Friday, 5 December 2014

Sierra Loja with John and Jenny

Friday 5 December

Just received a report from John and Jenny Wainwright who ventured up to the top of the Sierra Loja on Wednesday in search of Ring Ouzel and Alpine Accentors.   Whilst I was making my way back home to Lake Vinuela in calm, light cloud and a little sunshine, it would appear that conditions were not so favourable on the top even, as John states, he was able to look down upon a sunny Salar well below him!

Wednesday 3 December

Blimey, that was cold up there with that wind.  It was so strange to look down from the sierras onto our village - which was bathed in sunshine - while the windscreen wipers were going full belt up here.  Still one has to bear small knocks to gain the rewards, which the Alpine Accentors and Ring Ouzels brought us.. the thrushes seem to be very thin on the ground though!

A very chilly day with rainy intervals.

A bright, but cloudy sky saw us on the way up to our favourite destination in the Sierra Loja´s.   A few Spotless Starlings, Collared Doves and House Sparrows, Great Tits, Chaffinches, a large flock of some forty or so Meadow Pipits, Goldfinches and a Blackbird were seen before ascending the main mountain track.  It is nice to see the small Spanish Lilea out again for the winter.

A small charm of Goldfinches Carduelis carduelis (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
The forestry men were still here today, and very little - bar a Wood Pigeon - was seen at the tree line, and even at the cliffs the area was silent - not even the raucous cry of a Jackdaw and here it started raining slightly.

It wasn´t until we got to the old working quarry that our next sighting took place, which was of a male Sparrowhawk, hugging the contours of the mountain - looking for lunch probably.  Then a male Black Redstart, and while we were watching him a Booted Eagle was noted circling aloft. 

The pond area was quiet also and the temperature had dropped to 3C with a biting wind but as we progressed along to the Fossil Cave a huge number of Rock Sparrows - we counted over one hundred - were seen flitting from the newly harrowed meadow across to the rocky slopes on our left and back again.  One Corn Bunting and several female Black Redstarts were about here also.  At the cave itself six Black Wheatears, Stonechats, Thekla Larks and Goldfinches were noted - but at least the rain had stopped for the moment.

Male Ring Ouzel Turdus torqatus (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
As we moved on - the hawthorn bushes which still had masses of berries on - it wasn´t until we had gone another kilometre or so that we picked up our first Ring Ouzel then, like the proverbial "Red Buses", they came in profusion; well, eight of them anyhow.  Further along we picked up another ten birds along with a male Blackbird, a family of Rock Buntings, five Chaffinches and another Great Tit.  A trilling sound and eleven Alpine Accentors flew over but landed out of sight - all except one which only stayed for about thirty seconds before disappearing in the direction of the rest of the flock, not to be seen again.

More Ring Ouzels  (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
Retracing our steps we flushed a Song Thrush and a couple more Ring Ouzels (probably the same birds as before) from the bushes as we stopped for a cup of tea.  While Jenny was brewing up I found a group of Chough feeding in the valley and two Little Owls were calling to each other.

Little Owl  Athene noctua (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

Over to Sierra Gorda and again the birdlife was virtually non-existent, the odd Goldfinch, a Mistle Thrush and a Southern Grey Shrike was the sum total there and as we descended to the substation valley we located a Little Owl and a few red-legged Partridges.  So down to the hidden quarry where three Dartford Warblers, a Sardinian Warbler and several more Stonechats were noted.  Two Azure-winged Magpies were seen as we exited the mountain and down into the sunshine.

So, it looks as if the Ring Ouzels are still about so I think a visit might be on the agenda for next week!  And jenny, what a cracking shot of the male Ring Ouzel.

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

No comments:

Post a Comment