Tuesday 20 August 2013

Sierra Loja with the Wainwrights

Looks like whilst I was checking out the local waters John and Jenny Wainwright were up the mountain, once more taking a close look at the Sierra Loja.  Only a limited time for this visit but John and jenny still seemed to find some lovely birds; birds that I have missed whilst being over in Blighty.

Sierra Loja 19th August 2013

Very hot down below (40C+) but a nice breeze up top (27C).

After the storm on Saturday evening that had laid a lot of the dust to rest, we decided to venture up the Sierra Loja again.  En route we saw Azure-winged Magpies, Blackbird and heard Bee-eaters. The cliff areas held nothing but a few juvenile Black-eared Wheatears and Stonechats.  In the tree area Short-toed Treecreepers were calling as were Great Tits.  On the flats area we saw Red-legged Partridges, Bee-eaters, a large family of Thekla Larks, lots of juvenile Stonechats plus several  juvenile and one adult Black-eared Wheatear.  Just as we were entering the next valley a Southern Grey Shrike was spotted on top of a tamarisk bush.

Black-eared Wheatear  Oenanthe hispanica (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Down in the sub-station valley more juvenile Black-eared Wheatears, a Little Owl, four Chough and more Red-legged Partridges with very small chicks in tow (maybe a second brood !!).  As we approached the Charco del Negra - we exchanged pleasantries with the Duty Security Ranger - and at the Negra we saw Crag Martins, Rock Buntings and Rock Sparrows, Linnets, a Northern Wheatear and Black Wheatear.  A few butterflies here including Striped Graylings, Pale Clouded Yellows and a few Large Whites.

Black Wheatear  Oenanthe leucura (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

Around to the "fossil cave area" where we saw more Black Wheatears, heard the Little Owl (but could not locate it) and while I was scoping for the Owl a Peregrine Falcon swooped across the valley . As we left here a party of five Choughs lifted off from the cliff face area as well as two more juvenile Black Wheatears and a beautiful Great Banded Grayling butterfly (Brintesia circe).  Back onto the track to Sierra Gordo we found - in the conifer copse - Hoopoe, Goldfinches, Spotted Flycatcher and Black Redstarts.

Striped Grayling  Pseudotergumia fidia  (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
On the return trip a Blue Rock Thrush put in an appearance, and at the cliffs we saw Crag Martins, one House Martin, a huge flock of Chough in the distance, more Black-eared Wheatears, three Spectacled Warblers, Rock Buntings and a party of some fifteen Bee-eaters. 

As we came onto the back road to Loja a Spotted Flycatcher and a Spotless Starling were noted.


Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

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