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We had a terrific day today with a high count of species and a lot of goodies thrown in. We travelled quite far from the hotel but it was worth the effort and everyone enjoyed the day.

At 7:45am we set off from the hotel and head west towards Cadiz and Jerez, turning off to Sanlucar de Barameda and arriving at our first destination around 9:15am. The large pool at Depuradora held a lot of species we enjoyed our short stay there. We found Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Common and Red-crested Pochard, Little and Great Crested Grebe, Green and Common Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt, Greenshank, Shoveler and several other species.

Long Skimmers - Orthretrum trinacria - were common, this is a female

From there we drove the short distance to the Pools in Bonanza, along the way we stopped to watch a huge number of Glossy Ibis (200+) in a recently ploughed field, we also saw Turnstone, Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover and Yellow Wagtails in the same field.

Purple Swamphen

The pools held very little water, it was green and smelly, but you wouldn’t believe the bird life there! Our main target species went quickly onto the list: Purple Swamphen, Marbled Duck (12), White-headed Duck (3), Little Stint and the star bird:- Temminck’s Stint (2).

one of two Temminck's Stints seen at the pools

Moving onto the larger pool we found many Night Herons, Litle and Cattle Egrets, a juvenile Squacco Heron, Common Snipe, more Night Herons and a Male Little Bittern. We searched for the Red-knobbed Coot without luck but we had a tremendous time searching the pool and came away with many species on our list.

Marbled Ducks we saw many at the pools

The temperature rose into the lower 30’s and things began to slow down, heat haze spoilt our long distant viewing but at Bonanza Salt Pans we still managed to add a good number of new species to the day list. Many waders were visible: Dunlin, Sanderling, Curlew Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey, Little-ringed, Kentish and Ringed Plovers, Redshanks, Greenshank and Avocet.

Slender-billed Gull

During our 2 hour visit we stopped off in several places and included a 1km walk to a pumping station. We found Ruff, Slender-billed Gulls, Red & Black Kites, Osprey, Booted Eagle, Stonechat, Willow Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Kingfisher, Crested Lark and several Caspian Terns.

Slender-billed Gull with Black-tailed Godwits

The temperature went up over 30C and my troops were flagging, so we drove to a shop to buy lunch supplies and then a little further to Laguna Tarelo. We ate lunch watching birds on the water. I have never seen so many Night Herons sitting out in the sunshine, at least 50 were standing around and just as many were in the bushes on the edge of the water, they must have been disturbed.

We saw well over 100 Night Herons at Laguna Tarelo

Over 100 Shovelers and a similar number of Little Grebes were also present with a few Eurasian Coots, Little and Cattle Egrets and a few Mallards. We walked a few meters to the corner of the laguna and found 7 more Marbled Duck, another Squacco Heron and two Kingfishers.

Scanning across to the salt pans behind the Laguna we added Common Shelduck to the trip list and a small flock of Common Waxbills were seen in the reeds below us.

Night Heron showing off its plumes

From Laguna Tarelo we travelled to Chipiona a journey of some 25 minutes, we arrived at the marina in Chipiona at 3pm and spent 1 hour looking at Little Swifts going in and out of their nests at this unique colony. We saw half a dozen over a 30 mintue period before we walked round to a kiosk to buy ice-creams.

Willow Warbler seen picking off flies in a fence

At 4pm we drove round to the beach area at Montijo where a rising tide was ushing resting terns, gulls and waders ever nearer to us. We had hoped to see a rare Elegant Tern or even a Ropseate Tern, both of which had been reported recently at this site. All we found was Sandwich, Little and Caspian Terns, it was interesting to see the Little Tern standing next to the Caspian Tern at one stage (little and large).

a record shot of a Little Swift - taken by Chris Perry

We scoped the area very well and found many waders feeding, the species included, Whimbrel, Sanderling, Turnstone, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Greenshank, Oystercatcher, Common Sandpiper and a small number of Slender-billed Gulls.

We left the area around 5:30pm, well pleased with our sightings of the day even though we missed a couple of our target birds. We arrived back at the hotel around 7pm with just enough time to shower and get ready for dinner.