Thursday 26 September 2013

Osuna area

Up the mountain, round the lake and now out to the steppes beyond Osuna, over the birder in Sevilla Province, for John and Jenny Wainwright as they set off to find our heaviest flying bird, the Great Bustard.  An area also well-blessed with a variety of raptors, Rollers and scrub-liking birds.

Osuna Steppes: 25th September

A hot day with a slight breeze every now and then.

On the way to Osuna we saw Common Buzzard, Raven, Collared Doves, Spotless Starlings, House Sparrows and White Wagtail.  We came off at Km80 on the A92 and followed the signs for Lantejuela.  Lots of Ravens about today, a few Goldfinches, Crested Larks and more House Sparrows.

We turned off this road onto to a track that takes you to the railway bridge - from where we could scope the steppes for Great Bustards.  Along this track we found Red-legged Partridges, Willow Warblers, more Spotless Starlings, Red-rumped Swallows, Stonechats and two Southern Grey Shrikes.

Whilst I was waiting for Jenny to photograph the Shrike I spotted two Black-bellied Sandgrouse in the ploughed field - and as I was telling Jenny about them - surprise, at least six birds flew off to the far end of the field.  I tried to scope them but the heat-haze was too much.  A few Barn Swallows were seen here also, as well as several Northern Wheatears.

Northern Wheatear Collalba Gris Oenanthe oenanthe (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

Back onto the main road and on the ruined buildings we saw Rock Doves and two Lesser Kestrels.  Here we disturbed a Common Buzzard from the pylons and, while watching it circle away, we spotted a huge flock of White Storks - probably a hundred or so - some of these birds came down to land in the fields by the large railway bridge where they joined another couple of hundred which were already feeding in the field.

Common Buzzard Busardo Ratonero Buteo buteo (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
We branched off down another side track and found Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warblers, Stonechats, a Little Owl, three more Common Buzzards over the fields and a Black Kite.

Rejoining the main road again we put up a flock of some fifty Ravens that had been feeding in the olive groves to my left and to our right Jenny found a Red Fox crossing the fields then crossed the road behind us and disappeared into the olive grove.  Along this road we saw at least eight Lesser Kestrels feeding in the stubble fields and above us three Honey Buzzards circled - right in the path of the sun - which made photographing very difficult .

Red Fox Zorro Rojo Vulpes vulpes (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

On retracing our steps another two Common Buzzards were seen as well as two more Black-bellied Sandgrouse which were feeding on the track we were driving down.

Then across country to Laguna del Gosque at Martin La Jara where we saw Greater Flamingos, Barn and Red-rumped Swallows, hundreds of Common Coots, White-headed Ducks, Little Grebes, Black-winged Stilts and a Pochard.

Nothing different than already stated seen on the way home - a bit miffed not to find the Greater Bustards but "an otra dia" perhaps !!

No Great Bustards but some good sightings of both Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Lesser Kestrels and Ravens is not to be sniffed at!


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