Friday, 8 July 2016

Osuna with John and Jenny

6 July 2016

Good to see that there is still birding taking place back in Andalucia despite the summer heat as witnessed by John and Jenny Wainwright's latest venture, this time to the steppes of Osuna.  Thunderstorms with any wet seem a poor substitute when rain is much need but at least we have entered a drier spell back in the UK - until it rained (again) last night!

Osuna: Wednesday 6 July

A very hot day, but becoming clammy in the afternoon.

An early start as we wanted to call in at Mollina to the boot-market there, only Collared Doves and Spotless Starlings till then, but a few more specials on the continuation trip. These included Common Buzzard, a male Montagu´s Harrier and Black Kite.  Also seen were Jackdaws, Azure-winged Magpies, Common Kestrel and yet more Collared Doves and Spotless Starlings.
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Coming off at km80 on the A92 we made our way to the second road bridge, where we hoped to pick up the Great Bustards - alas, not today! We did, however, see a very bedraggled Short-toed Eagle, a few Red-legged Partridges, House Sparrows, Barn and Red-rumped Swallows.

Moving on to the track that runs parallel to the railway line we spotted Spanish Sparrows, a couple of Iberian Grey Shrikes, Stonechats were in good numbers as were Crested Larks.  A nice surprise were the two Melodious Warblers that perched on the railway line fence, but flew across into the olive grove and out of sight.  As we started off again three Collared Pratincoles appeared but disappeared over the grove, but further along the track we did see a few more of the latter, but again they flew away into the distance.  Our first Ravens of the day were then spotted, plus more Black Kites and Red-rumped Swallows, and as we pulled up at the "T" junction a group of Calandra Larks came off of the field here and a Zitting Cisticola was logged.
Hoopoe Upupa epops (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
We decided to head across country to try to spot the Great Bustards but again no luck, although more Calandra and Crested Larks were seen as well as two Linnets, Goldfinches and Greenfinches.
Back on the tarmac road for a minute then turned off along the Verde de Alamillo track, heading for the "roller" ruins.  Lots more Ravens about also Black Kites but the over-riding thing on this section of the trip was the noise of the cicadas, it was a pleasure when we got to the ruins and in the open.  As we approached the farmhouse ruins we spotted two Rollers on one of the sections and another on a roof apex, but as we slowly neared them they took flight.  Good numbers of Lesser Kestrels - we counted at least ten of them, a few Jackdaws, Rock Doves, two Common Kestrels and a group of seven Hoopoes.  We had our lunch here parked in the entrance to one of the sheds to give us a bit of shade and hopeful in the return of the Rollers, no luck, but when we started around the ruins we did spot at least six Rollers - some perched, some hawking the fields for food and one bird was hopping across the huge thistle stalks, occasionally dropping down for a bug and then back up to a different perch each time.
Roller Coracias garrulus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

We retraced our steps back along the track to the new "roost building" where we came upon another two Rollers and a Lesser Kestrel and just past here in a fig tree we spotted a Woodchat Shrike.  Lots of very high raptors and Ravens about as we again joined the tarmac road heading in the direction of Marchena.
Ravens Corvus corax (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Along the power lines we noted more Iberian Shrikes, Common Buzzards, Ravens, Lesser Kestrels and two Bee-eaters.  And as we passed the large railway viaduct four White Storks were noted.  While in a tree close to the new railway bridge four Black Kites flew off and on the other side of the road another was seen perched.  As we got near the village of Lantejuela a Booted Eagle put in an appearance - another bird in moulting plumage.
Roller Coracias garrulus with Jackdaw Corvus monedula illustrating their shared size (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Nothing any different on the journey home, but a good day out all the same.

It certainly sounds as if you had a gereat day's birding despite not recording any Great Bustards.  Certainly lots of raptors compare to our single species at Rutland Water on the same day.

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

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