever growing trip list.    Further additions here included 4 Glossy Ibis, Turtle Dove, Spanish Sparrow and Corn Bunting.

Day 6
Today we travelled north to the Bonanza Salt-pans where many interesting waders were present including Lapwing, Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-winged Stilt.  We also saw our first Avocet and Whimbrel, along with our only Oystercatcher and Ruff.  However the main attraction was located at the back of the Salt-pans where a semi dried out freshwater pool had reduced to just a few puddles no more than a few inches deep.  Here hundreds of stranded fish were providing a banquet for a huge number of birds invited to the feast.  They included 115 Little Egrets, 40+ Spoonbills, 13 Black Storks and 3 Caspian Terns, as well as several White Storks, Grey Herons and Greater Flamingo.  Waders were again a feature with Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper and Sanderling present in good numbers.  There were also several Slender-billed Gulls, a Whiskered Tern and a fly-by Gull-billed Tern.
Next we moved to the Algiada Pond, but by now it had started to rain quite heavy, so viewing was restricted to from within the van, however we still managed 2 Night Herons, a single White-headed Duck and a Wigeon.  We then visited an area of Marismas in search of Marbled Duck and luckily by the time we had got there it had stopped raining, allowing us to get out of the van ready for a thorough search through the many wildfowl present.  Sure enough after a while our target was found, with at least 11 birds present.

Day 7
This was our last day of birding as our return flight was an early one, and we still had to travel back to Faro, but this didn’t stop us enjoying some great birds.  We started by revisiting the Laguna de Medina where many of the birds first seen on day 3 were still present, including good numbers of White-headed Duck and Black-necked Grebe.  In addition were at least 2 Great Egrets and a juvenile Penduline Tit.  Our next stop was at the Dehesa de Abajo where no less than 340 Glossy Ibis were present, along with 87 Spoonbill, 11 Squacco Heron, 14 Night Heron and several Little Egret, Greater Flamingo and White Stork.  Greylag Goose was also added here.
Next we visited the small pool at El Portil where two juvenile Black Terns dropped in briefly and a group of bathing gulls included a single Audouin’s.  Perhaps the best find here belongs to Jane who managed to find an incredibly well camouflaged Mediterranean Chameleon amongst the nearby bushes.  Moving a little further around the estuary we finished the tours birding at the same site where we began, at the small pool on the outskirts of Huelva.  For such a small area this site has amazing potential and once again we were not disappointed.  A small group of Greater Flamingo were busy feeding, providing as good a view as any during the tour and Purple Gallinule again made an appearance.  Several gulls showed well and included a single Mediterranean amongst the many Black-headed and Slender-billed, with a notable count of 43 of the latter.  Waders again provided much interest with 13 species present including two small flocks of Whimbrel which flew over.  Last but not least was the addition of Sedge Warbler to the list, the last species to make it on before we regretfully had to put our binoculars away.

Day 8
After breakfast we loaded up the van for one last time and made our way the short distance to the airport for our return flight back to East Midlands.


This proved to be an extremely rewarding trip, with an impressive total of 150 bird species recorded, along with a number of interesting Butterflies, Dragonflies, Reptiles and Flowering Plants.

We would like to thank all participants on this tour for making it such a pleasurable and memorably trip


Systematic list of species

1. Little Grebe
2. Black-necked Grebe
3. Great Crested Grebe
4. Cormorant
5. Little Bittern
6. Night Heron
7. Cattle Egret
8. Squacco Heron
9. Little Egret
10. Great Egret
11. Grey Heron
12. Purple Heron
13. Black Stork
14. White Stork
15. Glossy Ibis
16. Spoonbill
17. Greater Flamingo
18. Gadwall
19. Mallard
20. Wigeon
21. Pintail
22. Shoveler
23. Marbled Duck
24. Teal
25. Pochard
26. Red-Crested Pochard
27. White-Headed Duck
28. Black-shouldered Kite
29. Red Kite
30. Black Kite
31. Egyptian Vulture
32. Griffon Vulture
33. Short-Toed Eagle
34. Marsh Harrier
35. Montagu’s Harrier
36. Hen Harrier
37. Sparrowhawk
38. Honey Buzzard
39. Common Buzzard
40. Booted Eagle
41. Osprey
42. Lesser Kestrel
43. Common Kestrel
44. Hobby
45. Peregrine
46. Red-legged Partridge
47. Moorhen
48. Purple Gallinule
49. Coot
50. Red-knobbed Coot



Northern Banded Groundling
Red-Veined Darter
Broad Scarlet
Lesser Emperor


Clouded Yellow
Red Admiral
Two-Tailed Pasha

51. Oystercatcher
52. Avocet
53. Black-Winged Stilt
54. Stone Curlew
55. Little Ringed Plover
56. Kentish Plover
57. Grey Plover
58. Golden Plover
59. Lapwing
60. Knot
61. Sanderling
62. Turnstone
63. Dunlin
64. Curlew Sandpiper
65. Little Stint
66. Green Sandpiper
67. Common Sandpiper
68. Redshank
69. Greenshank
70. Black-tailed Godwit
71. Bar-tailed Godwit
72. Whimbrel
73. Curlew
74. Snipe
75. Ruff
76. little Gull
77. Black-headed Gull
78. Slender-billed Gull
79. Mediterranean Gull
80. Yellow-legged Gull
81. Audouins Gull
82. Lesser Black-backed Gull
83. Little Tern
84. Sandwich Tern
85. Gull-billed Tern
86. Caspian Tern
87. Black Tern
88. Whiskered Tern
89. Rock / Feral Dove
90. Wood Pigeon
91. Collared Dove
92. Turtle Dove
93. Swift
94. Pallid Swift
95. Alpine Swift
96. Little Swift
97. Kingfisher
98. Bee-Eater
99. Roller
100. Hoopoe



Iberian Wall Lizard
Moorish Gecko
Mediterranean Chameleon European Pond Terrapin


Iberian Hare





101. Lesser Short-Toed Lark
102. Crested Lark
103. Thekla Lark
104. Sand Martin
105. Crag Martin
106. Swallow
107. Red-Rumped Swallow
108. House Martin
109. Yellow Wagtail
110. White Wagtail
111. Wren
112. Redstart
113. Black Redstart
114. Northern Wheatear
115. Whinchat
116. Stonechat
117. Blackbird
118. Sardinian Warbler
119. Whitethroat
120. Dartford Warbler
121. Zitting Cisticola
122. Sedge Warbler
123. Cetti’s Warbler
124. Reed Warbler
125. Great Reed Warbler
126. Willow Warbler
127. Western Bonelli’s Warbler 128. Spotted Flycatcher
129. Pied Flycatcher
130. Long-tailed Tit
131. Crested Tit
132. Blue Tit
133. Great Tit
134. Penduline Tit
135. Short-toed Treecreeper
136. Southern Grey Shrike
137. Woodchat Shrike
138. Azure-Winged Magpie
139. Magpie
140. Jackdaw
141. Raven
142. Spotless Starling
143. House Sparrow
144. Spanish Sparrow
145. Common Waxbill
146. Chaffinch
147. Linnet
148. Goldfinch
149. Greenfinch
150. Corn Bunting



Sea Squill
Sea Daffodil
Sea Holly
Squirting Cucumber
Yellow Star Thistle
Spanish Oyster Plant
Shrubby Hare's Ear


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