Trip Menu


For the third year in a row I found myself back in Andalusia, for a birder this is a no brainer. The area around Seville is simply fantastic for birding, with so many prime habitats. I stayed in Dos Hermanas, an area just east of Seville, for a week with my wife and allocated three days for birding from the 9th-11th of November with Luis of Andalusian Birding Holidays, a guide  I have used before.

The weather during the week was basically fine 20-24⁰C with two cloudy days and some rain. No doubt the non-birding highlight came on Tuesday night as we watched one DJ Trump become President of the USA. However back to the birding; we went to three sites in the Seville–Cadiz area, which of course included Donana National Park, one of the greatest birding areas in Europe, especially in winter.


The day starts sunny, but it quickly became cloudy, although thankfully the rain stays away and the temperature rises to a pleasant 20⁰C.

The visit to this area consisted of a pleasant walk along the paths on either side of the Rio Guadiamar, whose banks consisted of a mixed woodland of Poplars, Wild Olive, Eucalyptus, Pistacia Lentiscus and Ash trees. The surrounding areas are dedicated mainly to agriculture, interspersed with Holm Oak.

The highlights of the walk along the riverbanks were: Wryneck, Woodlark, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Spoonbill, Black-winged Kite, Booted Eagle [pale form], Green Woodpecker, Common Waxbill, Azure-winged Magpie, Red Kite, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Zitting Cisticola, Cetti’s Warbler and of course all the usual suspects that you would find in this type of habitat.

Spanish Sparrow
Male Spanish Sparrows
Zitting Cisticola
Zitting Cisticola

The sky began to get very dark and heavy rain looked likely, so we walked back to the car and drove back to Seville. I was looking forward to a nice warm bath.

10/11/16: CADIZ, BAHIA de CADIZ and SURROUNDING AREAS [Chiclana de La Fronterra, Puerto Real and Puerto de Santa Maria]

The weather today was sunny with a mild NW wind, with temperatures around 22⁰C.

The golf courses of Chiclana are located in a very urbanized area, dominated by Pine and Pistascia lentiscus, accompanied by several ornamental species of shrubs and trees. In the Bahia de Cadiz NP, the marsh is the main habitat, dominated by halophytic plants. The rhythm of the tides and the artificial management of the habitat have defined the distribution and number of birds that can be seen in the bay. Economic activities such as fish farms and salt production also influence the variety of birds around the protected areas.

The main target today is one of the rarest birds in Europe, but it can be found in the Cadiz area due to a re-colonisation plan by the Spanish Authorities and nature conservation groups in Spain. Surprisingly in the winter months one of the bird’s favourite habitats is the golf courses in the Chiclana urbanization. There are several golf courses in the area, but after searching for twenty minutes, we eventually found the birds at the edge of a course full of early golfers. At last we came face to face [literally] with the Bald Ibis. This penchant for golf courses is both a protector and a danger, already one bird has been killed and one badly injured. They will never win a beauty contest, however they have a certain charm.

Bald Ibis
Bald Ibis: Adult
Bald Ibis Juvenile
Bald Ibis: Juvenile

After a light breakfast we then headed to the Bahia de Cadiz NP, a huge area, to search for several trip targets. Criss-crossing the bay area we stopped at several points and picked up the following, amongst many others: Audouin’s Gull, Caspian Tern, Greater Flamingo, Short-toed Eagle, Osprey, Whimbrel, Marsh Harrier, Avocet, Crested Lark, Grey Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Sanderling, Turnstone, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Sandwich Tern & Crag Martin.

Crag Martin
Crag Martin
Slender-billed Gull
Slender-billed Gull


Sunny day with mild NW wind and temperature high of 22⁰C

The rice fields of Isla Mayor and La Puebla del Rio are a very rich habitat, which attracts and maintains huge numbers of bird species during most of the year. The agriculture of rice maintains a large number of invertebrates, which are the food source for the birds.

In the Dehesa de Abajo visitor centre the adjoining reservoir is a refuge for thousands of waterfowl, especially when autumn and winter are very dry and Donana and its surroundings have little water.

Wildfowl flock at Dehejosa de Aba
Part of the huge wildfowl flock in Dehesa de Abajo

The number of birds in the rice fields is truly astonishing; everywhere we turned birds  were in the sky flying from one field to another depending on where the cutting was taking place. Unexpected was the large number of Common Cranes in the fields.

