By José Antonio Sánchez Iglesias
Posted in Doñana today
It was cold when we started at 7:30 but sunny and warm at the end of the tour around 14:15. I had a selected group of nice people willing to enjoy one of our shared bird tours today.
Soon after we started we stopped at Puente del Ajolí to try Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. We did not get it but had a couple of penduline tits and a group of siskin instead, a winter visitor that I don’t see very often so I really enjoyed the moment.
Later we had the first black kites and the first subalpine warbler of the season. We also found a short-toed treecreeper feeding chicks in its nest built under the peeled bark of an eucalyptus. And then we had good views of several great-spotted cuckoos, next to a group of goldfinches feeding on thistles seeds.
Marsh harrier, hen harrier, merlin, griffon vulture, common buzzard. red kite, black kite, little owl, common kestrel, lesser kestrel and black winged kite were added to our list during the morning but no booted eagles yet flying over Doñana. I bring you instead a photo of a young bonelli’s eagle we saw last week, an uncommon sighting in Doñana.
Calandra and lesser short-toed larks displaying all over the marshes and distant pintail sandgrouses calling in flight. Later, during the coffee break at Jose A. Valverde, we enjoyed great views of a red-knobbed coot with tiny knobs, they will grow fast from now to get ready for breeding. Sedge warblers are already passing through and singing actively. Teals, shovelers, red-crested pochards but no garganeys today in the lagoons next to the visitor centre. Lots of house and sand martins and barn swallows coming in and feeding over the lagoons.
No greylag geese in sight but we found a large group of about cranes. Small groups of Spanish sparrows here and there as we moved east past Lucio del Lobo. We had redshank, greenshank, spotted redshank and ruff in the main drainage channel bringing water to Casa Bombas. Huge numbers of pallid swifts passing through surprisingly early this year.
Nice day, nice people, nice long bird list.