A long day and a lot of Km (in the new car) day one of recce trip for spring tour.
The day started by driving down to Nerja via Zafarraya and Velez Malaga to take Jayne for her short break with two of her sister's and brother-in-law. On the way down I started the three day list off with several Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) on the roadside wires, Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
After seeing Barb, Sue and Peter and collecting my new to me camera I said bye to Jayne and made my way up to Steve and Elena's on the way up to Frigaliana for some lunch, a chat and to collect a 400mm Canon lens that Steve was letting me have early. From Steve's garden whilst having lunch we recorded Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus) and Great Tits (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala). After a very nice luch a bit of birding and quite a few tips about how to use the camera and lens I said thanks and Goodbye to Steve and Elena and headed off along the motorway to Antequera and then onwards to Laguna Dulce. On the way the weather took a turn for the worst and did not really improve much for the rest of the day, on the way I saw Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
By the time I got to Dulce it was minging it down so I sat in the car for a short while before dashing to the hide where I scanned the near shore as this was all I could see!!! Along the near margins I could see several Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata). As the weather improved I started to pick up more species including 3 male and 2 female Ferruginous Ducks (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca), White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Little (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera) and 1 collared and 1 non-collared Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata). On the margins and over the reedbeds I also saw Cattle (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus). From here I headed out of Campillo's to have a look at Los Corralis and then on to check out Laguna del Gosque, again as I arrived here the heavens opened so I again sat for a while and picked up several Common Starlings (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulg aris) mixed in with a large flock of Spotless. Once the rain had slowed to torrential I venchered out to the hide along a short track, from here I saw more Greater Flamingo's, Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) and on the muddy shoreline Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina) and Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta). The rain then started again so I scanned the fields behind the hide where there were birds sheltering in some fig trees, these included several Pied and Spotted Flycatchers (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Whinchat, Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and on my way back to the car in a very brief break in the clouds I added Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum).
My last birding spot of the day was on the fields near Osuna, on the way over I added Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans) and Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa).
I followed the usual route along the road heading west out of the town and stopped at the first two bridges on the way but did not find any of the Great Bustards (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda) but I did pick up Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia). Yet again the weather went from bad to even worse so I had one last try for the Bustards along a track that I had not followed before and just as I was about to turn around I picked up three blobs in the mist which turned out to be male Bustards feeding in a newly sown field.
At this point I gave into the weather and headed to the motorway and then on to Arahal, Utrera and then to a hotel in Los Palacios Y Villafranca.
Even though I had my new camera kit the weather had stopped me getting any shots at all.