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Thursday 24 April 2014, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light-fresh NW wind, 20C

This morning Tim and I met at 0800hrs for a trip down to the Casares-Secadero track that runs alongside the Rio Genal/Guadiaro. We stopped en-route at the bridge over the Rio Genal below Gaucin to look for Golden Oriole but they were nowhere to be seen nor heard.
Next we stopped at the layby that affords good views of the Bonelli's Eagle nest on Sierra Crestellina; whilst there we talked to a local resident who suggested that the reason that the Bonelli's Eagles haven't nested this year may be because they were disturbed early in spring by workmen clearing scrub below the nest site - a real shame, if that's the case. We saw several Griffon Vulture and a couple of Booted Eagle that were being mobbed by a pair of Common Raven; also Common Kestrel, Crested Lark and Stonechat.
There were quite a few species along the track itself, including a small 'kettle' of 3x Short-toed Eagle and 3x Booted Eagle. Also seen were Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Turtle Dove, Woodchat Shrike, European Bee-eater, Common and Pallid Swift, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Tawny Pipit, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Stonechat, some lovely summery-looking Linnet, Cirl Bunting and Corn Bunting. Along the Rio Genal there was a Little Egret, Grey Heron, at least 10 Little-ringed Plover and a couple of Common Sandpiper. Further towards Secadero we stopped again to scan the river and found at least 15 Common Sandpiper and several more Little-ringed Plover; there were a handful of European Bee-eater flying in and out of nest holes on the river bank and plenty of birdsong, mostly Common Nightingale, but it was generally fairly quiet.
We scanned recently-ploughed fields for Yellow Wagtail without success then, as we made a final check of a farm track, Tim spotted a lovely male Ortolan Bunting that gave us good but brief views before flying off into the adjacent field. What a great end to the trip!

Turtle Dove

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