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Birding in Andalucia

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Old Monday 2nd January 2017, 09:27   #1
Alvaro WILD ANDALUCIA
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Birding in Andalucia

Hello folks, as there are several threads for other areas of Spain, and as this is my huge local patch, I thought I'd start off this specific thread for this very -probably the most- varied and interesting part of Spain, Andalucía, or generally speaking, the South of Spain.
As some of you knwo, I provide and participate actively in birding trips around the whole Andalucía, so you will be able to find a whole variety of birdlife throughout this thread. Hope you like it. Sincerely,
Álvaro Peral
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Old Monday 2nd January 2017, 11:02   #2
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Smile Birding in Doñana

Birding in Doñana is always a great experience. Can you imagine starting the new year with an unforgettable birding experience? So did we!We gave a chance to the Sevillian side of Doñana, which is always calm and full of surprises.

We started our tour at our visitors accomodation in Sevilla, on the way out we saw lots of White Stork -even saw them mating at this time of the year-, Cattle Egrets, Little Egrets, a pair of Eurasian-Collared Doves, a flock of Lapwings, Great Cormorants, Cranes and Spotless Starlings. Then we arrived to La Dehesa de Abajo, where we enjoyed a great but sunny early morning bird session and saw lots of Meadow Pipits, Goldfinches, Chiffchaffs, Black Redstarts, a couple of Common Buzzards and a Kestrel. It looked like the spring was already here when we saw a flock of Barn Swallows perched on a fence.

The bird hides provided a few species, like Eurasian Coots, a pair of Great Crested Grebes, Black-necked Grebes, a lonely White-Headed Duck, Mallards, big flocks of Common Pochards, a noisy Western Swamphen hidden among the reeds and a couple of Marsh Harriers patrolling the area. A stroll around the laguna de la Rianzuela gave us good sights of Eurasian Jackdaws, Stonechats, Blackcaps, Sardinian Warblers, Grey Herons, a few Crested Larks, White Wagtails, Crag Martins and Robins. We were able to hear some Cetti's Warblers and Blackbirds.

Right after we drove around the rice fields near Isla Mayor, where we saw big flocks of Glossy Ibis, surrounded by lots of White Storks, Black-headed Gulls and a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls. The wather was so nice (17ºC) that we decided to go for a picnic and we enjoyed it as some roosting Merlins and Common Buzzards could say. We continued the tour by car, and added to our list Great Egrets, Common Moorhen, a couple of Green Sandpipers and we saw a far fallow deer.

We arrived to the National Park limits, by the J.A. Valverde visitor centre, where we could enjoy 2 big flocks of Greater Flamingo, we counted around 360 indivivuals. There were also big flocks of Northern Pintails, Shovelers, Common Cranes and Coots. Eurasian Magpies Purple Swamphens, Gray Herons, some more Merlins and Buzzards were found, but the jewel of the crown was a final encounter, a couple of Red Knobbed Coots that were waiting to wish us a good birding 2017. On our way back, we found a wild boar and a nice Barn Owl decided to follow our car for a few minutes. Everybody was quite happy and I am glad to have provided around 50 species to start the year!
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Old Monday 2nd January 2017, 11:53   #3
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Great to hear from a local who is interested in birdwatching.Spread the message and lets hope more Spanish people take up the hobby.
I've been to the Costa De La Luz and enjoyed birdwatching there.

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Old Monday 2nd January 2017, 16:13   #4
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Hi, pratincol. Thanks for your message. Yes, fortunately birding is getting more friends. We still have a lot to do but so far so happy. Cheers!
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Old Tuesday 3rd January 2017, 09:40   #5
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Since I cannot get out to Cadiz province (in my view home to the very best birdwatching that Andalucia can offer) these days I look forward to reading your trip reports from there & elsewhere even if I risk turning green with envy! There's no better antidote to the winter blues in the north of Europe than a quick trip to Andalucia where, with luck, it'll be relatively warm and sunny and where spring starts in February (or earlier). If I can't do it myself then doing so vicariously through your reports will be the next best thing.

