Friday 9 January
having met up with Marcus Rootes down at the Rio Velez yesterday, today I received his promised report on a little walk he had undertaken during the last week of December.
Leaving his Competa home on 27 December, Marcus started of on a walk up and through the Tejeda Parque Natural reaching altitudes between 700 and 1000 metres. Even before reaching his starting point for the walk at Casa de Mina Marcus had recorded a pair of Hoopoes and, on arriving, he soon also added wintering Blackcaps, Firecrests, Crossbills, Jays and Black Redstarts.
Carrying on towards Venta de Pradillos produced some Wood Pigeons and signs that the birds were already starting to pair up and then a male Peregrine Falcon overhead. All was now relatively quiet but approaching Pradillos Choughs were calling overhead and both Sardinian and Dartford, at least five of the latter with their distinct alarm calls, Warblers were recorded. It was also surprising to see Red Admiral, Clouded Yellow and Black-eyed Blue butterflies on the wing.
Returning on the round trip to Casa de Mina Marcus was not only greeted by Serins but also a flock of seven Siskins feeding close to the ground. A lone Alpine Accentor was seen on a rock face with a Kestrel soaring above and, as an added bonus, the first wintering Dunnock was noticed in the car park.
It strike me as difficult to pick out a "bird for the day" from this report but Alpine Accentor and Peregrine, nevermind Dartford Warbler, but do they top either a wintering Siskin or Dunnock? Your decision.