After catching up with a few jobs during the morning of the first dry day for a while I went down on to the fields to see what was about and what damage the rains had done. The Arroyo Vilano was flowing well above its usual level and the crossing point had been washed out but apart from that and a few partly flooded fields all was well. I first took one of the many tracks out in to the fields North of the town and checked one of the areas of Lucerne where I had seen the Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) a few days earlier but there was no sign, however I did pick up Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), several Black Redstarts (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) including a couple of cracking males, Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita). From here I went back up to the track which runs along the Arroyo and checked the fields on both sides and the very muddy margins, on the fields there were a few Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) around 60 or so, 12 Golden Plover (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaria) and unexpected Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) which was stood amongst the flock in a ploughed field??? On one of the ridges in the area of freshly germinated cerial crop there was a female Merlin (Esmerejón / Falco columbarius) which was being hasseled by 5 unhappy Mistle Thrushes (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and when they were close together it showed how small this falcon was, even though this was a female. On the margins there were a couple of Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and a Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) feeding in the mud.
After a while I moved to the second half of the river and found another couple of Green Sandpipers, 2 Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) before moving out to the areas along the Mesia track. Along here I checked the ditches, pools and flooded fields and located several Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), a male Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and another flock of Northern Lapwings but this time there were around 300 birds.
On the far side of the road I parked up and walked along the ridge which follows the Arroya and did a curcit back to the road and then to the car again, along here I saw a male Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus), several Common Chaffinches (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus). As I got back to the car I saw several butterflies in one of the Lucerne fields and decided to have a look and found 3 or 4 Bath Whites (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Small White (Artogeia rapae), a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and a single Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri).
I then started to make my way over to the Loja side of the area, on the way I checked the Ditches and pools again and added a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) to the bird list and hear Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi) calling from the dense vegitation.
I went through Huétor and out on to the far fields, as soon as I arrived I saw a fine female Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) hunting amongst the young Olive trees, a species that has been in short suppy in this area this winter. I also soon located the smaller than usual Little Bustard flock in the deeper section of the Lucerne field, I did a quick count and found that there were just 77 birds, well down on this time last year.
I went back in to Huetor, washed the mud off the car and called at the fields nearby to check on the Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and found around 170 birds still roosting there before heading back home.
Photographs from the top: Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) and Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus).