Having watched a pair of Western Olivaceous Warblers (Isabelline Warblers) feeding on the growing vines outside the kitchen window yesterday evening, I decided that, perhaps, a day in the mountains was called for. However, having gone back to bed I found myself leaving Casa Collado a good two hours later than intended! Nevertheless, a good start with Sardinian Warblers in the drive and House Sparrows and House Martins as I drove through Los Romanes. Approaching the bottom road at the lake a pair of Red-rumped Swallows flew over the car and then I was on my way to the start of the mountain track up into the Sierra Tejeda from Alcaucin.
First Collared Doves then Barn Swallows and I thought I was in for some good birds. But that was it! The lower picnic site arrived and a good walk round managed to locate a single Blue Tit, a small family of Crossbills and a lone Blackbird. Even the human front was missing. So, onwards and upwards where I did come across a small number of Common Swifts and eventually recorded Rock Bunting and Chaffinch before reaching the main road at the top. On the other hand, once past the huge pile of bark chippings that still remain on the track above the lower picnic site, I noted that the surface has been regraded leaving a most splendid camino which, never mind 4 x 4's, is perfectly safe for your ordinary saloon car. No longer the excitement of crossing the ravines in the track near the top where a considerable amount of crushed stone has been applied and rolled. Indeed, I have seen far worse "proper" roads in the area than the present mountain track.
A quick drive via the "Muck Heap" (no longer there and still fenced off) to the "Magpie Woods" provided a Greenfinch on the return journey along with a handful of Spotless Starlings. The old railway track at Ventas de Zafarraya was not much better even if I did see a couple of Black Wheatears and more than a handful of Crag Martins plus a Serin. Thank goodness for a small charm of Goldfinches.
The return journey back up the mountain to Casa Collado produced the expected Thekla Larks and, once again, the Bee-eaters were busy overhead.
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