|A magnificent male Ibex Capra pyrenaica|
A little chilly as we gathered at the mirador near the old railway bridge and much of the early time was taken up watching the large family of Ibex including a magnificent male. Elena finally counted a minimum of seventeen individuals as they scramble ever nearer down the cliff face to take up a close rest on the nearby rocks. Then the first bird seen was a Song Thrush so, all being well, a good morning's birding would seem to be at hand. This was backed up when we had continuous sighting of a rather handsome male Peregrine Falcon plus the first Black Redstarts and Rock Buntings.
|Distant Peregrine Falcon Halcon Peregrino Falco perigrinus (What is he carrying?)|
|One of a few Rock Buntings Escribano Montesino Emberiza cia seen along the track|
|Here come the hundred Choughs Chova Piquirroja Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax|
More of the same as we made our way back with many Black Wheatears, Blue Rock Thrushes and Crag Martins - but the Ibex herd had moved on save for the odd individual. On the other hand, a male Great Tit was a welcome addition.
|The well-concealed male Blackcap Curruca Capirotada Sylvia atricapilla|
At this point eight of us drove through the village to the hinterland and the recently ploughed and harrowed fields in search of the local lark population. A first stop just inside the "Magpie Woods" produced both Blackbird and Mistle Thrush along with a small flock of Meadow Pipits, Chaffinch and a Robin. A few Azure-winged Magpies were noted as we drove on having spent more time at the stop looking for the magic "monkey toy" than the corvids themselves!
Once near the arable fields both Crested Larks and Corn Buntings were seen followed by a good-sized flock of Calandra Larks. Indeed, as we pulled up a single Sky Lark took to the skies and away from us whilst, apart from both House Sparrows and Spotless Starlings, a small number of Lesser Short-toed Larks were identified along with their larger cousins, the Calandar Lark.
|Record shot of the distant Little Owl Mochuelo Comun Athene noctua|
Another Kestrel and more White Wagtails seemed to sum up the morning until Steve spotted the lone Little Owl on small rocks near the road. Whilst the owl flew off before we could all get our cameras and bins out, it did return and we all managed to see this small chap. So ended a rather pleasant morning just as the cloud arrived but not before we had managed to record 35 species if you include the numerous Collared Doves seen both at the bottom and lower slopes of the climb up to the pass.
Golden Eagle, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Calandra Lark, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Sky Lark, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Blackcap, Great Tit, Southern Grey Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Chough, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Citril Finch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Rock Bunting, Corn Bunting.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.