A visit to the fields of Osuna and the Laguna's del Gobierno.
Day four with Bob Ruvolo from New York, USA.
We had breakfast at 07:00 and headed straight out on to the fields near the town looking for Great Bustards (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda). On the way out to the first bridge we recorded Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax) and then the target Great Bustards but they were on the far side of the area of fields we were watching so quite distant but OK through the scope. As we dropped down off the bridge we had a couple of Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) in the Olives and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) on the wire fencing along the railway line.
From the second and third bridge we had Red (Milano Real / Milvus milvus) and Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and slightly closer views of the Bustards. We made a quick stop just along the road to photograph a very nice Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and then took a couple of tracks out to and back from a very large semi-derelict Cortijo, on the way out we had several Willow Warblers (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and a couple of heard but not seen Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis). Around the building we saw a couple of late male Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala). On the return trip across the farside of the fields Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra) and Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) before we reached the ruin at the end of the track where I was surprised to find 10+ Garden Warblers (Curruca Mosquitera / Sylvia borin) feeding in the fig trees growing there.
Once back at the road we took the road towards La Lantejuela and had a second Little Owl on the way. In the town we stopped for lnch and got chatting to the bar owner who knew a chap that could show us around a nearby nature resever. After eating a very nice meal we headed out and met Manuel at the Laguna's del Gobierno and had a very pleasant and interesting walk around several pools on the site and learnt that all the water come from a reedbed sewage filtration system run by the local town hall. On the pools we saw Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Cattle (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), a single Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Purple Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Green (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Booted Eagle and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis). Whilst we were there we also saw a very nice Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), seeveral Lesser Emperors (Anax parthenope) and hundreds of Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
After spending a great couple of hours with Manuel we headed back to the Hotel at Huetor Tajar where I dropped Bob off before heading back home again.
Photographs from the top: Bob out on the fields in the early sun, Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), 2x Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Bob and Manuel, immature Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), adult Greater Flamingo's and Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).