Friday, 17 April 2015

Sierra Loja with John and Jenny

Friday 17 April

Just the one day to go back here in the UK and, all being well, I shall pay a final visit to Rutland Water in the morning.  Just a s well as come Sunday we will be on the early morning flight back to Malaga and, just be coincidence, we are due for our first rain later that day!   Meanwhile, I have just received a report from John and Jenny Wainwright who have spent some of today up in the Sierra Loja reporting that not only is the weather back in Spain improving but they have seen the first Rock Thrush of the year.  Definitely something, therefore, to wan make me rush back home.

Sierra Loja 17 April

Nice to be back in the sunshine and out of the wind.  A small report from the above site and included our journey back from Trabuco and the male Montagu´s Harrier was seen quartering the field just below the newly planted olive trees.  And the Eagle Owl was in the bottom cave.  Three Rock Thrushes seen today, all in different areas all displaying well.

Male Blue Rock Thrush Monticola torquata (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
It was a very warm day, even at the top of the Sierra Loja.

Male Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis  (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

After finishing our business in Trabuco we passed through the area of the hundred pipes seeing en route Blackcap, Yellow Wagtail, Wren, Crested Tit, Coal Tit, Blackbird, Nightingale, Sparrowhawk and Great Tit.  Then, as we approached the village of Venta del Rayo, it was nice to see that the male Montagu´s Harrier has returned.

Then on to Sierra Loja, where entering the woodland area by the Guardia Civil station we found Greenfinch, Spotless Starling, and Collared Dove.  We parked up by the old shepherds hut and here we saw Mistle Thrush, Serins, Greenfinches, Short-toed Treecreeper, Chaffinches, Wood Pigeon and Blackbirds.

Moving on to the hidden quarry a few Linnets came off the track from their dust bath, and looking up I found the Eagle Owl was in its usual area.  It stayed for a while then hid itself behind a bush.  We waited to see if it would appear again but not in the time we were there.  So we continued on up the tree line - the foresters were still moving the pines out today, but passing them we saw Wren, Great Tits, Blackbirds, Rock Bunting and Azure-winged Magpies.  A Woodlark was heard singing to our right - down the slope - but we couldn´t locate it.

Look carefully and you will find the distant Eagle Owl Bubo bubo (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Up to the cliff areas where we heard the Green Woodpecker, and saw Chough, Jackdaws, Crag Martins, Thekla Larks, Hoopoe, Stonechats, Black-eared and Black Wheatears.  Nothing different on the way to the pond area, where we picked up Rock Sparrows, House Sparrows, another few Crag Martins, Linnets, Black-eared Wheatears, a Black Redstart, Spotless Starlings and another Rock Bunting. 

Rock Bunting Emberiza cia (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
Along now to the cave area and beyond.  Here we saw  more Black Wheatears, another Hoopoe, then our target bird was spotted displaying above the cliffs; the Rock Thrush is back.  As he landed from his aerial display a pair of Black Wheatears chased him off and as they we chasing about.  A Blue Rock Thrush came and settled on a pinnacle to their right.  To the left of us, in the bushes, a Woodchat Shrike was calling and looking at a movement below it an Orphean Warbler was spotted and a Little Owl was calling.  So  travelling over to the Sierra Gordo area we found a Northern Wheatear, then another Rock Thrush was seen displaying and on an old aerial mast a Blue Rock Thrush was noted. A small charm of Goldfinches, Chaffinches, another Hoopoe, another Northern Wheatear and more Rock Buntings were seen here.

Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
As we dropped back down the mountain a Spectacled Warbler was seen singing from a bush top, another Woodchat Shrike was seen close by and last, but not least, a Southern Grey Shrike was the last entry in my log.

Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis  (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
 Great report John and something to look forward to as soon as I get home.

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

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