Glossy Ibis at Brazo del Este
Two more were discovered on the opposite bank of the river a little later. A small party of Common Snipe circled in formation. Most of the group headed along the track into the field, I broke off into the opposite direction toward a small flock of birds feeding on the road. House Sparrow, Corn Bunting and several Crested Lark were flighty but offered good scope views. The occasional Yellow-legged Gull and Marsh Harrier made their way along the opposite bank of the river and the heaviest showers of the day hit.
Moving back to the minibus and with the others still some distance up the track I stopped to watch a procession of Chiffchaff and Black Redstart move into a tiny roadside copse. in a distinctly 'autumn fall' kind of way.
Even stopping for the toilet provided no rest as those of us with stronger bladders picked off a dark phase Booted Eagle drifting past as we waited.
Our next destination at Los Olvillos showed immediate promise with at least three Marsh Harrier flying as we arrived.
Re-tracing our steps to cross the river and head for our picnic stop we added three Hoopoe as well as meridionalis Great Grey Shrike. A few Black-headed Gull perched on a small boat in the Guadalquivir river probably went unnoticed by most as thoughts turned to lunch.
Our group took the opportunity at lunch to wander into the pine forest at Aznalcázar, Sardinian Warbler called invisibly from the lower growth and several Crested Tit were located in the taller pines. Some of the party walked further in to this accessible forest and stumbled upon a small family group of Azure-winged Magpie rushing away and landing Treecreeper-like on pine trunks as they went.
Great Grey Shrike meriodionalis
This race has a diffuse pink wash on the breast and narrow white supercilia above the mask that join on the forehead. Perhaps 100metres further with the photographers riding side door open as if on safari one of the much hoped for species Black-winged Kite flew as we approached, turned, before completing a flyby of both minibus, one of the highlights of the trip.
A single distant Common Crane was to be my only sighting of this species on the trip due to flight times although others within the group connected with many hundreds on the last day.
A slow drive along the river checking Tamarisk trees for roosting Night Heron initially seemed destined to produce only post-perched Common Buzzard, but our guides again did not let us down as we found first a juvenile and then perhaps 30 of these small heron roosting in a 100metre stretch. A visit to a private farm pool to look for Ferruginous Duck was unsuccessful for that species but we did see more Serin, another Zitting Cisticola, more hirundines and a single Tufted Duck.
Night Heron, adult
Dusk found us searching in vain for calling Eagle Owl but it was only the smaller and commoner Tawny Owl that was vocal. The area through which we passed was a key site for Lynx but despite spending a good hour looking we were not to catch a glimpse of this enigmatic and beautiful cat.
Our hotel ‘Olongtigi’ was a splendid establishment with a small courtyard and ‘houses’ containing three rooms in each arranged around it. Much list comparison was done that night over Whisky and a log fire.