TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Spain - Andalucía in Autumn

21 - 28 September 2002


Leaders:
Tim Earl
John Muddeman

HIGHLIGHTS
Flamingos doing the Conga across the marsh at El Rocío - Tom The wonderful views of Bluethroat - Diane
Eagles taking off from Europe to cross the Straits into Morocco - Bernadette Bonelli's Eagle: John whipped out of the minibus so excited - Peter The House Martins, which could have nested on our house, crossing to Africa - Martin
Watching little birds taking the same step and going for Africa - Mary Greenfinch and Stonechat side by side in the telescope Watching a man get off his horse to make a phone call in El Rocío. The horse waited outside the phone box as if it were next in line. Photographing a dead eel on the beach when two pairs of feet appeared in the viewfinder. They were attached to two very attractive naked men. Egyptian grasshopper at the coffee stop on the way to Seville - Greta An Osprey carrying a fish across the Straits to Morocco as if it were a picnic lunch: it did not trust the food there - June The first raptor on the first day - a species I would remember, Short-toed Eagle - David The Black-shouldered Kite, such a lovely bird to see - Angie A Short-toed Eagle perched on a pylon. It looked just like the picture in the book - Marjorie
Melodious Warbler: one of eight lifers - Brian The Bluethroat. And the Osprey carrying a fish, just like those I have watched in Cumbria. I wondered if it had carried the fish all the way from there. The habitat and what's going on in it. Fan-tailed Warbler: I had super views of the little beggar. - Neil DAILY DIARY

Saturday 21 September
After an uneventful flight the British contingent, led by Tim Earl, met John Muddeman and four smug Americans at Seville Airport - they had been watching a flock of 60 Pallid Swifts. We drove down to El Rocío, arriving in time for a late supper. It was a relief to see that there was water in the lagoon and to hear the calls of Mallard and Black-winged Stilts. We could only wonder at what the morning would bring.
Sunday 22 September
Okay, perhaps a 7.30 start in the dark was a little early but it was delightful to see the day break and begin picking out birds on the lagoon. The calling frogs turned out to be a huge flock of Greater Flamingos which gave great delight when they flew past, red wings flashing. The roll-call started in earnest and before breakfast we had seen at least 30 species including Black Tern, Black-winged stilt, Ruff, Spoonbill, Red-crested Pochard, bucket-loads of Pintail, Kingfisher, Subalpine Warbler and Marsh Harrier. A big Red Deer stag was seen at the back of the lagoon. It was a great shock to find that the wildlife interpretation centre with its thatched roof and roof-top viewing area had burnt down two weeks earlier.
Breakfast in the restaurant was followed by Spotless Starling on an aerial, Little Stint, Black-tailed Godwit, Black Kite, Gadwall, lots of Coot (but none was Red-knobbed) Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Willow Warbler and Collared Dove.
Sadly, a religious festival involved firing loud air-bombs which disturbed the birds and us so we decamped to El Acebuche visitor centre, spotting Red Fox on the way, where the rapid-fire bird fun began again.
Dartford Warbler, several Pied Flycatchers and Sardinian Warblers, were seen but the elusive Azure-winged Magpies were heard only.
We walked down the board-walks watching birds as we went but a soaring Short-toed Eagle caused the procession to stop. The bird was watched for at least 10 minutes to applause in the form of ooohs and aaahs.
Crimson-speckled Moths, brilliant migrants from Africa, were found with Lang's Short-tailed Blue butterflies and Red-veined Darters which were common. The lagoons had only recently held water and there was an absence of water birds but we glimpsed a Kingfisher and watched Green Sandpiper and Stonechat.
Lunch was eaten under the pines where we were soon surrounded by flocks of Azure-winged Magpies. They had been teasing us earlier. Calling Crested Tits were never pinned down and we left for the Palacio del Acebrón.
The walk around this strange 1960s hunting palace was delightful, as ever. Many Red-rumped Swallows and Pied Flycatchers were seen at the start and calling Short-toed Treecreepers eventually deigned to show themselves. A Cetti's Warbler was glimpsed but Iberian Chiffchaffs were more forthcoming. Long-tailed Tit is an uncommon bird in this part of Spain so we were pleased to pick up a small party of four. Several Spotted Flycatchers were seen by part of the group.
Wild Boar had been excavating widely and a Genet latrine was found, but neither species was seen. As we left the palace a dark-phase Booted Eagle soared up over the road in front of the minibuses and we were able to get great views of the bird. Its 'landing lights' - pale panels on the leading edges of its wings - were clearly visible. Soon afterwards a pale-phase bird was seen and we were able to compare and contrast the two types. As we were watching, a singing Thekla Lark was pointed out and a brilliant Red Kite came into view. Which should we watch? The answer came when a third Booted Eagle distracted us. It was an exciting end to the organised part of the day.
Several group members went out to watch the El Rocío lagoon before the call-over and dinner, adding Greenshank to the day's list.
Monday 23 September
A trip to the Jose Antonio Valverde interpretation centre is almost guaranteed as one of the best birding experiences in Europe and today was no exception.
From our first stop at the Arroyo de la Palmosa birds came thick and fast all day. The river had Greenshanks and Green Sandpipers, the first of many, plus a lone Wood Sandpiper, Spotted and Common Redshank.
A Tawny Pipit flew over, perhaps flushed by three Hoopoes which charged up out of the river bed. Turtle Dove was found on a cable as were several Tree Sparrows and a Common Buzzard.
Fan-tailed Warbler has been renamed Zitting Cisticola and several were seen around the river - a bird which was common throughout the day. Southern Grey Shrike was also seen for the first time to study.
