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!