Saturday, 2 May 2015

Sierra Loja with John and Jenny

Saturday 2 May

Up to my proverbials as we try and complete the house sale having already signed the contract and moved in to the house on the coast.  No Internet connection yet so back up the mountain to Casa Collado to try and keep up to date for these, hopefully few, remaining days.  Thank goodness for John and Jenny Wainwright's birding adventures as they are certainly helping me to keep my sanity.  Still, come Monday I shall be off down to the Guadlahorce to meet a Finish contact for a morning's birding, then back here to do the write up.  Just before leaving for Malaga on Thursday last, Mari reported that it was snowing and that the Bullfinches were making the most of the berries still left on the bushes.  Just reached 31C in the shade here!

Sierra Loja: 1st May 

A hottish day (29C) with a good breeze at the top of the mountain.

As today was the "Romero", we decided to pop up the Sierra Loja´s for a few hours to keep out of the way.
As we stopped to get the cameras and binos ready, a Spotted Flycatcher perched just to our front, also about 
here were Collared Doves, Serins, Spotless Starlings, Blackbirds and House Sparrows.
Little Owl Athene noctua (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

Passing under the autovia bridge and parking up we spotted Mistle Thrush, Wood Pigeon, Chaffinches, Azure
-winged Magpies and Coal Tit, plus a quick view of a dark-phased Red Squirrel.

Up to the hidden quarry where we failed to find the Eagle Owl, but two walkers and their dog, did put up three 
Spanish Ibex. Also about were Barn Swallows, Crag and House Martins, Sardinian Warblers and a couple of 

Stonechat Saxicola torquatus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

The tree line held nothing that we hadn´t seen, so we moved on up to the cliff areas, here we found Chough, 
Jackdaws, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear and Rock Bunting.

As we climbed higher we spotted - down below - the "Romero", making its way to its site at Vento del Rayo 
and here we picked up Thekla Larks, Red-legged Partridges, a very vocal Spectacled Warbler and a Black-eared 

Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicilata (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

So onto the sub-station valley, where a Little Owl was noted "hiding" in a tamarisk tree, a Hoopoe was seen 
in the old bare tree and more Chough and Thekla Larks feeding in the clearings.

Moving along to the ponds and here the first bird was Rock Thrush, then three Black-eared Wheatears, Linnets,
another Hoopoe and then a Blue Rock Thrush emerged from off the ground, displacing the Rock Thrush, which 
headed over to the rock face and started displaying there. While on the cliff top a Chough landed disturbing a 
small flock of Rock Sparrows and two Rock Buntings, a single Common Swift and a few House Martins were 
the only hirundines about here.

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
So round to the "fossil cave" area, where another Black Wheatear was spotted along with more Rock Sparrows, 
Spotless Starlings, Blue Rock Thrush and Black-eared Wheatear.  A Hoopoe was calling here but I couldn´t find it,
but, I did find a Wren and a Blackbird.

Going over to the Sierra Gordo region we located a Woodchat Shrike, two more Mistle Thrushes and more 
Rock Sparrows.  Lots of Goldfinches about as well as Linnets, Chaffinches, Thekla Larks, Black-eared Wheatears, 
a Blue Rock Thrush and another displaying Rock Thrush. While we were watching the latter a Griffon Vulture 
sailed over in the distance and two Lesser Kestrels were spotted hunting over by the wind turbines.  Another Spectacled Warbler was spotted on the way down - at a different location than the first -  as well as two more Rock Buntings, a Great Tit and the only Northern Wheatear of the journey. 

Great Tit Parus major (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

Lots of good sightings John and I see you still manage to name the birds that I have yet to see this year; namely Coal Tit, Spectacled Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and Rock Sparrow.  Still plenty of time!

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

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