Driving on we stopped in pine woodland to watch singing Woodlark, Crested Tit and glimpses of Bonelli's Warbler spotted by Martin and Tom.
It was clear as we drove onto the unmade road to the centre that there were masses of birds around. Herons, ducks and raptors were abundant but a stop for a kettle of birds produced one of the stars of the trip - a sub-adult Spanish Imperial Eagle. This most difficult of Iberian birds performed so well that after the excitement Tim and John were able to own up - they had seen one form the hotel the day before.
Our birding extravaganza went up a notch when we entered the area of rice fields close to the interpretation centre.
Suddenly there seemed to be Little Terns above every channel, Lesser Short-toed and Calandra Larks flocked around the drier fields and White Storks were common - some in large kettles. A call for one Black Stork resulted in us finding six roosting along one of the banks.
We finally reached the interpretation centre to find the tamarisk trees loaded with Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, two juvenile Woodchat Shrikes, Reed and Sedge Warblers.
Pools around the centre were largely dry but those with water were crowded with Pied Avocets, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Little Stint, Black-winged Stilts, Dunlin, and Black-tailed Godwit. To our surprise four Bar-tailed Godwit, a species normally found on the edge of seawater, dropped in too.
Lunch was taken close to a busy lagoon where more than 80 Spoonbill plus lots of other birds already seen were enjoyed. The whole lot rose into the air in unison as a Peregrine went over. It was probably the same bird which disturbed the waders later on.
Our return to the hotel was punctuated with stops to watch more larks and an obliging Hoopoe, two Little Ringed Plover, a sun-bleached Skylark, juvenile Grey Wagtail and flocks of House Sparrows which contained a few Linnet, Serin, and Goldfinches. One of the last birds of the day was a female Hen (Northern) Harrier
We returned to El Rocío for a well-earned shower and beer. More Red and Fallow Deer were seen from the hotel before we tucked into a meal of soup, whitebait and chocolate mousse. Those with stronger constitutions sampled the local brandy in large measure before turning in.
Tuesday 24 September
Our main travelling day started with a walk to the burnt-out interpretation centre at El Rocío. On the walk we saw many of the birds already recorded but added Melodious Warbler to the list. Good views of Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint were had by most. A Pallid Swift circled the hotel just before we left.
Little can be spotted from the minibuses and we were pleased to stretch legs at a motorway café. Pied and Spotted Flycatchers were seen in the grounds.
Our lunch stop at Laguna de Medina gave us another chance to study Short-toed Eagle. We also saw our first Hobby and two Booted Eagles passing by. Common Swift was seen by several people.
After lunch we set off to get better views of the lake's inhabitants, recording White-headed Duck, Black-necked Grebe, Purple Gallinule, Common Pochard, and Common Whitethroat for the first time. Great views of another juvenile Woodchat Shrike were had along with Red-crested Pochard, Greater Flamingo, assorted ducks and skip-loads of Little Grebes and Coots.
The final leg of our journey was broken to watch Red-legged Partridge, and a Common Buzzard.
Birding from the balconies of the hotel in Zahara produced an Egyptian Vulture, four Short-toed Eagles, eight Griffon Vultures and a Turtle Dove.
Wednesday 25 September
Our first full day birding the raptor migration along the Straits of Gibraltar certainly lived up to expectations. We watched in awe as hundreds of eagles, buzzards and vultures set off over our heads for the tempting African mainland which stood out so clearly.
The day started with a walk down the beach to see what migrants had arrived. They had notÍ but did so while we stood at the water's edge. A Northern Wheatear literally dropped out of the sky and landed between our feet. It had clearly mistaken us for a shelter-belt of bushes but darted inland once the truth dawned.
There were plenty of Yellow-legged Gulls following the fishing boats, accompanied by several Cory's Shearwaters and a few Balearic Shearwaters. Views were not good and we decided to give seawatching a miss until we visit Tarifa breakwater. We set off for breakfast but not until Sanderling and Kentish Plover had been studied.
Tim picked up an Alpine Swift as we were getting into the buses after breakfast. Our first raptor-watching stop was El Algarrobo viewpoint on a dramatic hillside overlooking Gibraltar and the nearby coast of Morocco. Birds of prey were coming over as we drove up and out telescopes were soon filled with views of Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Black Stork, Short-toed Eagle and Pallid Swift, while around us were singing Cetti's Warbler, Stonechat, a bird which turned out to be abundant in the area, Sardinian Warbler and a lone Blue Tit.
A walk through the woods at the Huerta Grande interpretation centre gave us time to cool off and record Firecrest, Hawfinch, Red Crossbill, Nuthatch, Blackcap, Robin, (Winter) Wren, Grey Wagtail, Chaffinch, Crested Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper and yet more raptors overhead. A huge flock of Bee-eaters was picked up by John on call and we all had good views as they passed over. Several Monarch butterflies were seen flitting around recently-stripped red-trunked Cork Oaks.
Our arrival at the Cazalla viewpoint overlooking Tarifa, was perfectly timed. A juvenile Spanish Imperial Eagle was passing over. It was followed by a succession of birds in small groups. These included several Egyptian Vulture, Black Stork, Booted and Short-toed Eagle and Red-rumped Swallow. A Long-legged Buzzard was a great find as was, just, a Bonelli's Eagle which came past as we were boarding the buses.
After ice-creams and a rest stop we went into the Sierra de la Plata, high hills overlooking the Roman town at Claudia Baelo. There was a terrific passage of falcons with Hobby, Peregrine, Kestrel and Lesser Kestrel shooting over the cliffs above us as were searched successfully for nesting Griffon Vulture, which were much admired, and Crag Martin. We studied a Two-tailed Pasha butterfly before John decided to give our session another two minutes before leaving for the hotel and after 90 seconds a White-rumped Swift turned up and did a fly-past performance.
