The ten-day wait whilst I try and recover from my chest infection over Christmas, nevermind the newly-acquired eye, was finally over and I managed to get out for a couple of days birding with friends, mainly in lovely sunny weather, and also try out the new eye following my successful cataract operation just before Christmas. What frustration as I coughed away and wondered whether it would ever end but, come last Wednesday morning, I was up early and off to Casabermeja to pick up Bob and Noreen Ashford for the drive over to Osuna where we met up with Derek and Barbara Etherton and Ricky and Sonia Owen for our drive around the well-know "triangle" in search of the local Great Bustards. And successful we were, too.
|Some of us had already seen the Great Bustards Otis tarda! (PHOTO: Bob Ashford)|
|Very distant record shot of Great Bustards Avutarda Comun Otis tarda feeding alongside a Raven Cuervo Corvus corax|
A couple of Sky Larks were singing their hearts out as we then picked out Goldfinch, Sardinian Warbler and Chiffchaff before heading of along the trackbed to the the viaduct over the well-known flooded field. in amongst the Spotless Starlings we even found the odd Common Starling. Nevermind stopping to look at the pair of White Storks on the right as there were hundreds on the left! A small party of Teal were sheltering in some reed-infested grass and, on the opposite of the viaduct, a good-sized flock of Lapwing.
|White Stork Ciguena Blanca Ciconia ciconia|
Then it was the short drive over to La Lantejuela for a welcome coffee before checking out the small reserve from the road where we added Mallard, Shoveler, Gadwall, Flamingo, Moorhen, Little Grebe along with feeding Blackcap, Black Redstart, Cetti's Warbler and a number of passing Woodpigeon. Finally, as took the long drive down to Tarifa via Cadiz most were able to pick out the pair of Black-shouldered Kites and, of course, the numerous Cattle Egrets.
Suitably refreshed after a good night's sleep at Hotel la Torre we set off for a morning's visit to relatively nearby La Janda with a Buzzad watching us from a post adjacent to the car park. Not just more Buzzards but also a Little Owl on the wires and fields full of Cattle Egrets. No sooner had we arrived on the track down to the canal than we stopped to scan the overall area and noted the hundred of wintering White Storks along with the first of a good number of Cranes. The fences down to the canal produced Stonechats, Crested Larks, Corn Buntings and Linnets along with a distant quartering Marsh Harrier. Noreen even managed to see the lone Penduline Tit that just happened to alight on a fence post as we drove past.
|Hundreds of White Stork Ciguena Blanca Ciconia ciconia at La Janda|
|Successful search for the Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus (PHOTO: Bob Ashford)|
|Spanish falconer with his Gyr Falcon Halcón Gerifalte Falco rusticolus?|
|Male Hen Harrier Aguilucho Palido Circus cyaneus quartering La Janda|
Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Red-legged Partridge, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Heron, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Black-shouldered Kite, Red Kite, Griffon Vulture, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Bonell's Eagle, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Crane, Great Bustard, Black-winged Stilt, Stone Curlew, Lapwing, Sanderling, Little Stint, Dunlin, Jack Snipe, Snipe, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Back-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Sky Lark, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Dartford Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Penduline Tit, Iberian Grey Shrike, Jackdaw, Raven, Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, Sering, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information