October 2018 – Brazo del Este

Defying all weather forecasts 9 hardy souls met at the Venta Casa Cachopo some 17kms south of Seville to bird parts of Isla Menor and Brazo del Este. Often better than Donana Having properly managed irrigation this area is often better than Donana, where at any time of year it is possible to see many marshland species, sometimes in their thousands.

The Guadalquivir River branches just south of Seville and between the main river and the ‘Brazo del Este’ was a vast area of barren marshland which has been converted to farmland, rice fields, and cotton with dirt roads criss-crossing the whole area.In the middle of this is the National Park, which was where we started birding. We walked along a track running between the Park and harvested rice fields. 201810 1 Peregrine FalconWhilst it is not possible to go into the Park the track allows good visibility of the birds within. Here we saw several Purple Gallinule and just one Kingfisher.Surprisingly for the first hour we had no rain and saw flocks of Lapwing, Spoonbills, Black-Winged Stilts, Lesser Black-Backed Gulls and Dunlin. Also we had flight shots of Snipe and a magnificent Purple Heron. Green Sandpipers and Ringed Plovers were in the rice fields in small numbers. After an hour it started to rain and we made our way back to the carpark.We then drove on along the track which eventually reaches the village of Pinzon. Most of the rice fields had been harvested allowing us superb views of the birdlife.Hundreds of White Storks were spread out as far as the eye could see, but a real star was when Frank spotted a Peregrine perched on a pylon. It flew off and set up flocks of Mallards and Stilts. Marsh Harriers were abundant and also caused mayhem flying low over the fields. 201810 3 Glossy IbisAlso we had a good view of Avocets, Cattle and Little Egrets but the real stars were the thousands of Glossy Ibis, which would take to the sky in clouds, turning and twisting, creating beautiful shapes and patterns.Then, easily overlooked, was a pink haze in the distance. It turned out to be thousands of Flamingoes packed together in a space of no more than 300 meters. All with their heads erect and bill pointed upwards. An unforgettable sight.By now the rain was very heavy and the Venta at Pinzon called. We had seen 37 species, but in good weather it would have been possible to nearly double this. However many thanks to Frank for organising everything.


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