Friday, January 18, 2019

Another day Inland in Great Bustard Country

Thursday 17th was less favorable to us, compared with last Tuesday, and when we arrived in Corral Rubio the temperature was only 3 degrees with a cold wind.  We took a different approach to how we worked this area and making Higueruela our last stop of the day.  Our other main points of interest are the areas around Bonete, Corral Rubio and Petrola and this is how we progressed our journey.  We know this area well and we have had successful visits many times. We have seen Little Bustards here before and this species, together with Bramblings, were two of our possible targets.
Turning from A31 at Bonete we saw over one hundred birds perched on the cables between pylons on the approach to the local cemetery.  These were a number of Linnets, Rock Sparrows with some Starlings.

A little later we were able to watch, close by, several Lapwings and were able to appreciate fully this beautiful bird.  Areas of small bushes always yield something and there were Stonechats, Black Redstarts, the odd Southern Grey Strike, a Sardinian Warbler and a male Dartford Warbler.
Small birds apart, we were soon viewing nineteen Great Bustards at a reasonable distance.  It was easy to distinguish the larger male birds and the not so big females and Juveniles.  We always enjoy seeing them and as we traversed the caminos we had other great views too.  Later on we saw three strung out groups of 53 Great Bustards and our total for the day was 72.

In past years, wet areas with adequate lagoons, have provided us with waders and ducks.  We know from our recent visits that previously wet areas do not exist.  There has been a lack of rain for the last few winter and it is dry there  It is no good banging on about it as that is the way it is.
Lagunas de Petrola was almost devoid of wildlife as reported in previous blogs. 2 Shelduck and a few Yellow legged Gulls were all there is to report, Not one Greater Flamingo or any other Duck.
The signs are not good in this area for this spring migration, as it is a main stopping in off / refueling place for the migrating birds, they maybe in trouble this year?

 Higueruela was cold and grey and yielded Mistle Thrush and two Tree Creepers.  That's not a good return, but that is what we found.

We always prefer to finish on a positive note and what we saw was wonderful.  Those Great Bustards, are just that, great!  Raptor wise it was left to several Common Buzzards and over a dozen Marsh Harriers and Kestrels.

 On a grey and chilly afternoon we headed for home feeling still optimistic about future visits.  It's a massive area to drive through and around and there is always something good to see.
Cheers Bryan

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