It was a terrific end to our 'turn right for Morocco' migration-watching day.
Thursday 26 September
We headed away from the sea to La Janda marshes and rice fields where small birds and a rare bird of prey were the quarry.
The former were easy as the whole marsh was teeming with flocks of passerines. Linnet, Greenfinch, Common Whitethroat, several Whinchat, Yellow Wagtail, Zitting Cisticola, Greater Short-toed Lark and a pair of Ortolan Bunting were seen in the first few yards of a short walk.
We soon noticed raptors lower down the valley with several Common Buzzard perched on pylons and Marsh Harriers quartering the rice fields. A splendid male Hen (Northern) Harrier was seen by most. Driving along the main track across the marsh we saw a Black Kite distantly and a glorious Short-toed Eagle perched on a pylon.
Tim's bus stopped to watch a perched Marsh Harrier and noticed a small flock of Calandra Lark, while the other bus's sharp-eyed clients picked up Wood Sandpiper, Snipe, Moorhen and Green Sandpiper.
John was voted the spotter of the day after he found a Black-shouldered Kite sitting on an irrigation pipe. He also found a cracking band-winged dragonfly (Brachythemis leucosticta).
We left the marsh for late-morning coffee in a bar which had hundreds of hams hanging around it. A Common Redstart was found as we got back into the buses.
A stop at the estuary on the road out of Barbate was both squalid from the rubbish dumped at the roadside and brilliant for the birds. We were soon adding birds to our extensive list with Osprey, Sandwich Tern, Red Knot, Curlew and Oystercatcher. We also saw more Bar-tailed Godwit, Ringed and Kentish Plover, Yellow-legged, Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed Gull, Redshank, Sanderling, Curlew Sandpiper, and Dunlin.
After a typical Spanish siesta, swim and relaxation we visited the restored Roman settlement at Baelo Claudia, ostensibly to look at the ruins, but also sneaking the occasional glance at Sardinian and Willow warblers (scores of the latter) Crested and Thekla Larks, Montagu's Harrier and Serin. But it was the seabirds - passing Northern Gannet, Balearic and Cory's Shearwaters - which appealed to many. Angela found and pointed out a Hummingbird Hawk-moth.
Friday 27 September
Off to the Straits again, this time via the Playa de los Lances where a Little Owl was out on a stable roof waiting for us. After watching it for some time we set off across the beach where Northern Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail had dropped in from their migrations. Another fly-past Tawny Pipit was recorded but again the bird did not stop.
Audouin's Gull is a speciality of the area and we were able to study several in a mixed roost. Some were carrying white rings for field identification. Sandwich Tern was found but sadly there was no sign of Lesser Crested Tern which we had hoped for.
Waders were in ample supply, however, and we had good views of Red Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Ringed and Kentish plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank and Turnstone.
As we were leaving, a group of warblers in a prickly pear hedge attracted attention and we were able see Cetti's, Reed and Willow Warblers well. Neil suddenly picked up a Bluethroat which gave superb views for several minutes.
A short stop at another gull roost produced nothing new and we retired to Tarifa for coffee. A walk onto the breakwater produced superb views of shoaling Grey Mullet and added Common Tern and Whimbrel to the trip list. A few Balearic Shearwaters, Gannet and Sandwich Tern were seen but the light was horrible and a mist hung over the water so we headed for the hills.
Cazalla viewpoint was teeming with raptors as we arrived and we were able to practice our new-found identification skills on Short-toed and Booted Eagles, Egyptian and Griffon Vultures, Kestrel and Hobby, Common and Honey Buzzard before leaving for a well-earned siesta.
Our last outing was really just to say that we had visited Cape Trafalgar when the 200th anniversary of the sea battle is celebrated in 2005, but it turned into a birding bonanza. Balearic and Cory's shearwaters were tanking past from the outset and there were gluts of Gannets and tons of terns (Sandwich) going past. A dark-phase Arctic Skua (Parasitic Jaeger) was the last new bird of the trip bringing our total to 173 species for the week, quite a good result.
Saturday 28 September
Little birding is possible on the trip from Zahara to Seville but a few goodies were spotted from the buses. Flocks of Greater Flamingos, several Black-winged Stilts and a Spoonbill were seen just north of Cadiz while our comfort stop produced an Egyptian Grasshopper found by Greta.