To respond to Pratincol's comment birding seems to be growing in popularity in Spain where its devotees have a much younger profile than those in the UK. This seems to have encouraged various local authorities to take birding tourism more seriously & give them more of a motive to preserve various habitats.
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Old Tuesday 3rd January 2017, 18:19   #6
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Glad to hear that, John. Yes, we are blessed with birdlife and tender winters. It's recently been mainly sunny except for today. I invite you to follow my trip reports, which I will limit to 1 per week even though being my job I go birding quite more often thatn that. Btw, I am also member of the ABS, may we have the chance to meet on the field meetings.
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Old Tuesday 10th January 2017, 10:45   #7
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Great Bustard time!

There's nothing like starting a new year watching species that you don't really find easily in the UK. That's what our English friends were thinking when they called me to organize our "shiny steppes" birding tour. They were very excited having a go on steppe birds only, so we went for a half-day tour focused on these birds and skept the lagoons nearby. After having a great local breakfast at Osuna, we drove to my favourite display areas, where we quickly found around 30 Red-legged Partridges, very well distinguished now that the fields are green and the crops stay short. The Great Bustards were at that
time somewhere else, but we enjoyed 4 Common Buzzards, 4 Red Kites and some flocks of Spotless Starling and Spanish Sparrow. We continued on and had a short walk that allowed us to add some Crested Larks, Goldfinches, a few Stonechats and 4 lovely Hoopoes that were following us. Soon after we arrived to a bushy area were we could hear the European Green Woodpecker and saw some Great Tits and 2 Kestrels. Some plots were being ploughed and we could enjoy dozens of White Wagtails very much taking advantage of it. We thought the day was completed by lots of Feral Pigeons, Chiffchaffs and a Southern Grey Shrike, but as we were about to finish the journey we found a Red Kite that somehow drew our attention. We stopped the car, took the binoculars to follow its path and, all of a sudden, John and me yelled at a time: Great Bustards! We immediatly set the scope on the tripod and enjoyed an amazing flock of 11. There was one among them that seemed quite excited about its bubble soap coutship, but the ladies were not very interested at this time of the year that -although quite sunny- still belongs to the winter. We enjoyed them for nearly half an hour and then decided to
celebrate the sight with a bottle of wine at Osuna's centre. Everyone was quite happy about this fast winter tour. However, I disliked hearing a noisy workshop not far from there, and as we drove back, a lonely greyhound bothered the flock, that had to take two short flights to avoid it. I personally just hope that we succeed in keeping this small andalusian population of Great Bustards. May you have an idea, please get back to me.

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Old Tuesday 10th January 2017, 15:56   #8
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One of my favourite areas to go birding in Andalucia. It consistently turns up at least one of the two bustards and often both plus, with a bit of luck, Black-bellied Sandgrouse. There always seem to be plenty of Spanish Sparrows and Southern Grey Shrikes about - two birds that can be elusive elsewhere. The birds of prey never disappoint either with Black-winged Kite being a particular favourite. In summer you also have Roller, Olivaceous Warbler, etc. Not only that but you also have some great lagunas nearby at Lantejuela. Then there's Osuna which is my favourite small town in Andalucia stuffed as it is with history and architecture. If that weren't enough "Mr. Chava Cafetería" on the edge of town serves the best coffee I've ever had in Spain!
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Old Monday 23rd January 2017, 19:16   #9
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Birding the Odiel Marshes near Donana

Odiel Marshes in Huelva are one of the last real marshes in Andalucia. We took our British guests Peter and MJ in Faro and decided to make our first birding stop at the Laguna de El Portil, where we found some Green-winged Teals, Ferruginous Ducks, Shovelers and some interesting wood birds, like the Short-toed Treecreeper and Green Woodpecker.

Birding the Marshes is fairly better when the tide is low, and we perfectly planned for it. With not much time at El Portil, we headed to the Marismas del Odiel Natural Park and just before getting off the car we could see some 100 Greater Flamingoes welcoming us. There were also some varied waders, such as the nervous Little Stints, Grey Plovers, Ringed Plovers and even a brave Kingfisher.

