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Tuesday 11 June, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light W-SW wind, 28C: After a weekend of cold NW winds, making 20C feel more like 10C, it all of a sudden felt summery. Trish, Mike and I spent a great day birding to the south-west of Gaucin. We began with a visit to the Barco Morena-Marchenilla track where, despite the close attention of swarms of tiny biting flies brought out by the warm weather, we all managed to get good views of both an adult Egyptian Vulture and a pair of Rufous Bush Robin. Along the track we also saw Booted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, European Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Tawny Pipit, Stonechat, Corn Bunting, Zitting Cisticola, Common Nightingale, Sardinian Warbler and Melodious Warbler. A look at the nearby bridge over the Rio Guadiaro produced more good views of Booted Eagle, Common Nightingale, Spotted Flycatcher and a confiding Olivaceous Warbler.

Our next stop was San Enrique wood but not before we had seen a Short-toed Eagle perched on a pylon, then giving us great views as it flew past us. At the wood we saw Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, Eurasian Jay, Woodchat Shrike, Tree Sparrow, Cirl Bunting, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Serin with Little-ringed Plover, Grey Heron, Barn Swallow, Common Swift and House Martin along the river; Turtle Dove, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Cetti's Warbler were heard.

Driving back towards San Martin de Tesorillo we had a quick stop at the bridge to look for Red-rumped Swallow but saw only a pair of Little-ringed Plover in the middle of the polo fields!

Beyond San Martin we stopped in an area where in Winter I had seen a Black-winged Kite and where a pair had been reported recently; we were not disappointed as both birds were showing well, if at a distance and through a fug of heat haze and thousands more of the dreaded flies (I have truly never experienced as many as there were there!). Here we also saw Common Buzzard. If the kites were a good, if distant, sighting then an even more distant European Roller was even better. Thanks to Wingspanner for the tip-off as I don't think I'd have seen it had I not known to look for it! At the nearby railway bridge we counted at least 10 Lesser Kestrel from the colony there.

The remainder of the afternoon we spent in and around Castillo de Castellar with sightings of Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, nesting Lesser Kestrel, some with chicks, more Bee-eater and a pair of Golden Oriole (sadly, me only); Bonelli's Warbler and Iberian Chiffchaff were heard.

As we drove back to Gaucin the temperature in San Pablo de Buceite registered 34C; there was no doubt that Summer had arrived.

Abysmal record shot of the Black-winged Kites!
male Lesser Kestrel
Castillo de Castellar from Guadarranque viewpoint

Guadarranque Reservoir

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