ANNOTATED SPECIES LIST

BIRDS
GREBES Podicipediformes Podicipedidae
Little Grebe El Rocío, three on 22nd, Coto de Doñana (10 on 23rd);
Tachybaptus ruficollis Laguna de Medina (100 on 24th)
Great Crested Grebe Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd)
Podiceps cristatus
Black-necked (Eared) Grebe Laguna de Medina (6 on 24th)
Podiceps nigricollis
SHEARWATERS & PETRELS Procellariiformes Procellariidae
Cory's Shearwater Zahara (6 on 25th); Baelo Claudia (1 on 26th)
Calonectris diomedea Cape Trafalgar (20 on 27th)
Balearic (Mediterranean) Shearwater Zahara (2 on 25th); Baelo Claudia (1 on 26th)
Puffinus mauretanicus Cape Trafalgar (50 on 27th)
GANNETS Pelecaniformes Sulidae
Northern Gannet Zahara area, common from the beach daily
Morus bassanus Cape Trafalgar (50 on 27th)
CORMORANTS Pelecaniformes Phalacrocoracidae
Great Cormorant Coto de Doñana (2 on 23rd); Barbate estuary (5 on 26th)
Phalacrocorax carbo
HERONS, EGRETS & BITTERNS Ciconiiformes Ardeidae
Grey Heron Common daily in Andalucía; Barbate estuary (5 on 26th)
Ardea cinerea
Purple Heron Coto de Doñana (4 on 23rd)
Ardea purpurea
Great Egret Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd)
Ardea alba
Little Egret El Rocío (6 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (4 on 23rd);
Egretta garzetta Laguna de Medina (6 on 24th); Barbate estuary (5 on 26th)
Squacco Heron Coto de Doñana (4 on 23rd)
Ardeola ralloides
Cattle Egret El Rocío (6 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (120 on 23rd)
Bubulcus ibis Zahara area common daily
Black-crowned Night-heron El Rocío (1 at daybreak on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (1 on
Nycticorax nycticorax 23rd)
STORKS Ciconiiformes Ciconiidae
Black Stork Coto de Doñana (6 on 23rd); various viewpoints (30 on
Ciconia nigra 25th)
White Stork El Rocío (4 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (100 on 23rd);
Ciconia ciconia Laguna de Medina (kettle on 24th)
IBIS & SPOONBILLS Ciconiiformes Threskiornithidae
Eurasian Spoonbill El Rocío (4 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (100 on 23rd)
Platalea leucorodia
FLAMINGOS Phoenicopteriformes Phoenicopteridae
Greater Flamingo El Rocío (300 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (300 on 23rd);
Phoenicopterus ruber Laguna de Medina (200 on 24th); Barbate estuary (6 on 26th); small flocks seen from buses north of Cadiz on 28th.
SWANS, GEESE & DUCKS Anseriformes Anatidae
Greylag Goose El Rocío (6 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (6 on 23rd)
Anser anser
Eurasian Wigeon El Rocío (4 on 22nd)
Anas penelope
Gadwall El Rocío (40 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (75 on 23rd)
Anas strepera
Common Teal El Rocío (15 on 22nd and 24th); Coto de Doñana (75 on
Anas crecca 23rd)
Mallard Common in Doñana; Laguna de Medina (200 on 24th)
Anas platyrhynchos
Northern Pintail El Rocío and Coto de Doñana (up to 30 daily)
Anas acuta
Garganey Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd)
Anas querquedula
Northern Shoveler El Rocío (40 on 22nd); Laguna de Medina (40 on 24th)
Anas clypeata
Marbled Teal Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd)
Marmaronetta angustirostris
Red-crested Pochard El Rocío (2 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (20 on 23rd);
Netta rufina Laguna de Med12 (6 on 24th)
Common Pochard Laguna de Medina (6 on 24th)
Aythya ferina
White-headed Duck Laguna de Medina (20 on 24th)
Oxyura leucocephala
OSPREY Falconiformes Pandionidae
Osprey Barbate estuary (2 on 26th); Tarifa one carrying a fish out
Pandion haliaetus to sea on 27th, Zahara: one behind the hotel on 27th.
HAWKS, EAGLES & KITES Falconiformes Accipitridae
European Honey-buzzard Various viewpoints (30 on 25th, 1 on 27th)
Pernis apivorus
Black-shouldered Kite La Janda (1 on 26th)
Elanus caeruleus
Red Kite El Rocío (3 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (4 on 23rd)
Milvus milvus
Black Kite El Rocío (2 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (2 on 23rd)
Milvus migrans
Egyptian Vulture Zahara (1 on 24th); Cazalla viewpoint (3 on 25th)
Neophron percnopterus
Eurasian Griffon El Acebuche (16 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (30 on 23rd);
Gyps fulvus Laguna de Medina (10 on 24th); common daily at the Straits
Short-toed Eagle El Acebuche (1 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (2 on 23rd);
Circaetus gallicus Laguna de Medina (1 on 24th); Zahara (4 on 24th); Various viewpoints (25 on 25th)
Western Marsh-harrier El Rocío (1 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (25 on 23rd)
Circus aeruginosus
Hen (Northern) Harrier Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd)
Circus cyaneus
Montagu's Harrier Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd); Laguna de Medina (2 on
Circus pygargus 24th)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk El Algarrobo (6 on 25th); Cazalla viewpoint (2 on 27th)
Accipiter nisus
Eurasian Buzzard Coto de Doñana (4 on 23rd); near Laguna de Medina (1
Buteo buteo on 24th)
Long-legged Buzzard Cazalla viewpoint (1 on 25th)
Buteo rufinus
Spanish (Imperial) Eagle El Rocío (immature on 22nd leaders only); Coto de
Aquila adalberti Doñana (1 on 23rd); Cazalla viewpoint (imm on 25th)
Bonelli's Eagle Cazalla viewpoint (1 on 25th)
Hieraaetus fasciatus
Booted Eagle El Acebrón (3 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd);
Hieraaetus pennatus Laguna de Medina (2 on 24th)
FALCONS & CARACARAS Falconiformes Falconidae
Lesser Kestrel Poor views of several from various viewpoints (5 on 25th)
Falco naumanni
Eurasian Kestrel El Rocío (3 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (15 on 23rd);
Falco tinnunculus Laguna de Medina (2 on 24th); common daily around the Straits.