We were already quite happy and the day was just beginning! We patrolled the marshes and made a few stopovers to check the strategic observation points. Lots of birds, including Wimbrel, Curlew, Gadwalls and Black-winged Stilts. After some nice walk under the welcoming andalusian sunlight, we decided to have a go on the sandy beach at the end of the marshes, where we added a lovely couple of Audouin's Gull and some Oystercatchers.

OK, time for the big guys: we found 3 Ospreys, which actually are common sights for those who know where to find them. But the great moment of the day was about to arrive, when just before going back we heard a strange noise in the water and suddenly an Osprey pop out flying off the water holding a remarkably big fish with its claws! All of us preferred to look at it without the binoculars... absolutely impressive how it came out of nowhere. Our return towards Sevilla was one of the happiest that I recently recall...

Here's the full list of species that we found:

Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Eurasian Marsh-Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)
Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Audouin's Gull (Ichthyaetus audouinii)
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)
Feral Pigeon (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon))
Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
Common Magpie (Pica pica)
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Fan-tailed Warbler (Cisticola juncidis)
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Serin (Serinus serinus)
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Old Saturday 4th February 2017, 13:47   #10
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Winter birding at the Fuente de Piedra lagoon, Malaga

The laguna fuente de piedra always provides a great winter birding day. Not just for the reknown presence of Greater Flamingo, but for the magnificent scenario where sky and water merges into one. Anna and Robert were our guests this time. After a traditional breakfast in Antequera, we got to the lagoon, where we started ticking our birdlist quite fast. The small lagoon at the entrance provided lots of species, like Spanish and House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Green-winged Teal, Lapwing and the omnipresent Lesser Black-backed gull. The highlihgt was a very daring Bluethroat, that stayed near us for a long time. The laguneto lagoon provided a couple of White headed Duck and Gadwall, Black-headed gull, Coot, Moorhen, Black winged Stilt, Cetti's Warbler, just to mention a few. We walked the perimeter and then checked some view points. Unfortunately, we did not manage to see the one Lesser Flamingo that we found on our previous Flamingo Tour. However, our expedition around the farmlands provided some interesting landscapes and birds, such as Calandra and Crested Lark, and a flying flock of around 200 Cranes. This was the best moment we lived that day.
We headed to the nearby Torcal de Antequera right afterwards to find some rocky birds but we'll leave this for an upcoming post.
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Old Saturday 4th February 2017, 13:52   #11
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Please find enclosed the very interesting pictures from the previuos post:
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Old Sunday 5th February 2017, 15:32   #12
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I look forward to more - a great area for birding and a fantastic place for a later winter break.
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Old Tuesday 14th February 2017, 08:04   #13
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Donana: Black Stork, Spoonbill and much more

The surroundings of Donana Natural Park always make a perfect birding trip. Although big enough to provide a full or even multi day birding trip from Seville, we went for a short winter's afternoon trip that provided around 40 species of birds. Christine and her partner were very excited about the Black Stork, we found 3 of them. It was also the first time they saw Glossy Ibis and Spoonbill. We love to see the joy on our guests' eyes when a new bird is added to their lifelists.
If you are visiting Seville, you may consider join a trip like this one: Wild Andalucia
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Old Saturday 18th February 2017, 13:17   #14
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As many of you may know, we are having the biggest birdfair in Spain, taking place in Monfragüe (Extremadura) next weekend 24th-26th.
You will be able to meet me at the Andalucía marquees 367 to 370. It'd be lovely to see you there!
More info at http://fioextremadura.es/
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Old Sunday 19th February 2017, 14:59   #15
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Great Bustards

