Whilst I managed less than an hour a the local Rio Velez, John and Jenny Wainwright were once more off on their birding travels. Today's destination was the "Osuna triangle" where they successfully recorded a number of Great Bustards as well as a variety of other birds including some fine raptors. It certainly made up for not being able to join the Axarquia Bird Group's visit on the morrow. Also good to see Jenny capturing all the photographs.
Osuna 14 January
A very pleasant day overhaul with light cloud.
Although clear on the way up to Osuna, very little bird life to record, just a few Red-legged Partridges, Collared Doves, Spotless Starlings and a Common Buzzard.
|Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
As we took the road to the "bridge" we saw several largish flocks of Spanish Sparrows, a few Crested Larks, two Southern Grey Shrikes, House Sparrows, Moorhens, a Blackbird, Chiffchaffs and Corn Buntings. Pulling off the main road onto a track we located three Great Bustards, very distant, but just nice to see them, also here were several Ravens and Red-legged Partridges.
|Distant Great Bustards Otis tarda (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
|Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
Again leaving the main road for a track taking us to the "bridge" we encountered more Spanish Sparrows and Corn Buntings, Crested Larks and Stonechats. Another Common Buzzard was seen circling overhead and a really handsomely marked male Dartford Warbler flew across the track, landed on the fence but never stayed long enough for a photo. A few White Wagtails about here as well were a male Sardinian Warbler a Southern Grey Shrike and then two Red Kites flew over.
Up and over the bridge and in the weed-filled ditches we saw Greenfinches, Goldfinches, more Spanish Sparrows and Stonechats. In the fields good numbers of Calandra Larks, one of these which fell prey to a Peregrine Falcon which left the pylons as we prepared to photograph it. We watched it land in the field and start plucking its catch. Continuing along the road we saw a few Lapwings and more Ravens were noted as was a Chaffinch.
|Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus making the most of his lunch (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
The small track to the Great Bustard area is really cut up by the tractors, so we declined that route and instead went round in the direction of Marchena to the "lake" under the new railway bridge. Here we found good numbers of White Storks as well as Ravens and Lapwings. On the water we saw three Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Lesser Black-backed and Yellow-legged Gulls the latter two scattered, on the arrival of a juvenile Marsh Harrier.
A couple of Black Kites were seen over the groves as we headed back for Lantejuala, where we diverted off to have a look over the Laguna del Gobierno. As usual the area was in lock-down so we looked over the walls and found Black-necked Grebes in Winter and Summer plumage, White-headed Ducks, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler and Common Pochard were present here, as well as about sixty Greater Flamingos. Chiffchaffs flitted about here in the tanarisks and two Lesser Kestrels quartered the fields behind us, as did a male Marsh Harrier.
|Red Kite Milvus milvus (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
On our way back in the direction of the autovia, we turned down a track into the campo and found two more groups of Great Bustards, one of seventeen and one of eleven, making a total of thirty-one overall of these magnificent birds.
|Brown Hare (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
Lots of Hares about today but only one butterfly a Bath White
|A final look at the distant Great Bustards Otis tarda (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
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