Friday 18 April
Certainly a "Good Friday" for John and Jenny Wainwright who travelled, once again, to the summit of the Sierra Loja and managed to confirm that the Rock Thrushes have returned to their traditional breeding territory. Also Whinchat and both Northern and Black-eared Wheatear and then more and more Rock Thrushes. But had a couple of Great Spotted Cuckoos just down the road! John's very descriptive report follows:
|Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis (PHOTO: John Wainwright)|
Sierra Loja: Friday 18th April
Another very warm day but again very breezy up top.
Due to being a holiday and only bars/restaurants open we decided to go to our local patch to keep out of the way of the processions etc.
At the entrance to the Sierra´s we found Azure-winged Magpies, Stonechats, Chaffinches, Short-toed Treecreeper, Great Tits and a Blue Tit, we also found a Blackbird emulating a Woodpecker, by climbing up the tree vertically following a line of ants, which it was picking off with ease.
Gaining the main track we saw Coal Tit, Wood Pigeons, Collared Doves, Spotless Starlings and a Mistle Thrush. Up to the hidden quarry - very quiet here as we saw only Red-legged Partridges and a Stonechat, it was nice to see the Wild Tulip (Tulipa australis) in bloom again as well as the Barbary Nut flower.
|Rock Bunting Emberiza cia (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
The cliffs held a couple of Black Wheatears, Blackbirds, more Jackdaws, Sardinian Warblers, Linnets, more Rock Buntings and a few Bee-eaters. The Green Woodpecker is still calling and one of these days I will take the bottom road and find him.
At the old quarry area we saw our first Northern Wheatear of the day plus a male Black Redstart and Southern Grey Shrike.
|Ocellated lizard Timon lepidus (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
As we approached the substation valley we found Black-eared and Northern Wheatears, Thekla Larks and a few Linnets. Down in the valley a Little Owl was spotted sitting on the shepherds hut and on a rock we saw our first of the year Whinchat. A Common Kestrel and good numbers of Chough and Jackdaws about here too. Heading up towards the turbines we stopped to let one of the shepherds pass and we startled an Ocellated Lizard atop a rock. Then a Spectacled Warbler flew onto a hedgehog broom and started singing and a Meadow Pipit stopped for a quick pose.
|Whinchat Saxicola rubetra (PHOTO: John Wainwright)|
|Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
|Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solittarius (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
|Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)|
Then on to the Rio Gordo area where we found another Spectacled Warbler, Stonechats, TheklaLarks, more Northern and Black-eared Wheatears and as we approached a fir copse, two male Cuckoos flew across our front and disappeared, but one did come back and started calling in the copse. Also here we heard then found a Bonelli´s Warbler, two Woodchat Shrike, Goldfinches, House Sparrows, Rock Buntings, Mistle Thrush and across the track a Blue Rock Thrush started singing.
Nothing different seen on the way down.
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