Eurasian Hobby Laguna de Medina (1 on 24th); various viewpoints (5 on
Falco subbuteo 25th)
Peregrine Falcon Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd seen twice); Sierra de la Plata
Falco peregrinus (1 on 25th)
PHEASANTS & PARTRIDGES Galliformes Phasianidae
Red-legged Partridge Near Laguna de Medina (11 on 24th); La Janda (40 on
Alectoris rufa 26th)
RAILS, GALLINULES & COOTS Gruiformes Rallidae
Purple Swamphen Laguna de Medina (11 at extreme distance on 24th)
Porphyrio porphyrio
Common Moorhen Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd); Laguna de Medina (1 on
Gallinula chloropus 24th)
Eurasian Coot Abundant El Rocío, Coto de Donana and Laguna de
Fulica atra Medina
OYSTERCATCHERS Charadriiformes Haematopodidae
Eurasian Oystercatcher Barbate estuary (9 on 26th); Playa de los Lances (3 on
Haematopus ostralegus 27th)
AVOCETS & STILTS Charadriiformes Recurvirostridae
Black-winged Stilt El Rocío (1,000 or more on 22nd and 23rd);
Himantopus himantopus Laguna de Medina (100 on 24th)
Pied Avocet Coto de Doñana (30 on 23rd)
Recurvirostra avosetta
PLOVERS & LAPWINGS Charadriiformes Charadriidae
Northern Lapwing El Rocío (15 on 22nd, similar 23rd and 24th)
Vanellus vanellus
Grey (Black-bellied) Plover Coto de Doñana (2 on 23rd)
Pluvialis squatarola
Common Ringed Plover Coto de Doñana (40 on 23rd); El Rocío (2 on 24th)
Charadrius hiaticula Barbate estuary (20 on 26th)
Little Ringed Plover Coto de Doñana (2 on 23rd) ; El Rocío (1 on 24th)
Charadrius dubius
Kentish (Snowy) Plover Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd); Zahara (5 on 25th)
Charadrius alexandrinus Barbate estuary (6 on 26th)
SANDPIPERS Charadriiformes Scolopacidae
Common Snipe El Rocío (5 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (6 on 23rd)
Gallinago gallinago
Black-tailed Godwit El Rocío (15 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (55 on 23rd)
Limosa limosa
Bar-tailed Godwit Coto de Doñana (4 on 23rd); Barbate estuary (60 on 26th)
Limosa lapponica
Whimbrel Tarifa breakwater (1 on 27th)
Numenius phaeopus
Eurasian Curlew Barbate estuary (1 on 26th)
Numenius arquata
Spotted Redshank El Rocío (1 on 22nd leaders only); Coto de Doñana (35 on
Tringa erythropus 23rd)
Common Redshank Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd); El Rocío (1 on 24th)
Tringa totanus Barbate estuary (15 on 26th)
Common Greenshank El Rocío (1 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (15 on 23rd)
Tringa nebularia Barbate estuary (5 on 26th)
Green Sandpiper El Acebuche (1 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (30 on 23rd)
Tringa ochropus El Rocío (2 on 24th)
Wood Sandpiper El Rocío (1 heard on 21st); Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd)
Tringa glareola La Janda (1 on 26th)
Common Sandpiper El Rocío (3 on 22nd and 24th); Coto de Doñana (5 on 23rd)
Actitis hypoleucos Playa de los Lances (2 0n 27th)
Ruddy Turnstone Coto de Doñana (3 on 23rd); Playa de los Lances (1 on
Arenaria interpres 27th)
Red Knot Barbate estuary (10 on 26th); Playa de los Lances (3 on
Calidris canutus 27th)
Sanderling Zahara (3 on 25th); Barbate estuary (10 on 26th); Playa de
Calidris alba los Lances (100 on 27th)
Little Stint Common El Rocío and Coto de Doñana
Calidris minuta
Curlew Sandpiper Coto de Doñana (6 on 23rd); El Rocío (2 on 24th)
Calidris ferruginea Barbate estuary (7 on 26th)
Dunlin Coto de Doñana (16 on 23rd); El Rocío (1 on 24th)
Calidris alpina Barbate estuary (5 on 26th)
Ruff El Rocío (6 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (25 on 23rd)
Philomachus pugnax
JAEGERS & SKUAS Charadriiformes Stercorariidae
Arctic Skua (Parasitic Jaeger) Cape Trafalgar (1 imm dark-phase on 27th)
Stercorarius parasiticus
GULLS Charadriiformes Laridae
Audouin's Gull Playa de los Lances (109 on 27th)
Larus audouinii
Yellow-legged Gull Common daily on the coast
Larus cachinnans
Lesser Black-backed Gull El Rocío (4 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (60 on 23rd)
Larus fuscus Common daily on the coast
Black-headed Gull El Rocío (30 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (60 on 23rd)
Larus ridibundus Laguna de Medina (1 on 24th); small numbers daily on the coast
TERNS Charadriiformes Sternidae
Sandwich Tern Barbate estuary (1 on 26th); Tarifa harbour (20 on 27th)
Sterna sandvicensis Cape Trafalgar (30 on 27th).
