18 ABS members met at Bar Las Vegas on a lovely sunny day. Our leader, Frank, gave a brief description of what he had planned for our day.
We set off along the road where Red-legged Partridge, Stone Curlew (seen by some) a Common Kestrel and at least seven Lesser Kestrels, Spotless Starlings and Blackbird was seen.
Our first stop was atop a bridge where we watched a pair of Montagu’s Harriers, a female Marsh Harrier, a Short-toed Eagle and a pair of Iberian Shrikes. Two distant Griffon Vultures were also scoped. There were quite a few Barn Swallows and a couple of Red-rumped Swallows flying below us, possibly the latter nesting under the bridge.
Next up we drove along tracks through olive groves to the sound of Corn Buntings, Goldfinches, Serins, and Zitting Cisticulas (Fan-tailed Warbler to us older ones), we stopped near a cornfield where two Collared Pratincoles gave a great flight display. In a nearby tree an Iberian Yellow Wagtail was sighted and a group of Calandra Larks and Crested Larks were feeding in some rough ground, whilst a Crested Lark sang overhead. In this area we observed a group of Ravens, surprising common in open steppe areas, and our first Booted Eagle.
Back to the road and over the bridge towards La Lantejuela, we made a picnic stop at the entrance that would take us down to the ruined farm buildings. This turned out to be a good place to get views of Spanish Sparrows chattering away and feeding young. Five Turtle Doves perched on the wires and several Alpine Swifts flew overhead. Nightingales were singing in the bushes and some noticed a Golden Oriole. From here we watched a pair of Rollers on one of the adjacent derelict farm buildings. A distant Little owl was spotted in a scope and five Honey Buzzards appeared for a while before drifting away.
On driving to the farm more Rollers were observed, along with Red-Legged Partridge and clear views of Common Buzzard and another Montagu’s Harrier. On leaving the farm Bob was able to photograph Short-toed Lark as it landed on the side of the track and more Turtle Doves were sheltering in the shade of the Olive trees.
Finally, it was a drive down the abandoned rail track, picking up more Spanish and House Sparrows, Stonechat, Iberian Shrike, Sardinian Warbler and Hoopoe.
Parking on top of the viaduct enabled us to see Lapwing, Glossy Ibis, Cattle Egret, Black-winged Stilt, Collared Pratincole, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Common and Pallid Swifts, House Martins, Barn and Red-rumped Swallows. A White Stork was feeding its young on a nest on top of a large silo.
Returning on the track a pair of Bee-eaters landed briefly on the fence and two Black Kites rested on the pylons.
Leaving the dusty track for a firmer surface some were lucky enough to have good views of the Spectacled Warblers that we had looked for earlier.
This rounded off a great days birding in good company. Thanks to Frank for his leadership and also to Bob for his contribution.
Pauline Horton. ABS Member