Wednesday, February 28

San Felipe Tuesday 27th


Last week John Edwards and I had decided we'd go birding today, with heavy rain forecast I wasn’t feeling to optimistic but hopefully with bad weather forecast we might get something special, our intention was to start at San Felipe and work our way back, but we missed the turning because of our chatting. Quick stop at the Salt Tower. There was a few of the more commoner wader's there but not much else, so we decided to explore the back roads to San Felipe. Not much flying due to the rain, but we bumped into our 1st Booted eagle of the day sat on an electricity  tower. Grey Heron, Southern grey Shrike, Chaffinch flock, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Glossy Ibis over. The rain was getting heavy so we thought cup of tea time at Santa Agueda, on route flock of 20+ Tree Sparrows, we didn't even stop for tea there as it appeared life less so we quickly moved on to San Felipe.

Booted Eagle
we just pulled in at the car park, a very nice Blue Throat running around in front of us on the muddy fringe, and to the side of us on a hand rail a sing male Blue Throat in full song, not heard this before so good to take this on board, in view for a minute or so.




Jack Snipe
By chance we caught up with a fellow birder and friend Eddie Walker he told us that 2 spotted crakes have been seen further around the boardwalk, and a Temminck's Stint, on the other side of the pool. john and I got to viewing platform in the centre, a quick scan picked up some movement thinking it’s going to be a spotted crake when it came into view it turn out to be a Jack Snipe (bonus bird) just a few meter away was our first Spotted Crake. There was another Crake closer to the end of boardwalk, difficult to photograph as the light levels were poor and intermittent rain didn't help, we stayed a while waiting for a closer view, but the rain was getting heavy so we headed back to the car. On the muddy margin near the car park 2 more Spotted Crake a few more photos in the heavy rain was enough for me. On route back 4 more soaked Booted Eagles looking sorry for themselves.



Spotted Crake
1st Bird

Spotted Crake
2nd Bird

Spotted Crake
3rd Bird

Spotted Crake
3rd Bird
Wet through but rewarded for the efforts, who said it’s not worth going birding in the rain.
Hope you enjoy the Photographs
  Cheers Bryan
Marbled Duck

Booted Eagle
looking glum




Wednesday, February 21

Huelva Continued

                                                                                                     

Barn Owl
 This was just hopeless, 600mm lens pitch black and hand holding
I thought I would post some of the other (Outtakes) Images from our Huelva trip that just don't make the mark for one thing or another, 
( No light, To close, Camera shake, Too far away)







Marsh Sandpiper   
.            

This Marsh Sandpiper was about 300 meters away so just a record shot, along way away for such a small bird. 
 

Black shoulder Kite

One of my many boggy birds is Black shoulder Kite, I've found a few now over the years, but never really got that close or taken any good photos, with this photo the sun had almost set and there were plenty of dark clouds around ISO 1600 too noisy to do anything with.  

 Alpine Accentor
 Popped up in front me
but I managed to cut the legs off
                                                 
  
                                                                                      
  




Tuesday, February 13

HUELVA Southwest Andalucia 1st -6th Febuary

Blue Throat

This is my second visit the Huelva
in a year and certainly won't be my last. My first visit was in June 2017 see link below for full trip report.
In my own opinion, I think Huelva and surrounding area are very underrated maybe because Donana gets all the headlines. It's probably as good or even better than Extremadura. It has just about every habitat you could wish for, and an abundance of birds, I haven't written a trip report for this tour, as my friend John Edwards has it covered, for more details and in-depth report of our February 2018 trip see http://johnedwards-je.blogspot.com.es/

Short-eared Owl
(and below)


















    
About Huelva

Black Redstart

Huelva province in south-west Andalucia (between Cádiz and Portugal, has many interesting habitats, and not least along its 75-mile coastline and part of the Costa de la Luz.) It is washed by the waters of the Atlantic, home to the mouth of the Guadalquivir River and to one of Spain's most beautiful national parks: the Doñana National Park, which has the UNESCO World Heritage designation. Odiel Marshes Biosphere Nature Reserve is located in the basins of the Odiel and Tinto rivers, around the town of Punta Umbría. In winter, they are made up of many beautiful lakes, Pools and Marshes, Stunningly beautiful areas of unspoilt countryside, chosen by some 200,000 birds to spend the winter, In spring many water birds use the fertile, green countryside, lakes, Salinas, and Marshlands to nest.



Fallow Deer

Great Spotted Cuckoo

El Rocío

Ermita de Nuestra Senora

 El Rocio is located near marshlands that can
 be easily viewed from the promenade near the
church. It’s a great place to sit under a tree and watch the nearby Storks, Spoonbill, Ducks, Herons and other waders. El Rocio hosts one of Spain’s biggest festivals attracting nearly a million people from across Andalucia and the entire country, and beyond. Rocieros or pilgrims descend on El Rocío in wagons and on horseback to visit the Ermita de Nuestra Senora. People start pouring into the town in the week leading up to Whit Monday, so probably best avoided for that week for birding.




                                    Ermita de la Virgin De la Peña




Alpine Accentor
A Small chapel located at the top of a hill from where you have magnificent views of the low ground, this is the best high ground in the area and hosts a small wintering population of  Alpine Accentors, Blue Rock Thrush, and sometimes Rock Bunting are present. The chapel was built in the sixteenth century and is shaped like a Latin cross, beautiful stained glass windows and retablo are inside. If I understand correctly there is a colourful Catholic religious pilgrimage practice there with many horses several times a year. There's also a religious articles shop and a small cafe/ bar.

Alpine Accentor
(This photo taken in the Carpark)



There were at least 7 Alpine Accentors behaving like Sparrows running around our feet, it seems it a regular feature there in winter, and so much easier to see them there than in the Pyrenees.                                     
.
         
                                               Accommodation

    
Early morning Moon
 We all stayed at Mazgon at the home of our guide Laury Grenon. A large house which has a separate entrance to our lower apartment with car parking: 2 Bedrooms, Lounge, Bathroom + extra Toilet and simple Kitchen at only €70 per night its great value! and is ideal for birders who are out birding all day, but I guess the price would rise as the season goes on. Its an interesting drive to the accommodation as the Sat Nav takes you through a Petrochemical plant and Docks which looks fantastic a night. A little further on the Sat Nav takes you over some rough ground which makes for a bumpy ride to the accommodation.

Cepsa Oil Refinery
                               
Later on in the trip, we found a much easier route to the house. Bars, Restaurants, Supermarkets are a 10-minute drive away in Mazagon
I would recommend using a guide if time is short or unfamiliar with the area. contact Laury Grenon at info@andalucianaturetrips.com ( Highly Recommended )


Laury Grenon


     Many thanks to John, Michelle and Trevor.



     Hope you enjoy the photos
        Cheers Bryan Thomas
  



Our Last Sunset
  
Juv Night Heron


Black Stork

Ad Night Heron

Common Buzzard

Common Crane

Glossy Ibis

Curlew
White Storks
(Plenty of these around and already paired up)

Thekla's Lark
Sardinian Warbler