Apart from avoiding Ryanair's 'service' to Jerez, the great thing about taking Easyjet's early morning flight from Gatwick to Seville with Easyjet is that it got us to Seville Airport around mid-day. This gave us you plenty of time to detour towards Osuna/Lantejuela for those few birds harder or impossible to get in Cadiz Province;Black-bellied Sandgrouse and both bustards. Previously, I'd headed east from the airport on the A4 Cordoba road and turned south (c28 km west of Carmona) on minor roads to Fuentes de Andalucia and then on to La Lantejuela. In late spring/summer I've had several Rollers along these back roads, but without this inducement I decided to try a new, possibly faster route made possible by a short section of the new southern bypass that's actually been finished. (When it's all done – 2014? 2015? Never? -this will be a great route down to Cadiz, to the Coto and over toPortugal). So we turned off south from the A4 six km east of the airport to get onto A92 Granada motorway (c8 km) which passes close to Osuna. As planned we came off at Exit 80, but instead of going into Osune we as we took the minor road beside the Bar Restaurante Las Vegas (good Menu del Dia for 9€). Skirting a small industrial estate to the left we soon started running parallel to the
Granada – Seville railway.
Our target here was Black-bellied Sandgrousea small flock of which had been seen here before Christmas – a long shot as they're very scarce in the area. So off we trotted down the poor track across open farmland in the hope of a small miracle! The ploughed field to the right didn't look ideal, but the field to left- large open, weedy and stony did! It's needle-in-haystack experience and I wasn't optimistic, but about 100m along the track I caught sight of four tubby birds zooming towards me. Even before I clapped the bins on them I knew that they were sandgrouse. They shot over above the track, dropped, flew low to the ground and 'went to earth' on the far side of the field. The instant they grounded they blended in perfectly and disappeared. Good flight views – pale sandy above and a bold black tummy below. Result! Not a bad half day in the field!