Sunday 18 June 2023

Osuna and Fuente de Piedra

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta

 Thursday 8 June

Not the best of days for our visit to the "Osuna Triangle." Having collected friend Andy Paterson from Malaga to join Derek and Barbara Etherton, Esa and myself we set off in cloudy weather with rain threatened almost immediately.  However, we made the bar on the western end of Osuna in time for coffee and breakfast before setting off down the country lane following the, abandoned, high speed rail track.  Immediately both Red-rumped and Barn Swallows with a Collared Dove to our left.  In the olive groves on our right a couple of Red-legged Partridges and the the first f the few Crested Larks and even a Short-toed Lark.  A Kestrel was overhead and then a Thekla Lark put in an appearance along with the first of the Blackbirds.

Flooded field at Fuente de Piedra

Having driven up onto the first of the high bridges over the abandoned track, we had a distant view of seven Great Bustards on the field below but the weather was rapidly closing in and we were soon back in the car as the rain started in earnest.  Time to make hasty retreat and continue on the the third bridge passing a very wet Turtle Dove.  

A very wet Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur

Over the fields we noted both Marsh Harrier and Raven and then a Woodchat Shrike on the neighbouring fence.  Both Woodpigeon and Goldfinch were added to the daily list.

Very distant Great Bustards Otis tarda in the gloom below

We did travel on a little further but it was now obvious that the rain had well and truly settled in for the day so we made the decision to return for a second coffee stop before heading back to Fuente de Piedra in the hope that the weather might be a little better upon arrival.  And what a surprise when we arrived at the latter to discover that it was dry and the rain seemed to have missed this lovely birding site.  Approaching the reserve we could not but notice that the White Storks had had a successful breeding season with their nest atop the tall chimney and then on to the flooded field on our left as we approached the car park holding scores of Avoceta accompanied by a handful of Black-winged Stilts.  Also included a quartet of Black-tailed Godwits and a single White-headed Duck.

Many of the resting Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta 

Whilst the Avocets foraged numerous House Martins and a few Barn Swallows were feeding over the water.  Behind us numerous Reed Warblers singing in the reeds but, apart form the flooded field, there was a complete lack of water apart from a very small, shallow are to the far left of the main laguna. A lone Jackdaw, Collared Dove and a hovering Kestrel as we made our way up to the mirador to check out the main laguna before heading to the hide at the back overlooking the laguneta.

House Martin Delichon urbicum

Nearing the mirador we came across a few House Sparrows the both Nightingale and Cetti's Warbler before picking out a small number of Flamingo and a resting flock of Gull-billed Terns.  The open view point to the rear gave a view of a sleeping Marbled Duck on the dried up pool below.

Once at the laguneta a few feeding Common Swifts amongst the House Martins plus a range of ducks including Mallard, Pochard, White-headed Duck and Shelduck.  Ant then we saw the pair of Marbled Duck swimming along the back of the water. Just a couple of Coot along with a MoorhenLittle Grebe and a family of Black-necked Grebes plus more Flamingos.  To complete the visit we also added both Spotless Starling and Black-headed Gull.

Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris

Making our way back to Malaga we paid an unsuccessful visit to nearby Mollina in search of the visiting Rufous Bush Chats but did record marsh harrier, Turtle Dove, Linnet, Bee-eater, Crested Lark and a few other species.  And so ended my final birding trip in Spain in readiness for my return flight to the Unite Kingdom the following morning.  Lots of great birding and excellent  company.  What a privilege to see all my Spanish friends once again.

Birds seen:

Shelduck, Mallard, Pochard, Marbled Duck, white-headed Duck, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, White Stork, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Great Bustard, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Black-headed Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, Little Owl, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Short-toed lark, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Nightingale, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet.

Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta

Avocets with a Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

Back-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus


House Martin Delichon urbicum

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