Lots of Rollers and a flock of Red-footed Falcons make for a cracking day.
Deb and Renate Day Fourteen.
Today we were up and out quite early as we had some interesting birding to get done before a lengthy drive back to the house, once we were on the road we were seeing good numbers of Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) along with smaller numbers of Red Kites (Milano Real / Milvus milvus), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra). We turned off the motorway and the first birds seen were several Rollers (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) and a couple of Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) all of which were using the very smart newish nest boxes on all the telegraph poles in the area. All along this shot stretch of road we found more Rollers, Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator).
We turned off the main road and out into the large area of agricultural, on the one side of the road there were a couple of small pools which had quite a good amount of water in them and whilst scanning them we saw Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), White Stork, Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
Further along the road we stopped at a high pointon the track and watched a male and female Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) that were quartering a roadside grass area. In the same area we had nice views of the first Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) of the day, Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) and an immature Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus) which showed well on the ground. We moved along the road stopping ocationaly to check different areas, at one of the stops I scanned down a shallow Valley to where I could see a couple of falcons zipping around hunting, the first was a smart male Lesser Kestrel but the second was a bit more of a suprise being a female Red-footed Falcon (Cernícalo Patirrojo / Falco vespertinus) which flashed around catching flying insects. Another stop delivered a distant Great Bustard (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax). At the furthest point along the track we had a couple of flocks of Spanish Sparrows (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).
We turned around and started to head for some breakfast at a garage out on the motorway, on the way back we added a couple of Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), an adult Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) which was first seen on the ground but soon took to the air as we approched and then came the big suprise of the day when we stopped to look at a flock of five falcons hoovering and hunting over a nearby ridge which we thought would be more Lesser Kestrels. When we got the bins on them they turned out to be three male and two female Red-footed Falcons, we watched these splendid birds for a short while before they drifted off behind a nearby ridge and out of sight. We continued on and had some breakfast before returning and having some more nice views of the Rollers on the road just off the motorway and another Great Bustard which showed well in a roadside field. Out on the track we added Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Black / Cinereous Vulture (Buitre Negro / Aegypius monachus) and then our second adult Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aguila Imperial Ibérica / Aguila adalberti) for the trip which soared over head for several minutes. We again turned around and started the drive back to the house via Sevilla and the A92just making a quick stop at a spot where there was a nice coloney of White Storks and later back at the house we heard and saw the local Red-necked Nightjars (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis).