Sunday, 24 May 2015

Back home with John & Jenny Wainwright

Roller  Carraca Europea Coracias garrulus
Sunday 24 May

Whilst the rest of our little group was travelling home from Punta Umbria on Thursday, John and Jenny Wainwright stayed another night to give them more time in the Donana National Park.  It seemed like a great idea at the time but then an earlier email from John on their travails and woes gave an unwanted insight to the perils of birding in the area during the main festival at El Rocio.

All photographs courtesy
John Wainwright.

Birding Trip Day 5: Osuna 22nd May 2015
A hot day but clouded over later.
We started off for the Valverde Centre and all was OK until we turned off at El Rocio.  We had wanted a coffee here but the place was crawling with Guardia Civil and masses of people.  We could park up the road for 5 Euros and walk back but we decided to head out towards Villa de Condessa.   Part ways along this road we were stopped by the Guardia again and asked where we were going, so I explained where and he said just be careful there are lots of people about. 

Little Owl Mochuelo Comun Athene noctua
Moving along the road where all the "road humps" are, we were stopped again and told to pull off the road, as the Romero was about to cross.  We waited here for about half an hour and I then went to a Guardia officer and asked when he thought we could carry on to Condessa.  He replied that the road was closed for today and we should turn round and find and alternative route.  Heading back I picked up a massive screw in my tyre, so we headed for Almonte to try for a repair.  Just as we got to the autovia exit slip road the tyre went flat.  Anyhow we got it fixed and decided to cut our losses and head for Osuna which we reached about 15.30.

Black-shouldered Kite Elanio Comun Elanus caeruleus
Coming off at km80 we  headed for Lantejuela and just past the polygono area atop a mast sat a Black-shouldered Kite.  Also here were Collared Doves, Crested Larks and a few House Sparrows.  The area was alive with Black Kites, they were sitting on every conceivable place, even the rock piles in the fields (as was the case when we called last Sunday and counted over an hundred).  As we passed over a road bridge we spotted a male Montagu´s Harrier, then a couple of Ravens lifted off the field to our right.  A few Wood Pigeon clattered out of an olive grove and we then spotted a Red-legged Partridge.  No signs of Great Bustard were seen as we traversed the fields, although we did see Hoopoe, Thekla Larks, heard Calandra Larks and the a few Turtle Doves were spotted.

Part of the huge flock of Black Kites Milano Negro Milvus migrans

We picked up the track to the farmhouse and at the "dovecote", on the sign, sat a Roller.  More Black Kites over the stubble fields here and as we approached the farmhouse four more Rollers came out of the olive grove.
At the farmhouse we noted Lesser Kestrels, a Little Owl, Turtle Doves, Collared Doves, Hoopoes, Ravens, Crested Lark and a Red-legged Partridge with at least seven chicks.  As we came back to gain the metalled road again, Spanish Sparrows were having dust baths and a Cetti´s Warbler and Nightingale were heard here.

Spanish Sparrows Gorrion Moruno Passer hispaniolensis

Heading for the railway bridge, more Ravens, a few Linnets, Black Kites, a Buzzard, Bee-eaters and yet more Turtle Doves were seen.  Getting onto the track that runs alongside the railway track, we saw Cattle Egrets, Spanish Sparrows, Corn Buntings, White Wagtail, a Brown Hare put in a fleeting appearance as did thirty or more Rabbits and a pair of Stonechats.  Gaining the road again I spotted a movement in a field to our right where we picked up a male Great Bustard.  While over the corn-field, Red-rumped and Barn Swallows, Common Swifts and House Martins were noted.

At last, a Great Bustard Avutarda Comun Otis tarda
A fitting end to a great birding trip.

Trust John to end up with all the excitement - but I bet he and Jenny wished they had not!

The lovely, delicate Turtle Dove Tortola Europea Streptopelia turtur

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