Monday, April 23, 2007

Field Course in South-West Spain

Been away with work on an undergraduate ecological genetics field course based at Zahara de los Atunes on the Costa de la Luz between Tarifa and Cadiz in southwest Spain. Bird highlights were Lesser Crested Tern, Caspian Tern, Black Vulture, Red-nobbed Coot, Azure-winged Magpie, Little Bustard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Purple Swamp-hen, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Lesser Short-toed Lark…and I’ll stop there. A full trip report will posted soon on the main website. I intended writing this up at the weekend but spent most of the time catching up on some sleep after arriving home about 0430h on Saturday. It was good this year to have two students (Stefan Harrison & Dan Willcox) on the course who were actually interested in nature, particularly birds. On our day off, we made a 22 hour round trip to the Parque Nacional de Doñana via the suspension bridge over the Río Guadalquiver at Sevilla. We took the tracks to the Jose Antonio Valverde centre to the breathtaking rookery there with breeding Glossy Ibis, Purple Heron, Night Heron, Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret and Little Egret. Around 92 species were logged on the day without trying too hard.

Staying in the same hotel were Duncan Macdonald and Ian Rowlands with their Speyside Wildlife tour group. It was good to exchange information on the local sites with them. One day I bumped into them at Barbate and I showed them a better location for viewing the estuary here. As soon as we arrived Duncan ‘scoped a Lesser Crested Tern with the Sandwich Terns! I had been viewing the area just previously with my bins. I don’t bring my ‘scope as we have so much equipment and apparatus for the field course. Makes me wonder what else I’ve missed here in previous years! At least five tern species were present that day along with Caspian, Little and Gull-billed.

The non-avian highlight (not seen by me unfortunately) was a group of Killer Whales at the Almadrabas off Zahara seen by a lucky few.


Anonymous said...

Great pics ,Fraser!
Thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

Lovely pics Fraser.

Fraser Simpson said...

Thanks Odysseas and Des!

Spyros said...

Great pics. I wish we had this lovely Magpie in Greece too!

Greetings from Athens

HampshireBirder said...

love the bee-eater, brilliant