Monday, 13 May 2019

Spain, 25th April- 9th May 2019

This year holiday was to SW Spain. As always it was a combined birding and family holiday so the dates were a little late compared to most birding trip to the area but I hoped for, and got,  better weather as a consequence.
The trip started with 3 nights in Seville, then Trujillo in Extramadura for 4 nights, then down to El Rocio in Donana for 4 nights with the final 3 nights being spent in Ronda. We had visited El Rocio and Ronda previously and wanted to repeat the experience.
We flew to Seville with BA and hired the car from Centauro (who were very good - we had a Nissan Qashqai with only 2000km on the clock) with us picking the car up as we departed Seville.
The places we visited were beautiful, the weather was gorgeous with temperatures in the mid to high 20's  only dropping to 20-22 when in Ronda (though the morning were pretty cool in most places). This allowed us take in all the sights we wanted and to eat outside most evenings.

Not everything went to plan however and there were several notable low-lights to the holiday.
The national cheese festival was being held in Trujillo which meant the town centre was covered in marques and totally spoilt the ambience of the place. It seems this takes place every year around the end of April/early May and lasts 5 days with a week or so taken to set up and possibly a similar time to dismantle afterwards so the town square is an unsightly mess for best part of a month. (Better research could have avoided this).

The road to the Jose Antonio Valverde Centre in Donana was a pot holed disgrace and the journey took an absolute age. They have also placed a mesh fence alongside the main reed bed near the centre so photographing birds from the car is near impossible now and the heronry viewed from the centre was almost devoid of herons. Pretty much a wasted day.

Finally at Ronda the path down to a mirador below the New Bridge was closed as new steps/paths were being constructed. This is a great location for photographing swifts early morning as you are pretty much level with them. I'll put this down to bad luck.

With a couple of exceptions the birding  was slow/difficult everywhere we went. I don't know whether our rather late date was the cause or whether I'm useless birding from a car (the main method especially around Trujillo). So whilst we saw quite a lot several species were conspicuously absent from our (non-existent) trip list (eg roller, Bonelli's eagle) and I failed to get decent images of several species I had high hopes for eg hoopoe, shrikes.

Subsequent posts will cover the birding at each of the places visited with the exception of Seville where there was little to see bird wise other than swifts, sparrows, parakeets and spotless starlings though I now know some of the swifts I photographed were palids.

Seville. The Alkazar (plus mallard)

Seville. The Alkazar

Seville Oranges in the main park

Trujillo. The tents in the main square 
Trujillo Dining and cutting out the tents

Trujillo. Same street as above but with some tents showing

Trujillo. Our hotel, the Parador.
El Rocio

El Rocio. Another view of the church this time with the sand roads
Ronda. The gorge from a restaurant

Ronda. The New Bridge. All 98m of it..
Bird photos will also appear on my Flickr site:-

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