Thursday, 16 April 2015

Osuna, Fuente de Piedra and Molina, Sevilla and Malaga Province.

Out on the fields Bustard hunting with the Leicester Ladies.
Day Five.

We set out nice and early and before long the rain was hammering off the wind screen and Rona was asleep again in the Van again (wish I could sleep like that). We drove along the A92 towards Sevilla and as the journey went on a slither of brighter sky started to grow in the distance and by the time we pulled off the motorway and stopped for a coffee the sun was out. We moved out on to the fields and made our first stop in a layby where we scanned the fields, posts and pylons and started the day list off with Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and a pair of Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax). On the verge there we flowering Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris), Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum carinatum var discolor), Eruca (Eruca sativa), Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum) and Shepherds Needles (Scandix pecten-veneris).
We moved on to the next bridge scanning the roadside wires and fences seeing Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris). Once we were up on the bridge we scanned the open fields but could ot find any of the Great Bustards (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda) we were looking for but did see a very nice Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus). After the rains the track that continued on from the bridge was a bit on the slippy side but we mad it as far as the better gravel track with out getting bogged in to the Ladies relief as I don't think they like the idea of pushing me and the Van out of a hole !!!
Once we were on the gravel we stopped again and scanned the fields out towards a large concrete factory building in the distance and had views of a couple of Little Bustards in flight, Short-toed Lark, Iberian Grey and Woodchat Shrikes (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Hoopoe and a little further along the track we had the first of many Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), a small number of Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and several more European Bee-eaters which were sat on the fence around the factory with several Common Stonechats
We retraced our way back along this track but turned and went up to the second bridge where again we dipped on the Bustards but did manage to see more Black Kites, Montagu's Harriers, a good sized flock of Ravens and a Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) which disappearded before we had views. We again moved on and checked another track which went between to large semi abandoned Cortijos, here we saw large numbers of Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and further along the track a couple of hunting Short-toed Eagles (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus). We made our way back to the road along side the railway tracks and parked up on the third bridge and after some searching found a group of 12 Great Bustards in the distance back towards bridge two. We had views in the scope but decied after we had done the next nearby spot we would go back and see if we could ge better views. Whilst we were on the bridge we watched a flock of bathing Collared Pratincole (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola) which showed well and called all the time we were watching them. Our next stop was just down the road where we parked by a large stand of Eucalyptus trees which was being used by a huge number of both House (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Spanish Sparrows (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis) as a breeding site, we checked the nearby fences and puddles and soon had nice views of males of both species. We also heard Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and had a very close fly over Black Kite.
We tried to get out to a nearby disused Cortijo but as we drove along the track a Spanish Chap in a 4x4 told us that we would stuggle due to the mud, a little way on we bottled out and turned around and returned to another large Cortijo nearer to the road where we had stunning views of lots of Lesser Kestrels, three Hoopoes, a brief flight view of a Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) and my first Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) of the year.
We decided to head back to the road and on to have a look for the Bustards again, on the way we had great views of the Roller again as it fed on a roadside field.We went back to the second bridge and on a little way along the track on the far side until we were over looking a set of farm buildings, on the way we had a very nice Woodchat Shrike and a migrating Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis). On the field behind the the buildings we had much better views of the 12 Great Bustards which were wandering around in a large crop field.
We again retraced our way around to the bridge and then took the road passed the turning to the third bridge and on the a spot near a river and railway bidge where we had good views of some White Storks (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) that were on nests and feeding in the fields, we also had views of Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo). Our final stop in this area was at Laguna del la Ballestera but birds were few and far between but we did add Green (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Kentish (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) and a pair of Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos).
We decided to cut our loses in this area as the rest of the Lagoons we checked were dry and return to Fuente de Piedra where we had been a few days earlier to see if any new species had arrived, as we arrived we were soon aware of a good flock of Black Terns (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger), along with good numbers of Gull-billed and a couple of Whiskered (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus), along with Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Wood Sandpiper (Andarrios Bastardo / Tringa glareola), Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax), Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus) and Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) but nothing new for the trip list so we moved on again. This time to a spot near Molina where we were hoping for a very early arriving Rufous Bush Robin (Alzacola / Cercotrichas galactotes) but as we had expected we were far too early so we headed back to the houses.

Photographs from the top: European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Spanish Sparrow (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus), White Storks (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) and Black Tern (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger).

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