Saturday, 5 March 2011



We left El Rocio traveling to the Dehesa de Abajo in deepest Donana, this is not a normal area, and no good maps seem to exist, it's not the New Forest! A paradise for birders and people who love nature, and within one day in this area we had three "Lifers" Red Knobbed Coot, Greater Spotted Cuckoo & Ruddy Shelduck. The sheer numbers of birds on the Canada de Rianzuela are amazing, at least 1,000 Flamingos, hundreds of Glossy Ibis, Avocets (more than we have ever seen in one place) Shoveler and Pintail Duck, Ruff, Black Tailed Godwit, Greenshank (huge numbers) Spoonbill, Red shank, Dunlin, I am becoming boring, there are too many! In the surrounding trees and on any high place nest the 500 nesting pairs of White Storks, one of the largest colonies in Europe, the Clack Clack Clack of their beaks a constant background noise as they greet each other.

 White Storks making their greeting
We must not forget the some of the smaller inhabitants of this region, the Iberian Grey Shrike, in England the Grey Shrike is known as "the butcher bird" because of its habit of impaling its prey on thorns.

Iberian Grey Shrike.
Whilst exploring the surrounding area we saw a Spanish Imperial Eagle (sadly no photos) Booted Eagle, Osprey (no photo) Black stork (ditto) Greater Spotted Cuckoo, Squacco Heron, at least 60 night Herons
and Red Knobbed coot.

Red Knobbed Coot ( note the id tag, as this is a reintroduced bird, hugely endangered)

Booted Eagle ( stalked by Mike)

Squacco Heron.

Night Herons.
The magic of this place are the early mornings (yes I did see them!) and the sunsets, when hundreds of birds pass over to find feeding grounds, or roosting sites, the air is full of bird calls and the constant murmuring of the Flamingos as they move this way and that, like  formation dancers.

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