Friday, 21 February 2014

Osuna area and Laguna Dulce with John and Jenny

All the latest from John and Jenny Wainwright on their latest birding expedition.

Osuna area and Laguna Dulce:  18th February

Very misty to start, then sun, then rain.   We started off from home (Salar) at 8am with it being a very foggy morning, this was with us until well after Antequera, regardless of this, enroute we managed to see Blackbirds, House Sparrows, and a couple of Ravens flew parallel with us. Several Buzzards were seen atop pylons and on the power lines Collared Doves, Spotless Starlings and Wood Pigeons.  Just prior to turning off the autovia at km80 we saw a group of five Ravens, a Common Kestrel and superb views of a male Sparrowhawk as he flew across the autovia.

Crested Lark  (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

After breakfast we headed for the "new railway bridge" and in the fields and groves alongside the road leading to the latter we found Red-legged Partridges, Crested Larks, large flocks(or charms) of Goldfinches, Linnets and Meadow Pipits.  Corn Buntings were seemingly everywhere, as were Ravens - well over twenty in this short journey - Buzzards, Common Kestrels and Spotless Starlings.  As we were scanning for Pintails a male then a female Marsh Harrier  came into view - alas, the Pintails were not to be found anywhere.  Lots of Stonechats and at least six Southern Grey Shrikes, a Hoopoe, a female Black Redstart (the only one of the day as it turned out) and a Zitting Cisticola was just caught a glimpse of as we reached the bridge.
Going over the bridge and stopping just over the top, Jenny spotted a Red Kite sitting in a tree across the field from us, it then flew behind the old ruin here - in doing so putting up the Rock Doves perched on it, as well as a large flock of starlings which were settled in the bare tree behind the ruin - several of these turned out to be Common Starlings, the Red Kite disappeared from view.

Common Starling (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

We then headed for Vereda del Alamillo, across three fields we spotted two large white birds, they were a couple of Egyptian Vultures preening.  In the bushes lining the track we found Blackcaps, Stonechats and Chaffinches.  Another Sparrowhawk was seen skimming over the olive grove and a couple more Rock Doves flew out of the barns at the end of the track.  Two more Ravens were spotted at their nest site and a Lesser Kestrel emerged from one of the old buildings.  Driving back to the  "new railway bridge" a single Barn Swallow was seen over the catchment pond.

Egyptian Vultures (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

Continuing on from the latter we turned along the road to Marchena along here in the flooded fields we saw White Storks, Grey Heron, Black-headed, Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Red and Black Kites, Buzzard, Ravens, and Meadow Pipits, also here were Barn swallows, Crag and House Martins.  As we moved off another two White Storks landed on the pylons and a male Marsh Harrier was seen.

Common Buzzard (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

We now moved on to the laguna at Lantejuela - the Laguna de Gorbieno (or something like that) - the hides were shut but we could just see into the laguna from the side of the hide.  Here we saw Black-necked and Little Grebes, Shovelers, Mallards, Gadwall, Coots, Moorhens, Cetti´s Warbler, Serins, Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls, Black-winged Stilts, White-headed Ducks, Black Redstart and two more Southern Grey Shrikes.  On the way across country to Laguna Dulce, Jenny spotted a Stone Curlew in amongst the olive trees, when we stopped to get photos, at least thirty birds either flew or ran off, a Mistle Thrush was seen here also.

Stone Curlew (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

Laguna had stopped raining for a while and a large rainbow lay across the back of the lagoon,and the water was only fifteen foot or so from the access road.  We did however see here Red-crested and Common Pochard, Gadwall, Shovelers, Mallard, Lapwing, Black-winged Stilts and plenty of Coots.  In the distance we found at least two hundred Common Cranes feeding at the edge and among the olive groves, and at the rear of the lagoon we found two Purple Swamphens, Black-necked, Great Crested and Little Grebes, White-headed Ducks and a Grey Heron. Good numbers of hirundines namely Barn Swallow, Crag and House Martins.  The reed beds held Goldfinches, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Cetti´s and Sardinian Warblers and a Blackbird.

White Stork (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
 It was coming over quite dark now and it was getting very chilly so we made our way home, a long day - ten hours - but well worth it.
Linnets (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
What a report, John.   As you say, long day but lots of great sightings to give you that "satisfied" feeling.

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