Common Tern Tarifa harbour (2 on 27th)
Sterna hirundo
Little Tern Coto de Doñana (50 on 23rd); Laguna de Medina (1 on
Sterna albifrons 24th); Barbate estuary (4 on 26th)
Black Tern El Rocío (30 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (33 on 23rd);
Chlidonias niger Laguna de Medina (50 on 24th)
PIGEONS & DOVES Columbiformes Columbidae
Rock Dove Common in towns daily
Columba livia
Common Wood-pigeon Coto de Doñana (35 on 23rd)
Columba palumbus
Eurasian Turtle-dove Coto de Doñana (2 on 23rd); Zahara (1 on 24th,16 on 26th)
Streptopelia turtur
Eurasian Collared-dove El Rocío (6 on 22nd and 23rd); Zahara, common daily
Streptopelia decaocto
OWLS Strigiformes Strigidae
Little Owl Playa de los Lances (1 on 27th)
Athene noctua
SWIFTS Apodiformes Apodidae
Alpine Swift Zahara (1 on 25th, La Janda marshes (12 on 26th)
Tachymarptis melba Cape Trafalgar (6 on 27th)
Common Swift Laguna de Medina (3 on 24th)
Apus apus
Pallid Swift Seville Airport (60 on 21st); El Rocío (1 on 24th)
Apus pallidus La Janda (2 on 26th); Cazalla viewpoint (6 on 27th)
White-rumped Swift Above Baelo Claudia (1 on 25th)
Apus caffer
KINGFISHERS Coraciiformes Alcedinidae
Common Kingfisher El Rocío (3 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (5 on 23rd)
Alcedo atthis La Janda (1 on 26th)
BEE-EATERS Coraciiformes Meropidae
European Bee-eater Huerta Grande interpretation centre (60 on 25th)
Merops apiaster
HOOPOES Coraciiformes Upupidae
Eurasian Hoopoe Coto de Doñana (6 on 23rd); transit (1 on 24th)
Upupa epops
WOODPECKERS Piciformes Picidae
Great Spotted Woodpecker Huerta Grande interpretation centre (2 on 25th)
Dendrocopos major
LARKS Passeriformes Alaudidae
Calandra Lark Coto de Doñana (200+ on 23rd); La Janda (14 on 26th)
Melanocorypha calandra
Greater Short-toed Lark La Janda (1 on 26th)
Calandrella brachydactyla
Lesser Short-toed Lark Coto de Doñana (30 on 23rd)
Calandrella rufescens
Crested Lark El Rocío (2 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (40 on 23rd);
Galerida cristata in transit (6 on 24th); common daily on the coast
Thekla Lark El Acebuche (4 on 22nd); Baelo Claudia (3 on 26th)
Galerida theklae
Wood Lark Coto de Doñana (6 on 23rd)
Lullula arborea
Sky Lark Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd)
Alauda arvensis
SWALLOWS Passeriformes Hirundinidae
Sand Martin (Bank Swallow) El Rocío (6 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (6 on 23rd);
Riparia riparia Laguna de Medina (6 on 24th)
Crag Martin Above Baelo Claudia (2 on 25th)
Hirundo rupestris
Barn Swallow El Rocío area (40 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (100 on 23rd)
Hirundo rustica in transit (100 on 24th); passage daily on the coast
Red-rumped Swallow El Acebrón (30 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (13 on 23rd)
Hirundo daurica Cazalla viewpoint (12 on 25th)
House Martin El Rocío area (400 on 22nd, 23rd and 24th); Laguna de
Delichon urbica Medina (200 on 24th); common daily on the coast
WAGTAILS & PIPITS Passeriformes Motacillidae
Yellow Wagtail Coto de Doñana (10 on 23rd); El Rocío (2 on 24th)
Motacilla flava La Janda (16 on 26th)
Grey Wagtail Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd); in transit (1 on 24th)
Motacilla cinerea Huerta Grande interpretation centre (1 on 25th)
Tawny Pipit Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd); Laguna de Medina (2 on
Anthus campestris 24th)
Tree Pipit La Janda (2 flew over on 26th)
Anthus trivialis
KINGLETS Passeriformes Regulidae
Firecrest Huerta Grande interpretation centre (16 on 25th)
Regulus ignicapillus
WRENS Passeriformes Troglodytidae
Winter Wren Huerta Grande interpretation centre (2 on 25th)
Troglodytes troglodytes
ACCENTORS Passeriformes Prunellidae
Dunnock Zahara (1 on 24th)
Prunella modularis
THRUSHES Passeriformes Turdidae
Blue Rock-thrush Above Baelo Claudia (3 on 25th); Baelo Claudia (1 on
Monticola solitarius 26th)
Eurasian Blackbird El Rocío (1 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd); in
Turdus merula transit (1 on 24th)
CISTICOLAS Passeriformes Cisticolidae
Zitting Cisticola (Fan-tailed Warbler) El Acebuche (2 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (20 on 23rd)
Cisticola juncidis Laguna de Medina (2 on 24th)
OLD WORLD WARBLERS Passeriformes Sylviidae
Cetti's Warbler El Acebrón (10 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (2 on 23rd);
Cettia cetti Laguna de Medina (6 on 24th)
Sedge Warbler Coto de Doñana (1 scolding on 23rd)
Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Eurasian Reed-warbler Coto de Doñana (1 scolding on 23rd); Laguna de Medina
Acrocephalus scirpaceus (1 on 24th); Playa de los Lances (1 on 27th)
Melodious Warbler El Rocío (1 on 24th); Zahara (2 on 24th)
Hippolais polyglotta
Willow Warbler Common daily; Baelo Claudia (25 on 26th)
Phylloscopus trochilus
Common Chiffchaff A few most days
Phylloscopus collybita
Iberian Chiffchaff El Acebrón (2 on 22nd)
Phylloscopus brehmii
Western Bonelli's Warbler Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd)
Phylloscopus bonelli
Blackcap Huerta Grande interpretation centre (2 on 25th)
Sylvia atricapilla
Garden Warbler El Acebrón (3 on 22nd); Laguna de Medina (2 on 24th)
Sylvia borin
Greater Whitethroat Laguna de Medina (3 on 24th); La Janda (2 on 26th)
