Second try for the rare Harrier.
I headed out towards the site where the Harrier had been seen but this time cut across country and covered several areas on the way picking up several big flocks of both Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) but the numbers of these species were dwarfed by the huge numbers of Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) which were everywhere. One flock of Buntings must have numbered well over a 1000 individuals. Also seen were several Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
Once on site I had a male Merlin (Esmerejón / Falco columbarius) flash past within a few feet of the car followed by a nice but much more distant Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) and a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and that was it for raptors. I spent another couple of hours in the area and did not even manage any of the Hen Harriers seen on the last visit, in fact I saw very little else of interest so I pushed on down to Embalse de Bermjalise to see what was about and not a lot was the answer, I picked up a couple of Great Cormorants (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and a Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and that was about it. I then started to move north up the Cacín Valley back towards home. In the lower gorge I had some nice views of a pair of Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus) and a male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) which sat and called nicely right up till I was about to take its photograph. Further on up the Cacín road I stopped at the smaller Embalse which by normal standards was also quite quiet and held just a few Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), lots of Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), both Green (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and a noise but shy Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti). I finished off at a site near by where I had nice views of at least 24 Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis), a huge female Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus), another Merlin and a couple of Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus) which helped to boost the raptor list. Also seen in this area were Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and dozens of Black Redstarts (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros).
Photographs from the top: Great Cormorants (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo) and Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).