Saturday, 18 March 2017

Spain - Donana National Park - Savi's gives itself up!

I spent the day closer to my base looking around the Madre de Las Marismas which includes El Rocio reserve. The weather was calm and sunny with a breeze later on in the day. This was perfect conditions for Savi’s Warbler who was heard in every patch of reed on El Rocio. The difficult part was going to be photographing one!

The hides at El Rocio are well placed and I methodically visited each one to see if any new migrants had arrived since my last visit. The first of which was a Woodchat Shrike perched on top of a small tree.

Next up from the same hide were some Long tailed Tit that were playing a game with a feather taking turns to catch it in their beaks then letting it fall for the next bird to catch. Many of the birds on this part of Donana have rings including the White Stork and Glossy Ibis.

I placed myself in the hide with the closest clump of reed and set my stall up for a stake out. This would take several hours to achieve my objective. This species was a life bird for me and was therefore worth the time spent on it. The only down side was the pics of the bird reeling its heart out were blurred. I was obviously still shaking from having seen a bird so close.

During this time I added Common Waxbill to my tally which I was not expecting but was grateful for the brief appearance of a couple of birds in the reeds.

I spent the afternoon having firstly jet washed the car for two euro (very reasonable!!) watching the flooded area in front of my hotel. This gave the car time to dry off before it was subjected to sandsville and the mass of people that had arrived for the weekend madness. 

There were numerous ducks, Greylag Goose that had successfully bred with eight tiny goslings. Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret and Spoonbill were also well represented. The Greater Flamingo had moved but were still within scope range. Hirundines were not so prevalent but there were Red Rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Sand Martin and Pallid Swift.

Tomorrow is my last day in Donana and I have yet to decide where I will venture to. I have not found Marbled Duck or Red Knobbed Coot and from speaking to other birders they have not been seen outside the rehabilitation area. 

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