Common Cranes
Common Cranes

The tracks that run along the edge of the rice fields allow you to use your vehicle as a mobile hide, very advantageous when you want to get close to the birds. The following is a summary of some of the birds seen:Black Stork, White Stork, Yellow-crowned Bishop, Common Waxbill, Corn Bunting, Spanish Sparrow, Penduline Tit, Bluethroat, Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Serin, Booted Eagle, Glossy Ibis, Great White Egret, Cattle Egret, Red-crested Pochard, Kingfisher, Black-winged Kite, Yellow-legged Gull, Iberian Grey Shrike, Spoonbill, Common Stonechat, Greater Flamingo, Crested Lark, Common Snipe, Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Common  Kestrel, Greenshank and a few distant unidentified warblers that appeared suddenly out of the reeds and then disappeared as quickly.

Night Herons disturbed by a Marsh Harrier
Night Herons & interloper
Green Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper
Common Kestrel
Common Kestrel

Greater Flamingo
Greater Flamingo


Having been here in September and November, both periods offer some fantastic birding but if I had a preference it would be September, due to the huge numbers of birds that go through on migration. However, with Donana and surroundings as a backdrop, any trip will be rewarding at any time of year.

I would like once again to thank Luismi for a superb three days in the field and his homemade delicacies that we ate en route.


