The track across La Janda having been repaired some years ago is again in a rather parlous state needing careful, circumspect and temperate driving to negotiate safely. In early April the track just beyond the weir and the bridge (as you head up towards the finca) was badly flooded. As a consequence drivers were driving around it and along the side of the bank despite the novel track so created being canted at an alarming angle. Such caution was confirmed by the end of the month when the puddle was almost dry apart from the deep cobble-edged sump-wrecking puddle the nature od which had previously been invisible (see photos - note that my photos fail to show just how steeply angled the track round the puddle is). Happily, the track to the A 2226 Benalup - Los Barrios road (itself being widened and resurfaced) has now been resurfaced and is no longer the pot-holed nightmare of previous years. Disappointingly, there were no signs indicating whether road into the Las Lomas estate was now open to pedestrians. that had been previously closed to all were now open to pedestrians. However, an ancient sign facing this disputed track perhaps suggests it was once open to general traffic ...
It was previously possible to access the Embalse de Celemin from an old ‘area recreativa’ but this site is now an activities/adventure centre (‘Wakana’) which you now have to pay to enter. What is presumably a direct replacement for this facility has been built at the far end of the embalse (see photos) but as yet I’ve not had an opportunity to explore it. I did manage to check the nearby bridge over the Rio Celemin found good for Grey Wagtail and Red-rumped Swallow.
It’s always seemed a bone of contention for me that, unlike UK bird observatories, the Migres study centre at Punta Camorro has never seemed very ‘visitor friendly’ and that the organisation was less proactive in circulating news of engaging with visitors than its UK equivalents. I’m happy to report that my prejudices were undermined on my visit there in April as the new 'Observatorio del Estrecho' was open and signposted. Housed in the long low building overlooking the Straits it now has a small shop selling T-shirts and sundry items and, better still, an excellent exhibition (in Spanish and English) explaining about both bird migration across the Straits and the project to introduce Osprey to the region. The exhibition is certainly worth a look and supporting their organisation by buying something in the shop is a no-brainer.
The path from the A 390 Medina - Chiclana to the Laguna de Jelli is now easier to find thanks to the construction of small parking area, a fence and an information board. The laguna is c2.5 km from the road (and another c2.5 km back again). However, the 5 km track from the edge of Chiclana (see my guide) is in reasonable condition, has better views across the campo, in May-June remains a good bet for Rufous Bushchat and halves the walk to the laguna. This end of the path also has new fencing and a new sign. A few hundred metres along the path there’s a view point (Puerta Verde de Chiclana) and another information board but it’s too distant to obtain good views of the water which is kilometre or so further down to the path. Checking the nearby Laguna de Montellano (a short walk from the path to Jeli) I again found that views were poor and screened by bushes. Scoping the shrinking pool I found it only held several Black-winged Stilts and, briefly, a drinking Booted Eagle. A Roller in the hedgerow here, however, a a bonus. Closer to Chiclana I also checked the Laguna de Paja which can be excellent but this spring it was bone dry.
This year the laguna was almost completely dry with only the far corner (to the left in the photo below) being wet. The grassy sward in front of the hide did attract a number of Spanish Yellow Wagtails and provided a resting place for the Collared Pratincole which were hawking over the area.