Sylvia communis
Subalpine Warbler El Rocío (1 on 22nd)
Sylvia cantillans
Sardinian Warbler El Rocío area (10 on 22nd); Laguna de Medina (6 on 24th)
Sylvia melanocephala
Spectacled Warbler El Rocío (1 on 23rd)
Sylvia conspicillata
Dartford Warbler El Acebuche (3 on 22nd)
Sylvia undata
OLD WORLD FLYCATCHERS Passeriformes Muscicapidae
Spotted Flycatcher El Acebrón (3 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (10 on 23rd)
Muscicapa striata in transit (1 on 24th)
European Pied Flycatcher Most abundant migrant passerine with up to 50 seen
Ficedula hypoleuca daily. Eg: El Rocío area (10 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (50 on 23rd)
European Robin Huerta Grande interpretation centre (4 on 25th)
Erithacus rubecula
Bluethroat Playa de los Lances (1 on 27th)
Luscinia svecica
Common Redstart Vejer de la Frontera (1 on 26th)
Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Whinchat Coto de Doñana (6 on 23rd); La Janda (6 on 26th)
Saxicola rubetra
Common Stonechat El Rocío area (10 on 22nd); travelling (6 on 24th)
Saxicola torquata La Janda and road to Baelo Claudia (20 on 26th)
Northern Wheatear Coto de Doñana (4 on 23rd); La Janda (3 on 26th)
Oenanthe oenanthe
LONG-TAILED TITS Passeriformes Aegithalidae
Long-tailed Tit El Acebrón (6 on 22nd)
Aegithalos caudatus
CHICKADEES & TITS Passeriformes Paridae
Crested Tit Coto de Doñana (2 on 23rd) Huerta Grande interpretation
Lophophanes cristatus centre (1 on 25th)
Great Tit El Rocío area (10 on 22nd)
Parus major
Blue Tit Coto de Doñana (2 calling on 23rd)
Cyanistes caeruleus
NUTHATCHES Passeriformes Sittidae
Nuthatch Huerta Grande interpretation centre (1 on 25th)
Sitta europaea
CREEPERS Passeriformes Certhiidae
Short-toed Treecreeper El Acebrón (6 on 22nd); Huerta Grande interpretation
Certhia brachydactyla centre (60 on 25th)
SHRIKES Passeriformes Laniidae
Southern Grey Shrike El Acebuche (1 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (6 on 23rd)
Lanius meridionalis
Woodchat Shrike Coto de Doñana (2 juvs on 23rd); Laguna de Medina (juv.
Lanius senator on 24th)
CROWS & JAYS Passeriformes Corvidae
Azure-winged Magpie El Acebuche (30 on 22nd); El Rocío (15 on 24th)
Cyanopica cyana
Black-billed Magpie El Acebuche (6 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (6 on 23rd)
Pica pica Laguna de Medina (6 on 24th)
Eurasian Jackdaw Laguna de Medina 40 on 24th); Barbate (10 on 24th)
Corvus monedula La Janda (30 on 25th)
Common Raven El Rocío area (5 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (7 on 23rd)
Corvus corax Laguna de Medina (3 on 24th); La Janda (5 on 26th)
STARLINGS Passeriformes Sturnidae
Spotless Starling El Rocío (50 on 22nd); Coto de Doñana (50 on 23rd);
Sturnus unicolor Laguna de Medina (50+ on 24th); common daily on the coast
OLD WORLD SPARROWS Passeriformes Passeridae
House Sparrow El Rocío area, Laguna de Medina, Zahara area
Passer domesticus abundant
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Coto de Doñana (scores in flocks of other finches and
Passer montanus sparrows on 23rd)
FINCHES Passeriformes Fringillidae
Chaffinch Laguna de Medina (1 on 24th); La Janda (12 on 26th)
Fringilla coelebs
Red Crossbill Huerta Grande interpretation centre (6 on 25th)
Loxia curvirostra
European Greenfinch Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd); La Janda (30 on 26th)
Carduelis chloris
European Goldfinch El Acebuche (40 on 22nd); El Rocío (30 on 24th)
Carduelis carduelis Common daily on the coast
Eurasian Linnet Coto de Doñana (6 in flocks of other finches on 23rd)
Carduelis cannabina La Janda (50 on 26th)
European Serin Coto de Doñana (5 in flocks of other finches on 23rd)
Serinus serinus Baelo Claudia (3 on 26th)
Hawfinch Huerta Grande interpretation centre (4 on 25th)
Coccothraustes coccothraustes
BUNTINGS, SEEDEATERS & ALLIES Passeriformes Emberizidae
Ortolan Bunting La Janda (3 on 26th); Playa de los Lances (1 flew over on
Emberiza hortulana 27th)
Corn Bunting Coto de Doñana (2 on 23rd); La Janda (small flocks on
Emberiza calandra 26th)
Reed Bunting Coto de Doñana (1 on 23rd); Laguna de Medina (1 on
Emberiza schoeniclus 24th)
MAMMALS
RABBITS & HARES Lagomorpha Leporidae
European Rabbit In transit (3 on 24th); La Janda (3 on 26th)
Oryctolagus cuniculus
European Hare Playa de los Lances (1 on 27th)
Lepus europaeus
MICE, RATS, VOLES & GERBILS Rodentia Muridae
Long-tailed Field (Wood) Mouse La Janda (1 on 26th)
Apodemus sylvaticus
CATS Carnivora Felidae
Small-spotted Genet Scats found at Palacio del Acebrón, 23rd
Genetta genetta
DOGS & FOXES Carnivora Canidae
Red Fox El Rocío (1 on 22nd, 1 dead on road on 24th)
Vulpes vulpes
HEDGEHOGS Lipotyphla Erinaceidae
Western European Hedgehog Outside Tarifa, one dead on 26th
Erinaceus europaeus
APES Primates Hominidae
Human Three sightings of the 'naked ape' (3 females at Claudio Baelo on
Homo sapiens 25th; two males at Zahara de los Atunes beach on 27th, and a pair at Cape Trafalgar on 27th)
PIGS Artiodactyla Suidae
Wild Boar (Feral Pig) Rootlings by these animals at Palacio del Acebrón, 23rd
Sus scrofa
DEER Artiodactyla Cervidae
Red Deer Across the lagoon at El Rocío (several on 22nd, 15 on 23rd)
Cervus elaphus
Fallow Deer Daily across the lagoon at El Rocío, max 30+ on 23rd
Dama dama
OTHER VERTEBRATES
Mullet sp .
