Birding the Odiel Marshes

Birding the Odiel Marshes in Huelva means birding one   of the last real marshes in Andalucia. We took our British guests Peter and MJ in Faro and decided to make our first birding stop at the Laguna de El Portil, where we found some Green-winged Teals, Ferruginous Ducks, Shovelers and some interesting wood birds, like the Short-toed Treecreeper and Green Woodpecker.

Birding the Marshes is fairly better when the tide is low, and we perfectly planned for it. With not much time at El Portil, we headed to the Marismas del Odiel Natural Park and just before getting off the car we could see some 100 Greater Flamingoes welcoming us. There were also some varied waders, such as the nervous Little Stints, Grey Plovers, Ringed Plovers and even a brave Kingfisher.

We were already quite happy and the day was just beginning! We patrolled the marshes and made a few stopovers to check the strategic observation points. Lots of birds, including Wimbrel, Curlew, Gadwalls and Black-winged Stilts. After some nice walk under the welcoming andalusian sunlight, we decided to have a go on the sandy beach at the end of the marshes, where we added a lovely couple of Audouin’s Gull and some Oystercatchers.

OK, time for the big guys: we found 3 Ospreys, which actually are common sights for those who know where to find them. But the great moment of the day was about to arrive, when just before going back we heard a strange noise in the water and suddenly an Osprey pop out flying off the water holding a remarkably big fish with its claws! All of us preferred to look at it without the binoculars… absolutely impressive how it came out of nowhere. Our return towards Sevilla was one of the happiest that I recently recall…

Here’s the full list of species that we found (marshes only):

Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Eurasian Marsh-Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)
Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Audouin’s Gull (Ichthyaetus audouinii)
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)
Feral Pigeon (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon))
Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
Common Magpie (Pica pica)
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Fan-tailed Warbler (Cisticola juncidis)
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)
Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Serin (Serinus serinus)