Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Spain - Donana El Rocio - Creeping around!

Showers were forecast for today so I opted for the stay close to home option where I could bird from my hotel room window if the weather got too bad. I took a walk to El Rocio visitor centre and took their boardwalk trail via a series of hides.

My target species for the day was Short-toed Treecreeper that are known to frequent the pines throughout this part of the reserve. This species was not that easy to find probably due to the gloomy wet weather.

I had reached a clearing in the pines where younger trees were more scattered I checked the hide which overlooked the marsh and then as I was walking back along the boardwalk I heard its clear note piping call. Bingo! The bird was not that difficult to locate flying from the mid-point of one pine landing near the bottom of another. The camera was put to work before I moved on and had a second bird.

The two were communicating but did not join forces or squabble over territory. The song was right for Short-toed The first bird had the white tips to the primaries and I know there is alot of variation between this and the E and W races of Treecreeper but having photographed the second bird it appeared to have a longer hind-claw (below). 
I took as many pictures as I could before both birds drifted off into more dense cover so that I could look at the features more closely on my laptop. The Eurasian Treecreeper is not supposed to be this far south and the call for both was perfect for Short-toed but it had me puzzled all the same!!

The rain started to fall and I realized I had dropped my rain poncho. I retraced my steps and asked a school group if they had seen it. This caused amusement within this group as they had sussed I was not Spanish and it was a guessing game as to where I came from. The teachers were helpful but weren’t too impressed with the disruption I had caused! I found the poncho where I had crossed the road and ducked under a barrier! A relief as this goes everywhere with me!

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