Mugil sp. Many (probably tens of) thousands massing on the surface in the tide race off Tarifa harbour on 27th.
Moray Eel sp .
Mulgus sp. Two dead on the beach at Zahara de los Atunes on 27th.
HERPTILES
Stripeless Tree Frog
Hyla meridionalis One heard calling in the El Acebrón area on 22nd.
Iberian Pool Frog
Rana perezi Heard daily calling at El Rocío from 21st - 24th, and seen there on the last date.
Moorish Gecko
Tarentola mauretanica At the Hotel Antonio, c. 10 on 24th and smaller numbers on 25th and 26th.
Large Psammodromus
Psammodromus algirus Just one small one at Huerta Grande on 25th.
Spiny-footed Lizard
Acanthodactylus erythrurus Just one juvenile at El Acebrón on 22nd.
Iberian Wall Lizard
Podarcis hispanica 4+ at El Acebuche on 22nd, 3 at Huerta Grande on 25th and 1 at Baelo Claudia on 26th.
Snake sp . A complete shed skin in the dunes on the Playa de los Lances on 27th.
BUTTERFLIES
Swallowtail Papilio machaon Two at El Algarrobo and one at Cazalla on 25th, 3 at Baelo Claudia on 26th and 2 on 27th.
Scarce Swallowtail Iphiclides podalirius One at the Laguna de Medina on 24th.
Large White Pieris brassicae Ones or twos on 23rd and 25th - 27th.
Clouded Yellow Colias croceus One - three+ on 25th - 27th.
Lang's Short-tailed Blue Leptotes pirithous c. 6 at El Acebrón on 22nd, 2+ at El Algarrobo on 25th and 1 at Zahara de los Atunes on 26th.
Common Blue Polyommatus icarus c. 6 at El Acebrón on 22nd, 2+ at El Algarrobo on 25th and 1 at Zahara de los Atunes on 26th.
Monarch Danaus plexippus Singles en route, at Huerta Grande and at El Algarrobo on 25th, one at Baelo Claudia on 26th and 1 at the Playa de los Lances on 27th. The population here in the Strait has apparently only been settled and breeding for the last 6 years.
Two-tailed Pasha Charaxes jasius One rather worn individual in the Sierra de la Plata on 25th.
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta Two - three daily from 22nd - 27th.
Painted Lady Cynthia cardui One on 22nd, 3 on 23rd, several on 25th, 6 on 26th and 2 on 27th.
Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina One+ on 24th, 2+ on 25th and 6 on both 26th and 27th.
Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria Two at Huerta Grande on 25th.
DRAGONFLIES
Iberian Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura graelsii Several in the El Rocío and Doñana areas on 22nd and 23rd.
Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope The only common (and positively identified) large dragonfly in the Doñana area on 22nd and 23rd, with several in La Janda on 25th.
Red-veined Darter Sympetrum fonscolombei Very common, with large numbers (100+ daily) in the Doñana area on 22nd and 23rd, and also seen in the Strait of Gibraltar area from 25th - 27th.
Band-winged dragonfly sp. Brachythemis leucosticta 6 on the track across La Janda on 26th.
OTHER INSECTS
Hummingbird Hawkmoth Macroglossum stellatarum Three at Zahara de los Atunes on 26th and one there the following day.
Crimson Speckled Utethesia pulchella Five of this small but delicately marked species at El Acebuche on 22nd.
Egyptian Grasshopper Anacridium aegyptium Singles at Huerta Grande on 25th and Zahara de los Atunes on 26th.
Grasshopper spp. Acrididae One on 22nd, and both blue-winged and red-winged grasshoppers at the Laguna de Medina on 24th and in the Strait of Gibraltar area on 25th.
Praying Mantis Mantis religiosa One at Zahara de los Atunes on 25th.
Digger / Spider-hunting wasp sp. Sphecidae / Pompilidae A large and unpleasant-looking individual was gently removed from the second bus on the way to Cape Trafalgar on 27th.
Social wasp sp. Vespidae Abundant on 22nd.
Hornet Vespa crabro One on 26th.
Scarab Beetle Scarabaeus sp. Noted on five days in different locations.
Weevil sp. Coleoptera A couple in the hotel in El Rocío on 23rd.
OTHER INVERTEBRATES
Tick sp. Acarina Singles on Tim on 25th and at Cazalla on 27th.
Millipede sp. Diplopoda Several, similar to Schizophyllum sabulosumat Baelo Claudia on 26th.
Fiddler Crab Uca tangeri This is the only fiddler crab species in Europe and restricted to S Iberia; Lots on the sandy mud in the Barbate estuary on 26th.
PLANTS

A few flowers were of particular note: the superb Sea Daffodils Pancratium maritimum on the dunes at the Cabo de Trafalgar, where Sea Stock Matthiola sinuata and Sea Holly Eryngium maritimum were also present. Squirting Cucumber Ecballium elaterium was frequent in rough ground and both Autumn Squill Scilla autumnalis and Sea Squill Urginea maritima were quite widespread.

© The Travelling Naturalist 2002