Thursday, 12 March 2015

Parque Nacional de Donana birdwatching

The Donana National park, occasionally referred to as the Marismas del Guadalquivir, situated in Spain's Andalusia, sharing the provinces of Huelva and Seville. The highest point above sea level at best 47 metres. It covers a huge area, some (343,000 acres) of protected area, semi protected area and buffer zone. There are four visitor centres within the park. Having in the past visited three, this time we will try and visit the Jose Antonio Vaverde (JAV), some 26 kilometres out in the Marismas del Guadalquivir on a unmade road. The macadam road ends in the vast open rice growing area of the Isla Mayor, it is here we start our journey out into the Donana. 

Flat to the horizon and the weather is no better!

From the start of our journey it is rewarding. Buzzards adorn fence posts and fly low across the track.
As we pass through the the Brazo de la Torre, there are Glossy Ibis, Herons and Spoonbills, and then Linda spotted a light brown bird flying through the reeds, then gone! A few minutes later we stop and have stunning views of a Barn Owl, the bird Linda spotted flying through the reeds.

We sit in silence as the Barn Owl prepares to fly.

It flies to a adjacent fence post.

Whilst watching for prey it turns to show it's beautiful markings.

There is no hiding place out here, startled Green, Common and Wood Sandpipers race for the sky and then return to the water. Chiffchaffs line the fences waiting to catch a fly. Stonechats perch and watch us pass by.

Flamingos  march along the water ways and Black Tailed Godwits search for food.

 Then we spot an elusive Black Stork searching for food in the grasses.

A beautiful bird nearly prehistoric in their looks.

We are so lucky, by days end we will have seen severn of these wonderful birds.

Sitting on the opposite bank a female Kestrel watches for prey.

Grey Herons seem unperturbed by our passing, whilst the wintering Squacco Heron below tries to be invisible.

This Great White Egret takes a walk on the wild side!

At the end of the day we pass back across the rice fields and on to the Dehesa de Abajo with Europe's largest colony of White Storks. This pair standing proud in the strong wind and light rain.

We stop at what is locally termed, the gravel pits, observing a large colony of over wintering Black Crowned Night Herons.

There are upwards of seventy birds roosting in the vegetation, just above the water.

A first year brown speckled juvenile perched above the adult bird.  

A wonderful day out, but once again only a small glimpse of what the
 Parque Nacional de Donana has to offer.

Until the next visit!

1 comment:

Angelique said...

Hello there, Mike and Linda
Your photography is beautiful and the wording just explains so beautifully. You should see our bird life in South Africa!!!