1Red-legged PartridgeAlectoris rufaSeveral seen in Donana
2Red-crested PochardNetta rufinaLarge numbers in Donana
3Greater FlamingoPhoenicopterus roseusLarge numbers in Donana
4Black StorkCiconia nigraSeveral seen in Donana
5White StorkCiconia ciconiaLarge numbers in Donana
6Northern Bald IbisGeronticus eremita20 plus seen in Chiclana
7Glossy IbisPlegadis falcinellusLarge numbers in Donana
8Eurasian SpoonbillPlatalea leucorodia30 plus in Donana/Cadiz
9Night-HeronNycticorax nycticoraxSeveral seen in Donana
10Cattle EgretBubulcus ibisLarge numbers in Donana
11Grey HeronArdea cinereaSeveral seen in Donana
12Great  White EgretArdea alba4 seen in Donana
13Little EgretEgretta garzettaLarge numbers in Donana
14Great CormorantPhalacrocorax carboSeveral seen in Donana
15OspreyPandion haliaetus1 seen at Cadiz
16Black-winged KiteElanus caeruleus4 seen in Donana area
17Red KiteMilvus milvusSeveral seen in Donana
18Black KiteMilvus migrans4 seen in Donana
19Griffon VultureGyps fulvus20 plus in Dos Hermanas
20Short-toed Snake EagleCircaetus gallicus1 seen in Bahia de Cadiz
21Western Marsh HarrierCircus aeruginosusSeveral seen in Donana
22Hen HarrierCircus cyaneus1 male seen in Donana
23Common BuzzardButeo buteoSeveral seen
24Booted EagleHieraaetus pennatus3 birds seen Donana/Cadiz
25Common KestrelFalco tinnunculusSeveral seen in Donana
26Peregrine FalconFalco peregrinus1 bird near Isla Major
27MoorhenGallinula chloropusSeveral seen
28Eurasian CootFulica atraCommon in Donana
29Common CraneGrus grusLarge numbers in Donana
30OystercatcherHaematopus ostralegusLarge numbers in Bahia de Cadiz
31Black-winged StiltHimantopus himantopusLarge numbers in Donana
32AvocetRecurvirostra avosettaLarge numbers in Bahia de Cadiz
33LapwingVanellus vanellusLarge numbers in Donana
34Grey PloverPluvialis squatarola1 bird in Bahia de Cadiz
35Ringed PloverCharadrius hiaticulaLarge numbers in Bahia de Cadiz
36Common SnipeGallinago gallinagoSeveral seen in Donana
37Black-tailed GodwitLimosa limosaSeveral seen in Donana
38WhimbrelNumenius phaeopus1 bird in Bahia de Cadiz
39RedshankTringa totanusLarge numbers in Donana
40Common GreenshankTringa nebulariaSeveral seen in Donana
41Green SandpiperTringa ochropusSeveral seen in Donana
42Wood SandpiperTringa glareola3 birds on Bahia de Cadiz
43Common SandpiperActitis hypoleucosSeveral seen in Donana
44TurnstoneArenaria interpresSeveral seen in Bahia de Cadiz
45SanderlingCalidris albaSeveral seen in Bahia de Cadiz
46Curlew SandpiperCalidris ferrugineaSeveral seen in Bahia de Cadiz
47DunlinCalidris alpinaLarge numbers in Donana
48Slender-billed GullLarus geneiSeveral seen in Bahia de Cadiz
49Black-headed GullLarus  ridibundusLarge numbers in Donana
50Audouin’s GullLarus audouinii20 plus seen in Bahia de Cadiz
51Yellow-legged GullLarus cachinnansLarge numbers in Donana
52Lesser Black-backed GullLarus fuscusLarge numbers in Donana
53Caspian TernHydroprogne caspia20 plus seen in Bahia de Cadiz
54Sandwich TernThalasseus sandvicensis200 plus seen in Bahia de Cadiz
55Wood PigeonColumba palumbusCommon in most areas
56Collared DoveStreptopelia decaocto30 plus seen
57Common KingfisherAlcedo atthis3 in Donana
58HoopoeUpupa epops5 seen in different areas
59WryneckJynx torquilla1 seen at the Rio Guadiamar
60Lesser Sp. WoodpeckerDendrocopos minor3 seen at the Rio Guadiamar
61Green WoodpeckerPicus viridis1 seen at the Rio Guadiamar
62Southern Grey ShrikeLanius meridionalis1 seen at Dehesa de Abajo
63Azure-winged MagpieCyanopica cooki30+ seen at the Rio Guadiamar
64Common MagpiePica picaSeveral seen
65JackdawCorvus monedulaSeveral seen
66Common RavenCorvus corax4 seen at the Rio Guadiamar
67Great TitParus major4 seen at the Rio Guadiamar
68Penduline TitRemiz pendulinusSeveral seen in Donana
69Crested LarkGalerida cristataCommon in suitable habitat
70Wood LarkLullula arborea1 seen at Rio Guadiamar
71SwallowHirundo rustica10+ in Dehesa de Abajo
72Eurasian Crag MartinPtyonoprogne rupestris100+ in Cadiz
73Cetti’s WarblerCettia cettiSeveral seen in Donana
74Willow WarblerPhylloscopus trochilus2 seen at Rio Guadiamar
75Common ChiffchaffPhylloscopus collybitaCommon in all areas
76Reed WarblerAcrocephalus scirpaceus1 seen at Rio Guadiamar
77Zitting CisticolaCisticola juncidisSeveral seen in Donana
78Eurasian BlackcapSylvia atricapillaCommon in all areas
79Spotless StarlingSturnus unicolorCommon in all areas
80BlackbirdTurdus merulaSeveral seen in suitable habitat
81Song ThrushTurdus philomelosSeveral seen in suitable habitat
82Mistle ThrushTurdus viscivorusSeveral seen in suitable habitat
83RobinErithacus rubeculaSeveral seen in suitable habitat
84BluethroatLuscinia svecica 1 bird seen in Donana
85Black RedstartPhoenicurus ochrurosCommon in all areas
86StonechatSaxicola rubicolaSeveral seen in Donana
87House SparrowPasser domesticusCommon in all areas
88Spanish SparrowPasser hispaniolensisLarge numbers in Donana
89Tree SparrowPasser montanusLarge numbers in Donana
90DunnockPrunella modularisSeveral seen in suitable habitat
91White WagtailMotacilla alba albaLarge numbers in Donana
92Meadow PipitAnthus pratensisSeveral seen in Donana
93ChaffinchFringilla coelebsSeveral seen in suitable habitat
94SerinSerinus serinusCommon in all areas
95GreenfinchCarduelis chlorisCommon in all areas
96GoldfinchCarduelis carduelisCommon in all areas
97LinnetCarduelis cannabinaCommon in all areas
98BullfinchPyrrhula pyrrhulaSeveral seen in suitable habitat
99Corn BuntingMiliaria calandraLarge numbers in Donana

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