Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Osuna area with John and Jenny

The heatwave continues and my great friend Andy reports very little at the Guadalhorce, especially in terms of waders, but John and Jenny Wainwright have been over to the steppes near Osuna in Seville province in the hope that they, too, might get some good sightings and photos of our small resident population of Great Bustards.  Judging by John's report below the answer would seem to be mixed; sightings but photo opportunities.  On the other hand, lots of Rollers and raptors about and there is some beautiful countryside, especially the hidden lake at Martin de la Jara.

Osuna area 16th July 2013
Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus

[All photos by Jenny Wainwright]

A very hot day with the strong warm breeze.

We came off the A92 (Sevilla-Granada autovia) at km80 and headed for Lantejuela, en route seeing Crested Lark, Stonechats and Buzzards.  A single Roller surprised us when it leapt off a road sign and there were a few Bee-eaters about.

Instead of keeping to the main road we cut across country and found several Southern Grey Shrikes and their numerous offspring, a small family of four Common Kestrels, Calandra Larks, Red-legged Partridges, Red-rumped and Barn Swallows, Turtle Doves, Collared Doves, House Sparrows and just prior to one of the many bridges in this area Jenny spotted three Great Bustards flying.

Cicada Cigarra   Family:Cicadidae
We saw a Junta Andalucia sign saying " Vereda del Alamillo", so we decided to investigate.  We have never seen so many cicadas in my life; there were thousands of them and the noise was ear-shattering.  They were hitting the car, coming in the car windows and hours afterwards we were letting them out of the car.  Anyhow I digress, along this track we came across a largish group of raptors consisting of Griffon Vultures, a Booted Eagle, four Red Kites and over forty Black Kites.  Several Ravens were around here as well as two Common Buzzards.

After the raptors had dispersed we drove up to a derelict farm where we saw Stock Doves, another Black Kite, Cattle Egrets and several Lesser Kestrels.  Also here we found fourteen Rollers, including a good number of juveniles.  We hung around for an hour for photos but they were constantly on the move, over the newly cut cornfields, and photos were few and far between.

Juvenile Roller Coracias garrulus
We retraced our route back onto the main road, passing a group of some eleven Lesser Kestrels on the pylons and looking over the meadows we found three White Storks and lots of Cattle Egrets, feeding amongst a herd of cattle.  Also along this road we saw another small group of four flying Great Bustards - none on the ground today, mind you there is a lot of harvesting going on.

We left Osuna area and headed for Martin de la Jara and the Rio Blanco, here we found Hoopoe, Little Ringed Plovers, Black-winged Stilts, Corn and Rock Bunting, Coots, Moorhen, Hoopoe, Bee-eaters, Ravens, Goldfinches, Common Swift and House Martins.

We called in at Laguna Dulce but very quiet here, although we did get Purple Swamphen, Greater Flamingos, Coot, Moorhen, White-headed Duck, Pochard, Lapwings, Reed Warbler and Cetti´s Warbler.

On return journey to Salar, an Otter was seen in one of the small water-courses and a ring-tail Montagu's Harrier was noted.

Great report John and it certainly sounds as if you both had a great day's birding. 

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

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