Jayne, Sharon, John and I left our house later than planned as the day before had taken it’s toll. We were heading for the Osuna area in Sevilla Province, hoping to see some of the very few Great Bustards (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda) that survive in Andalucia. The weather was not looking to good but we have got quite used to that these days, we were not going to let a thunder, lighting and a major cloud burst stop us, were English (well there might be a bit of Welsh and Irish in there somewhere as well). As we turned of the motorway for the third time (Osuna has far to many junction) and found the right road we started to pick up good birds. The first were a small group of Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) hunting along the slip road, later several Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans) some of which were loafing around on the ploughed fields and a single Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) passed over quite high. Moving on we checked the fields for the Bustards from the tops of the new bridges put in for the high speed rail link between Granada and Sevilla but with out any sightings of either species of bustard. We did pick up several fine Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and a couple of Red Kite (Milano Real / Milvus milvus), also seen along this drive were good numbers of Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis),White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and a single unexpected Alpine Swift (Vencejo Real / Apus melba). Several species of lark were also picked up including Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Crested (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis). Further on we came to a very wet area with a large pool in a waterlogged field, on the pool there were about 40 Greater Flamingo’s (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) feeding and several hundred Golden Plover (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaia) and Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) with a couple of Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina) in the mix. As we turned and headed for Marchena to find some thing to eat we came across another wet area which held several Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus). Just before we reached the town Jayne picked up two Common Cranes (Grulla Común / Grus grus) feeding on more very flooded fields. Other birds seen before lunch included large numbers of Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Stone-curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) were heard but not seen, Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
As we arrived at the bar for lunch the skys were full of lighting and the thunder was rumbling a way well and as we ate the heavens opened and the streets filled with water in a few seconds. After our well timed stop we climbed back into the car and drove through the flooded streets and headed back along the same road to Osuna. Just as we started back along the railway line John picked up a raptor flying towards us which turned out to be a nice adult Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus). The rest of the run to Osuna and onward to Fuente de Piedra was quiet mainly because all but the drive (me) had an afternoon snooze, with Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) being the only new species added. At Fuente a group of Greater Flamingo’s was the first species seen, about 50 birds were on the pool to the left of the drive along with a few Black-winged Stilts. We then went into the new visitors centre where John and Sharon bought a badge of the Lynx we had seen yesterday. Out on the reserve large numbers of Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata) were by far the commonest species, along with Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina) and Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos). Several Avocets (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta) could be seen chasing around and a small flock were seen swimming a long way out on the main very full lagoon. On the pools at the rear of the center several Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago) were roosting on one of the islands, Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) called loudly and displayed and a Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) feed under the Tamarisk trees.
Photographs from the top: Greater Flamingo’s (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), The lunch time rains and Avocet (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta).