Goodbyes in Grazalema and a longish round trip home.
Again we were all up and about fairly sharpish to be ready in time to walk down to the bus with Sam and say bye to him as we were heading off before he would be home. We then went back up to the house, packed the car and said thanks and goodbye to Sue, we had a great time staying with them both as we always do.
We then drove over to Jerez and found the very large shopping centre on the western side of the city where I dropped Jayne and then headed off to Bonanza Salt Pans. I was surprised to find that it only took me 25 minutes to get there, on the way I picked up several species including Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia). Once I was in amongst the pans I quickly started to increase the list with a good many wader species including Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba), Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax), Kentish (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), Common (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Black-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa), Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta) and Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina). Also on the main drive way but on pans further back I could see good numbers of Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Slender-billed Gulls (G aviota Picofina / Larus genei), Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), a small number of Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and and at least two roosting Caspian Terns (Pagaza Piquiroja / Sterna caspia) mixed in with lots of Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis). At the T junction at the far end of the main drag I turned right but unusually this track was very quiet and except for a few Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) I only saw more the same species. So I turned around and went the opposite direction which I usually find to be quite but on this occasion it turned out to be the best spot on the site. I took the side track and had some much better views of a small flock of Greater Falamingo's and added Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia), Great White Egret (Garceta Grande / Egretta alba) and Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) to the day list. On my way back the species just kept coming with a pair of Lesser Short-toed Larks (Terrera Marismena / Calandrella rufescens) showing well on the track, three Whimbrel (Zarapito Trinador / Numenius phaeopus) roosting on a back off to the right of the track, Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) on the wire fences and a low flying Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) upsetting everything. In the drainage ditch along side the track I also saw a couple of Dragonflies, a single male Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and a couple of Lesser Emperors (Anax parthenope).
I had wanted to try and get some shots of the Slender-billed Gulls but so far they had all been out of range on the working pans, as I drove back along the main track I saw someone working in one of the pump house so I stopped for a word with him. In my broken Spanish I got over what I wanted and he opened the chain and said as long as I stayed in the car and put the padlock back on when I had finished I could go and get my shots, which I did thanks to this very helpful chap.
Once I had secured the chain I left the site and went to try and find some small pools in amongst all the green houses and small holding nearby, after a couple of wrong turns I found them and considering the amount of rubbish and mess that surrounded the pools they had some good birds in residence. The commonest by far was Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) followed by Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) and Greylag Geese (Ansar Común / Anser anser). The best finds were singles of both Purple Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio) and Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata), the latter being bird of the day.
I then headed back towards Jerez to meet Jayne, taking the cross country route and getting well and truly lost. Eventually I found my way out of the maze of farm tracks on to a wider track heading in basically the right direction and ended up back on the road that I had arrived on in the morning. On my way along this wider track I had seen more Glossy Ibis, another Great White Egret and several Red Kites (Milano Real / Milvus milvus). Once back at Jerez I quickly found Jayne by Ikea and we started to make our way home taking the route North towards Sevilla and then east along the A92. At Antequera I called in and checked the fields around Laguna Herrera after Jose Rafael Garrido messaged me of facebook asking me to check whether the Great Bustard (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda) I had seen a week or so early was still there. We spent some time checking the fields but could not see the Great but we did find 9 Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) on the fields and on the Laguna good numbers of Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) and a couple of moulting Water Pipits (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta) on the muddy margins. From here we headed home and hit the pit.
Photographs from the top: Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax), Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), Black-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa), Lesser Short-toed Larks (Terrera Marismena / Calandrella rufescens), Slender-billed Gulls (G aviota Picofina / Larus genei) and Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata).