No rain in Spain – 10,000 Birds

My aunt Greet gave me a ebook in 1975 that featured the 60 most endangered birds in Europe. Amazingly and fairly opposite to what you’d imagine from the gloomy information most of those birds have since recovered and are doing effectively. Europe misplaced the Buttonquail (however considerable in Africa) however the Griffon, Cinereous Vulture (José Leal’s image under) and several other eagles are making a spectacular comeback. Barnacle Geese even made it to “agricultural pest” standing.

Within the ebook, one image stood out specifically: the White-headed Duck. The image was not even in focus, like a UFO sighting! There have been just a few dozen of those geese left and the photographer – utilizing old school analog movie – took only one, very fuzzy shot. For lack of higher footage that was the one which bought used within the ebook (out of print – ISBN 90 274 8348 5). Even so, the concept of at some point going out to search out this uncommon duck appealed to me.

Life bought in the best way and nothing occurred till effectively into the following century once I wanted to do a undertaking for a consumer in Spain. Southern Spain has been affected by a long-term drought for just a few years already. My consumer has a wholesome watersheds technique and I used to be going to Sevilla and Jaen for the primary steps of this system. Water safety isn’t straightforward. Working example: the Spanish populists would sacrifice Doñana Nationwide Park to offer extra water to strawberry farms. On the similar time, they wish to cease seasonal migration from Morocco, wanted to choose these exact same strawberries 3 months later. The science-based method that recognises the dilemmas and identifies the laborious decisions isn’t election materials, I suppose. Anyway, the work would take me to Andalucia – prime White-headed Duck nation. Time to search for that UFO myself. I used to be occurring a quest for a single species – one thing I usually simply don’t do. I ready with Ernest Garcia’s “The place to look at birds in Southern & Western Spain” and deliberate my detours.

I stayed near the consumer’s services within the small city of Los Palacios y Villafranca. The city is down the street from the Brazo del Este – geographically a department of the Guadalquivir and ecologically part of the Doñana Nationwide Park. It’s not formally contained in the Nationwide Park, however entry is simpler and the species tally isn’t too shabby, in no way. Amongst others, I noticed a Spanish Imperial Eagle, considerable Western Swamphen, Frequent Snipe and each Noticed Redshank and Frequent Redshank. There have been additionally a few Italian nudists, which by no means combines effectively with a bloke with high-power binoculars. However they have been in entrance of a Western Subalpine Warbler so… Beautiful chicken.

Brazo del Este may be very straightforward to get to, even previous to going out to work, so I visited twice throughout my keep in the native resort. From the city take the SE-9020 heading west, then southwest after Los Chapatales in the direction of the settlement of Pinzón. Proceed on the gravel street SE-9009 / SE-685. There will probably be giant eucalypts and a canal in your proper. After one other few kilometres you’ll flip a really sharp proper simply after the rice mill, cross the canal and begin your birding on the SE-659 (37° 4’53.84″N, 6° 2’20.57″W). Comply with this street north and cease in any respect the ponds, stroll across the fields and revel in an excellent day of birding.

You may flip proper on the irrigation station (37° 8’51.77″N,  6° 2’9.14″W) and drive on the northern facet of the irrigation channel again to Los Chapatales. You can even proceed additional alongside the Brazo del Este. In case you’re not on enterprise than realise there’s much more locations to go to on this area. Purchase the ebook and take every week!

For all that’s good concerning the Spanish individuals they do have some annoying habits, particularly regarding their every day routines. You will want to plan your birding day round these routines. For starters, your room ought to be away from the road as a lot as doable as a result of the every day celebration will go on into the wee hours. Second, don’t rely on breakfast since they have an inclination to serve from 8:00 hrs, effectively previous your departure for the birding grounds. Dinner tends to be very late with the kitchen opening at 21:00 hrs for those who’re fortunate. Lunch is often at an affordable time, so my resolution is to purchase fruit and drinks to cowl breakfast and go for an elaborate lunch. Knife and fork, glass of wine and a nap afterwards. That’s OK – will probably be too sizzling for birding. Then do extra birding, have tapas and a beer and switch in for an early night time. The tapas on the resort have been superb: the cured ham was heavenly scrumptious, and the costs have been devilishly low. I actually appreciated my technique and was deservedly happy with myself for figuring it out.

The duck did elude me – and to be trustworthy, this isn’t the most effective spot anyway. Brazo del Este was simply a wonderful alternative: near the undertaking location and too good to overlook. Nonetheless, I wasn’t completed but and with Ernest Garcia’s steering, I did really feel very assured to see the duck elsewhere. Since I wanted to journey to Jaen for the second a part of my undertaking I deliberate for 2 stops alongside the best way: Lagunas de La Lantejuela and Laguna de Zóñar.

Laguna del Gobierno is a really good instance of turning a legal responsibility into an asset. The close by city La Lantejuela’s sewage receives superior therapy, and the effluent is discharged into the laguna. This pond can be my first cease. I adopted my GPS to get to the laguna and bought misplaced, so finest observe the directions from the ebook. The realm has been developed like a fairground with multi-coloured partitions and buildings, swings, picnic spots and such. The highest birders for this hotspot have seen near 100 species. Perhaps it was due to fiesta, perhaps due to siesta, however the whole lot was closed shut. Regardless of all of the indicators saying they have been open for enterprise… Luckily, the encircling wall was low, and a useful bench aided by my 1 meter 92 physique lifted my eyes excessive sufficient to peek over the wall straight into the eyes of a male White-headed Duck. That was straightforward!

From the wall, my view was restricted however the birdlife on this pond is considerable. Larger Flamingo, each Black-necked Grebe and Little Grebe, and even some Lesser Kestrel within the surrounding fields. After all, the entire detour and go to had taken longer than anticipated and I nonetheless wanted to get to Jaen in time. I had my quarry, and so I made a decision to move east and skip the remainder of my deliberate program. Current checklists for Laguna de Zóñar don’t listing White-headed Duck so that will have been the suitable name.

The profitable seek for the duck has impressed me. And when my brother purchased a home close to Valencia, the goal for the following quest was clear: Moustached Warbler. And that’s a superb old school cliff-hanger – watch this house for extra!


Autor Peter


Journalist specialized in online marketing as Social Media Manager. I help professionals and companies to become more Internet and online reputation, which allows to give life to the Social Media Strategies defined for the Company, and thus immortalize brands, products and services. I have participated as an exhibitor in various forums nationally and internationally, I am the author of several articles in digital magazines and Blogs.

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