Another couple of lifers for Jacko and a few year ticks for me!
Today was an early start as we wanted to be over in the Osuna area as soon as possible so we were on the road by 07:00 and arrived at our first stop at Fuente de Piedra at around 10 to 8. We parked up and went and had a walk out on to the board walk over the small scrap, straight away we were hearing a couple of Great Spotted Cuckoos (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) scolding each other out on the marsh and soon had them in the scope perched on a distant fence post. On the muddy margins of the pools we soon had a single Temmincks Stint (Correlimos de Temminck / Calidris temminckii) which was moulting into summer plumage, several Curlew Sandpipers (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea) with plumages ranging from full breeding through to winter, a couple of Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta) both in almost full summer dress and at least 20+ Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax). We continued to pick up more and more waders and within the first 10 minutes we had seen 15 different species, some of the others were Wood Sandpiper (Andarrios Bastardo / Tringa Glareola) x2, Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), Common (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Avocet (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta) and a flyover Whimbrel (Zarapito Trinador / Numenius phaeopus). We also had another wader which we only saw in flight we did not get good enough views of it to be 100% certain of it identification but I am fairly confident that it was a Jack Snipe (Agachadiza Chica / Lymnocriptes minimus). Whilst searching through the waders we also added Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) to the day list before walking around towards the main Lagoon. As we passed the next pool 2 Purple Herons (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea) flew in and landed in the reeds out of sight and in one of the larger Oak trees we picked up both Bonelli’s (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and Garden Warblers (Curruca Mosquitera / Sylvia borin) along with the more usual Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala). From the view point we saw around 100 Greater Flamingo’s (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) which was all that was left of the huge flocks seen a week or two ago.
We then continued the trip towards Osuna only stopping briefly on the way to see Alpine Swifts (Vencejo Real / Apus melba) at a site near the Motorway.
The first thing we did when we arrived in Osuna was to find a bank for Jacko so that he could change some Pounds in to Euro’s, this proved harder than either of use thought and after being told that because of money laundering you could only change currencies if you had an account at the bank Jacko used the cash point and kept his Pounds. In the town we added both Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) and an adult White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) returning to the nest with food. Once out in the countryside again we started to pick up new species for the day including Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Crested (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla).
We stopped on one of the bridges along the road and within seconds had located three male Great Bustards (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda) distantly on a crop field, but a couple of minutes after we got onto them they took off. Two of the birds headed off away from us but one flew straight towards and passed us with in 100 meters giving Jacko a great view of the first of today’s lifers. Whilst we were here we also saw several Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) these were the first of what must have been 300 plus birds seen during the day. Further along the road we stopped on another bridge where we could hear several Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) blowing raspberries out in the crop fields, we also saw the first of the days Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster). We again continued further on along the road until we picked up several large blobs out in the fields, these turned out to be another male (who looked very tired) and 19 female Great Bustards (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda). We turned off onto one of the side tracks and immediately started to pick up good numbers of Collared Pratincole (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola) which were hawking over the fields where a farmer was ploughing up some very dry ground. Further along this road we turned onto a rough dirt track and started to scan the area for Spanish Sparrows (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis) which took more finding than expected as during the winter there were loads, we eventually found a couple of males along with a nice pair of European Bee-eaters which were hunting from a nearby barbed wire fence, a Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus) who’s migration looked over with due to a badly damaged wing and a very dark Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo). Continuing on along this track we came across several Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) singing loudly from their prominent perches, Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), more Black Kites and ever increasing numbers of Lesser Kestrels. Eventually we reach our goal a large disused Cortijo and after explaining what we were doing to a local Campo Copper we started birding again and the first species seen came as a bit of a surprise. I was scanning along one of the outer walls and came across a largish dark bird, I had seen it with out the bins and thought that it would be one of the free flying Peacocks that roam around the site but I was pleased to find it was actually a Bald Ibis (Ibis Eremita / Geronticus eremita). It stayed just long enough for me to take a couple of very bad shots but they were good enough to confirm the ID and to see that it was not carrying any rings, it was almost certainly one of the unringed birds from the later generations of the birds reintroduced at Barbate down in Cadiz Province. The bird stayed for just a few minutes and flushed up when the Campo Copper returned to ask us not to drive off the tracks as the birds were breeding, I am driving a Ford Fiesta so I do not know where he thought we were going to go. The bird circled a couple of time before disappearing off over the Olives and out of sight. We then continued birding around the Cortijo and found at least 3 Rollers (Carraca / Coracias garrulus), lots more Lesser Kestrels and at least one of the resident Peacocks. We made our way back to the road via a different track and then retraced our way back to the main road and onwards towards Marchena where we picked up a couple of sandwiches to go and went out of the town on the Carmona road to a field where in the past there had been a breeding colony of Collared Pratincoles only to find the site had now been turned into a car park for one of the local factories!!! We stayed and eat our sandwich before heading for Lantejuela and onwards to Laguna la Ballestera passing a couple of dry pools on the way, on the pool there were a couple of hundred Greater Flamingo’s, Eurasian Coot, Gull-billed Terns and the days first and only flock of Black Terns (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger). We then went and had a look at what turned out to be a very dry Laguna de Consuegra before spending a good while checking out Laguna de la Turquilla, here we quickly added a single Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus), several Purple Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Black-necked (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) on to the day and trip list. From here we headed back to Fuente de Piedra where we saw all the same species but did not add anything new to the day list except for Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna). We then headed home and picked up Jayne and popped back down to the bar at the bottom of the road and had another Tapas evening meal.
Photographs from the top: Great Spotted Cuckoos (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius), Temmincks Stint (Correlimos de Temminck / Calidris temminckii), Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea), Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava), female Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Bald Ibis (Ibis Eremita / Geronticus eremita), Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus), Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax), 2x Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and Avocet (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta).