Pat's away so Eric Lyon managed to get in a good day's birding resulting in almost a half-century of species recorded including Hawfinch, Cirl Bunting and two woodpecker species. If only I had known I could have joined him for a feast of small birds. Thanks for the information, Eric which is published below.
Sunday 28 January
Yesterday Jago and I went birding whilst Pat was in the UK for the weekend. We went up to Zafarraya which was fairly quiet with the usual Chough, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush etc. No raptors (not even Kestrel) or Rock Sparrows but Sardinian and Dartford Warblers plus Blackcap.
We then went across the Zafarraya plain with lots of Crested Larks, Linnet, Goldfinch and a tree full of Tree Sparrows. Over the tops we hit the fog that seems to have engulfed Granada Province as our friends discovered when they tried a few days skiing in the Sierra Nevada. So back to Robledal where the woods were full of bird song. Before I had even got to the car park (which was packed with Sunday picnickers) I had seen all the tit species, pairs of both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Firecrests, Short-toed Treecreepers and Nuthatch. Much the same nearer the car park but far enough away to be out of earshot of the hoards - again lots of the woodland species you would expect (Blue and Crested Tits were more in evidence than the rest) and this time including a small party of Wood Lark.
Better still, a close view of a pair of Hawfinch feeding on low branches and then dropping to the ground. They seem to have arrived with twenty or so Greenfinch - although that may have been co-incidental. Following the track round added Cirl Bunting and Southern Grey Shrike, lots of Corn Bunting and Common Magpie and one Kestrel. Altogether a great few hours birding and near 50 species.
But the most bizarre bird of the day was a Black Stork!! Travelling back passed Puente don Manuel a Black Stork was gliding southward just about tree height on the left of the road. Unfortunately, I could not stop as I was coming up to where the road width is reduced due to subsidence and there was traffic in both directions. But what is it doing here? An early arrival or from some park or similar?
Interesting about the Black Stork. There has been a juvenile around Laguna Dulce in November/ December and speaking with local Velez Malaga birder, Kiree this morning (29 January) he informed e that he had seen a Black Stork working its way down the Rio Velez on the same day. Sounds like the same bird to me and, presumably for whatever reason, may be the over-wintering bird that has been seen in the Campillos area.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.