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Thursday 23 May, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light W wind, 24C: A second day's birding with Pat and Kev and much improved weather over last Saturday! As I went to get the car I heard a Crossbill singing in a Cipress tree in the old builder's yard on Calle Convento - interestingly it was a female; they do sing, but infrequently. Our first stop was in the Haza de la Beata area between Barca Moreno and Marchenilla with the target bird Rufous Bush Robin. Despite spending nearly three hours up and down the track we only caught a couple of brief glimpses as individuals darted out of the undergrowth for a quick feed on the ground. We did, however, have some superb raptor sightings with the highlight being stunning views of an adult Egyptian Vulture; other species seen included Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Common Buzzard, Honey Buzzard (still a few passing through), Peregrine, Lesser Kestrel, Raven, White Stork, Turtle Dove, Common Cuckoo, European Bee-eater, Spotless Starling, Stonechat, hundreds of Common Swift, Tawny Pipit, Crested Lark, Nightingale, Zitting Cisticola, Melodious Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap and Corn Bunting. We also saw Red Fox, Rabbit and a Weasel.

After a quick bar stop to drink some hand-squeezed orange juice in the home of Andalucian orange production we moved on to San Enrique Wood where we picked up several Tree Sparrow and Spotted Flycatcher; along the river Booted Eagle, Kingfisher and Little-ringed Plover; Cetti's Warbler was heard. A short visit to the lagoon at Torreguadiaro was unproductive other than a brief view of a Purple Swamp Hen - the reeds have grown so tall the water is now virtually unviewable. At the bridge over the Rio Guadiaro we saw Red-rumped Swallow and Barn Swallow and a fledgling Serin being fed. It was now 28C with a nice cooling breeze.

We drove back to Gaucin via the Secadero-Casares track where we stopped above the river and had great close views of Booted Eagle and also saw Grey Heron, Little-ringed Plover, Woodchat Shrike, Olivaceous Warbler and lots of Crested Lark. At the water's edge and beside a couple of small puddles half-a-dozen Linnet took the opportunity to drink and bathe, including one male in striking summer plumage its red breast shining bright in the sun. By now the wind had picked up appreciably and it made for difficult viewing so we moved on spotting a further four Honey Buzzard heading North.

Our final stop was on the Casares-Gaucin road opposite Sierra Crestellina where we were treated to some wonderful aerobatic displays by a pair of Bonelli's Eagle that seemed to be oblivious to the chick flapping in their nest! What a great way to end a lovely day's birding.

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