As Elena had passed her test I thought it would be a good idea for her to get some real driving experience, so we set off on Friday morning for Brazo del Este, stopping off at Fuente de Piedra on route. She drove all the way except for a final stretch near Seville and did very well.
After Fuente we carried on to Brazo del Este, a fertile region of rice fields and cultivated wetland on the east bank of the Rio Guadalquivir. In good times is rich in bird life, but sadly after a dry winter many of the ponds and dykes were dry and birds quite scarce. A few shallow pools did harbor some species, with Glossy Ibis being the most common wader. The one below spent long periods in elaborate poses, yoga perhaps, or Tai Chi?
It had been our intention to spend the night in El Rocio but we found the place packed with weekend tourists so accommodation was going to be scarce. Also the lake held relatively few birds and the usually reliable El Acebuchal Visitor Centre held absolutely no water and therefore no birds to see, apart from the ubiquitous Azure Winged Magpies that throng around the picnic tables hoping for scraps. So after taking a few frustrated shots of these handsome scavengers we set off on the long drive home.
Finally, I am not a lister, I have not mentioned all the birds observed being more interested in those that I manage to photograph. One sighting worthy of note however was the strange mammal that we saw from the car, moving through some light woodland near the car ferry to Coria. It was like a very large, very pale cat with dark hoops on the tail. My initial thoughts were Genet, but neither of us noted any spots. The animal was heavily muscled and moved along almost hugging the ground. Elena remembers the long hooped tail being curled up at the end. Frankly I have no idea what it was, much too large for a domestic cat anyway, so a mystery we may never solve.