Acebuche, Andalucia, Andalusia, azure-winged magpie, black-winged stilt, Blue rock thrush, Cattle egret, cinereous vulture, cormorant, Donana National Park, Eagle owl, Egyptian vulture, El Rocio, Eurasian black vulture, grey heron, greylag goose, griffon vulture, Iberian great grey shrike, Iberian magpie, Imperial eagle, Jandula, lapwing, littel egret, Naturetrek, Red-legged partridge, rock pipit, Sardinian warbler, Sierra Morena, spoonbill, starling, stonechat, White stork
Birds in Andalucia. Look, I’m not very good with bird identification, but I do know that eagles tend to soar. So when Simon said, incredibly excitedly, ‘There’s an imperial eagle on that post’, I quickly zoomed in on it and took this. I was not alone. And not alone to realise, on examining the photo enlarged on the camera screen, that ‘that’ post’ was not that post! What Simon meant was this – perhaps half a mile away. When you go on a Naturetrek trip, they provide you in advance with a checklist of all the creatures you may see, with a column for each day. There are always hundreds of species of birds on this list, and when we’re out I am in such awe as I hear naturalists/guides (and others) crying’, ‘That was the call of an X’, ‘There’s a Y.’ ‘Where, where?’ we all say, and they all do their darndest to help you see the creature. I’m probably about average in being able to pick something out visually, no better, and am certainly poor on birdsong. At the end of each day we gather together – nothing compulsory about it – and go through the list. Of those seen or heard by someone, I will have seen perhaps a third to a half, the bigger the bird the more likely I am to have seen it. I will have managed to take a photo of very few indeed. Here’s what I did get, with their identifications to the best of my recollection, (totally subject to correction, please). Firstly in the Coto Doñana.
Then at our picnic spot at El Acebuche, I managed at last to see an Iberian (or azure-winged) magpie. I had heard them mentioned a few times, but this was the first time I had properly seen the beautiful creature, rather smaller than the common ones (and there were plenty of those around). A few new birds (in terms of photographic opportunities) in the Sierra Morena. We saw a fairly rare Cinereous (a.k.a. Eurasian black) vulture over our picnic stop by the Jandula dam, but sadly this is not one, but a griffon vulture. (Identification BL)
Two red-legged partridges. Some colleagues went out for a short early evening birdwatching trip on the second evening in the mountains, and came back saying they had seen an Eagle owl. We all went to the spot the next day, and this is where we were searching. (Well, the rock face was much bigger than this actually.) A third of the way down, and a quarter of the way in from the left there is this. And within that there is this. The Eagle owl is in one of these holes. See it? No I don’t either. Yeah, right, we’ll believe you Simon!
Several birds joined us at our last picnic spot, including this grey heron, which flew gracefully towards us after a while. And then a troop (is that the word?) of Iberian magpies arrived at the same spot, and gradually made their way towards us, taking over the picnic tables as we left them. (Actually, the collective word for magpies is a murder, or a charm, or a congregation or a gulp. Take your pick.)
At the spot where we had seen the big fish, a kingfisher swooped along the river and under the bridge – no photo sadly – and these cormorants stood for a while and then took off. Next (and last) post: felines!