Returning from the Algarve to Almeria, after a weeks birding, we stopped west of Osuna for a coffee break. Second bridge over the railway? looking north we saw 13 great bustards-a very good end to the week.
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Old Sunday 19th February 2017, 20:00   #16
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I will be staying near Estepona between 13 and 20 April. I am considering visiting Donana, does anyone have any tips about the best way to do this please? I am aware I will have a bit of a drive!
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Old Sunday 19th February 2017, 21:03   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Williams View Post
I will be staying near Estepona between 13 and 20 April. I am considering visiting Donana, does anyone have any tips about the best way to do this please? I am aware I will have a bit of a drive!
Donana is an iconic site but, given the long distances involved, if it's the birds you're after (rather than a 'Coto' experience) it might be better to explore Cadiz province which hold most of the key species but doesn't involve driving up the Seville and back down again ...or using the ferry across to Coria (see - http://transportesfluviales.wix.com/...rarios-tarifas) which may be worth it if visiting Brazo del Este first but could work out longer timewise.
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Old Monday 20th February 2017, 07:20   #18
Alvaro WILD ANDALUCIA
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I will be staying near Estepona between 13 and 20 April. I am considering visiting Donana, does anyone have any tips about the best way to do this please? I am aware I will have a bit of a drive!
Hello Rob. As you know, Doñana is a must. Keep in mind we can guide you through Doñana both North and South, either half or full day trip. Best regards,
Álvaro
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Old Monday 20th February 2017, 08:03   #19
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From Estepona (I used to live nearby) a day trip to the east bank of the Guadalquivir is do-able but to Doñana itself would be an enormous effort for a few hours there. Its not enough to be able to cover more than one or two of the best areas - frustrating. I would strongly recommend an overnight stop or better, two!
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Old Monday 20th February 2017, 09:18   #20
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I agree with Simon. Estepona to the East Bank is something over two hours each way plus driving time on the tracks, but you can do it in a day. I've done it several times from that general area. Doñana itself without an overnight in somewhere like El Rocio is a different kettle of fish altogether.
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Old Monday 20th February 2017, 16:43   #21
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Hello, Andalusia is a magnificent place, have been there for 12 years to make the holidays at the Donana national park, I could see them more rapacious than in the rest of my birdwatching, Algeciras, Gibraltar, vultures still close to the blades exploiting wind currents.
Anyone who has been to the Donana can only hope to go back.
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Old Wednesday 22nd February 2017, 16:05   #22
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Thanks for your comments and maybe I will leave Donana until another trip when I can stay nearby. In that case what areas would birders suggest I visit instead?
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Old Wednesday 22nd February 2017, 21:12   #23
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Hi again, Rob. Given your geographical location, I'd suggest birding either the strait of Gribraltar or the Ronda mountain range. Good luck!
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Old Wednesday 1st March 2017, 07:13   #24
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For those who enjoy our trip reports, we've just publised our Extremadura trip report, including great pictures of Imperial Eagle, Black Stork, Egyptian and Griffon Vulture on the local thread: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....69#post3532069
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Old Saturday 11th March 2017, 12:51   #25
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Birding the Strait of Gibraltar: when and where to go

Birding the Strait of Gibraltar is a rewarding experience most days of the year. Although both migratory periods are known to provide the most surprising amounts of birds, all winter and late summer also offer an attractive journey in this strategic migratory point. The success rate is heavily influenced by the winds; as a general rule, we must head to the eaternmost part of the Strait in westerlies, and vice versa. I met up with my friends from Norway in the Costa del Sol and headed to the Algarrobo view point very early in the morning. Although a bit cloudy we could see +200 Black Kites and a few Griffon Vultures coming in. We soon checked some other view points and added a few species, always outnumbered by the Black Kites. We visited a Northern Bald Ibis colony nearby, that lead us 7 pairs of these extremely beautiful and mistic birds, very much devoted to love on these days. Then a quick car-based birding session around the marshes of Barbate gave us perfect sights of waders and a Montagu’s Harrier. After a short cultural visit to Tarifa village, the day finished at the Punta del Carnero cliff site, where one by one, we welcomed 19 Short-toed Snake Eagles in just a few minutes. Although this site widely provides for at least 2-3 full days of birding, we enjoyed an intensive great journey of spring migration. Birding the Strait of Gibraltar is highly recommended to anyone visiting the South of Spain. Here’s an excellent view of the Northern Africa’s mountain range as seen from the Strait:
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Birding in Southern Spain- Andalucia Ian Robinson Your Birding Day 9 Sunday 24th April 2005 16:03

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