Although I've not quite got to grips with all of the species I'd like in Cadiz province, the trip this spring was mainly about exploring various sites I knew less well than I'd like. One area I'd earmarked for a closer look was the road along the Guadalquivir north and west of Lebrija. It's not, perhaps, a premier site, but it's a pleasant drive through little birded areas.
continues as a good metalled route, but to the left it's a rougher, albeit good, gravel track. With time pressing and a tractor already heading off to the left I turned right. With the promise of decent views over poorly vegetated habitats this track begs further exploration for pratincoles, harriers and probably sandgrouse. To the right the road snakes along through rather boring agricultural landscape although as it runs alongside the railway line there are some pools with Black-winged Stilt and more Collared Pratincole.I had a Golden Oriole flip out of the scrub along the drainage channel where confiding female Montagu's Harrier quietly drank. How did the bird know that my camera was in the boot? However, the best option is turn left along the first decent metalled road which is as a boringly straight as it is birdless and reach the river asap.
Once I reached the river I turned right as to the left the track was less good and the habitat less inviting. Negotiating the track back towards Trebujena will have to wait until I've a more adventurous passenger! To the north an avenue of eucylptus trees shade this track from the hot sun which makes for pleasant birding indeed. There's little traffic, several good places to pull off and a series of small marshy pools sandwiched between the track and the Guadalquivir. This has proved good for herons in the past and today was no exception with many Little and fewer Cattle Egrets, several Purple and the odd Squacco Heron (only Night Herons, usually present in small numbers, were missing). The telegraph wires were useful look-outs for Lesser Kestrels and Bee-eaters whilst the poles and nearby trees gave somewhere more secure for Black Kites to perch. As always along here check all sparrows carefully as some Spanish Sparrows are often present. Melodious Warbler certainly occur in good numbers and Olivaceous Warbler ought to be looked for in the denser tamarisk scrub.
So that's it, a gentle perambulation along the banks of the Guadalquivir. From where you join the riverbank track to the south to La Señuela is 8 or 9 km. It's then another 5 km to the laguna from which it's only another 10km or thereabouts to Brazo del Este – a top destination for birding. This route may not rate so highly, but it's certainly a very enjoyable detour. If getting to Brazo del Este is your priority then it's best to push straight along the road running parallel to the railway towards Marsimilla or along even the E5 to (and through) Las Cabezas de San Juan. However, if a little low key relaxed birding is your aim, then it's a great route. If you had an early start for a jaunt round Brazo del Este it can make a very pleasant slow route back south. Check it out and if you do let me know how you get on.