Our final day from Ayamonte was spent looking around the local marshes, then some of us made our way to El Rocio for a last night before heading home across Isla Mayor. We did see a few nie birds including Common Redstart, Orphean Warbler and a Booted Eagle which gave us a very close fly past. Unfortunately my camera setting had moved so my shot is very poor.
On the way to El Rocio some of us looked in on the Odiel Marshes again where Elena and I had splendid views of this male Marsh Harrier (Above). Then we joined some of the others including Derek & Barbara Etherton in watching the distant resident Ospreys, one eating its dinner while perched on a sluice gate, and the other trying to catch something for itself, unsuccessfully as it turned out so it went to bed hungry that night.
That evening as we compared notes at the hotel in El Rocio we had an aperitif of fresh oysters washed down with some nice white wine. We bought the oysters from some river oysterermen who were collecting and packing them up to go to the restaurants of Seville, so we bought a couple of dozen. And very nice they were too.
Next day we said our goodbyes to the group and set off across Isla Mayor, picking up birds along the way including the Greenshank below and an interesting blue-eyed Spanish Sparrow! A trick of the light? I don't know but if you look closely at the photograph below you will see what I mean. I could see this clearly as I took the picture.
There were plenty of White Storks on the rice fields along with Lapwings, Common & Green Sandpiper, a simply enormous flock of Flamingos that numbered in the hundreds, possibly even a thousand birds that settled on a bank separating two cut rice paddies. Interestingly they did not appear to enter the water so I don't know how they manage to feed here.
We spotted a pair of Black Storks so drove up s side track between the rice field to get a better view. The Storks did not seem to mind our presence at all, in fact the big old adult male seemed to have a good laugh at our arrival and I got some good shots of him chortling away happily.
Now the Black Stork is reputed to be a shy and wary species. Well not these two. I think if I had waded out into the mud I might even have got to stroke this one, he seemed quite friendly and put on a good show for us. They feed on insects and amphibians and I suspect they might have been finding some of the crayfish that abound in the rice paddies. Locals place baited keepnets around the edges and we could see they were getting a good catch of some sizeable crayfish that I imagine are quite a valuable commodity as the Spanish love their shellfish.
Overall it had been a good few days birding in good company. The Costa Luz Apartments in Ayamonte were outstanding and excellent value and the full-board arrangement with breakfast or packed lunches and evening meals were outstanding. The manager of the Costa Esuri Golf Course was extremely welcoming and even provided us with golf buggies to run down to his pond by the seventeenth green where about twenty seven bird species were observed in the evenings including Caspian Tern, Spoonbill, Collared Pratincole and all manner of water species.