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Bee-eater perched on a branch

Unusually early migrants this spring

By José Antonio Sánchez Iglesias

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An unusual warm and dry winter has just given way to a spring full of early events. I had some very early orchids coming out in the pine forest, the first ones were out at the end of february, several weeks earlier than normal. On February 28th I found the first pallid swifts flying over Jose A. Valverde (first time ever I see swifts in February), when normally the first ones come through in the second half of March.

At the end of last week, on March 17th, I saw the first bee-eaters flying north over Matalascañas, several weeks earlier than normal again. Today we found the first woodchat shrikes in the Doñana forest. The number of black kites and booted eagles is increasing very quickly.Subalpine warblers are also passing in good numbers.

Today we found a large flock of Central Europe yellow wagtails (motacilla flava flava) moving across the marshes. Several British individuals were among them (motacilla flava flavissima). They are all on the way to you if you live in northern Europe.

At Caño Guadiamar we had large flocks of flamingos and many avocets, black-tailed godwits and purple swamphens. Lots of sedge warblers can be seen at Jose A. Valverde, singing very actively and also the first purple herons back from Africa. It is raining in Doñana these days but just showers; the light is great and the visibility excellent.

About José Antonio Sánchez Iglesias

José Antonio Sánchez se licenció en Biología por la Universidad de Sevilla en 1985. Más tarde, durante varios años, se dedicó a organizar y guiar rutas de senderismo y naturaleza ...

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