Birding in the Osuna area.
Today we were out and about a bit earlier and found our selves in the Osuna area at just before 09:00 hoping for a few more of the species on Niels’s list. We got off to a good start picking up two Great Bustards (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda) in one of the crop fields and several Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), a single female and at least three males were seen. Here we also picked up Marsh (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and Montagu's Harrier’s (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia).
We continued on along the road to the second bridge where we again heard more Little Bustards and added Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Crested Larks (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax).
The next stop was by the last of the bridges were we picked up a nice group of Collared Pratincoles (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola) with some in flight feeding over the roadside field and some sat on the dried out shallow scraps that had been flooded during the winter. On a damper area there were several Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and a couple of Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus); whilst on the opposite side of the road the telegraph poles were lined with more than 20 Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni). From here we went onto a dirt track passed a small plantation of Eucalyptus trees where the noise from hundreds, if not thousands of House (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus) and Spanish Sparrows (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis) was deafening. Further along the track we added a pair of Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) collecting nesting material, a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) sat in a tree doing a good impersonation of a Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), a bird I had expected to find easily but that eluded us all day. Further along this track we came to a derelict Cortijo which was covered in Lesser Kestrels and Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), along with a pair of beautiful Rollers (Carraca / Coracias garrulus), but the biggest birds here were a couple of male Peacocks which called loudly from the rooftops. We continued along this track out on to the road to La Lantejuela, we went through the town and carried on to Laguna Verde de Sal. On the water there were a couple of pairs of Red-crested (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) and Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata) and a few pairs of Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) which were nesting on piles of rocks around the margins. On the smaller pool on the other side of the road there was a single Collared Pratincole resting on the grass, a Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and a pair of Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus). At this point we had to turn around as the road was flooded, on a very wet field on the way back we found four Greater Flamingo’s (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), with both Avocet (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta) and Black-winged Stilts sitting on eggs. From here we went on to Laguna de Consuegra but just before the site we made a quick stop by a flooded roadside field were we picked up at least 20 Curlew Sandpipers (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea) some in cracking plumage, a single Wood Sandpiper (Andarrios Bastardo / Tringa Glareola), Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), more Avocets, Black-winged Stilts and both Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius). On the margins there were roosting Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Black-headed Gulls. On the main Laguna opposite we could see lots of Greater Flamingo’s and Eurasian Coots. After getting the OK from a farmer ploughing between the Sunflower crop along side the water we went for a walk around the margin to some nearby Tamarisk trees. Here we could hear plenty of Great Reed (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus) both of which we had brief views of but we could also hear Olivaceous Warbler (Zarcero Pálido / Hippolais pallida) but as hard as we tried we could not get this bird on the list. Also seen here were a late Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera) and Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos). A couple of male Blue / Common Emperor’s (Anax imperator), hundreds of Common Blue Damselflies (Enallagma cyathinerum) and Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) were also seen on the lake side.
We then moved just down the road to a small rush filled lake which had Whiskered (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chlidonias hybridus), Black (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger) and Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) feeding over and around it. On the water there were good numbers of White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), more Red-crested and Common Pochard, all three Grebes and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus).
At this point we made the decision to drop south towards Ronda to pick up the Olivaceous Warbler we had missed earlier, as soon as we arrived at Indiana we could hear the birds and after a while sat in the grass by the river side we had some cracking views of a couple of birds. Also here we heard a Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) and saw Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
Our last site was in some Oak woodland nearby, where we had a frustrating time with the passerines. Good enough views were obtained of Bonelli’s Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) but Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) and Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) were a different story, all were seen but not with identifable views by Niels. Whist we were in this area we also picked up Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla) and a couple calls from a Tawny Owl (Cárabo Común / Strix aluco).
Photograps from the top: Collared Pratincoles (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola), Rollers (Carraca / Coracias garrulus), male Peacock, Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), female Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) and Avocet (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta.