Thursday, 31 December 2015

El Robledal

Tuesday 29 December

Day 2 of my three-day sortied to try and find that elusive 250th bird for the year and off to El Robledal in the Sierra Tejada with Jenny.  Yesterday's visit to the Rio Velez was an also impossible mission given that the only potential bird might be a Common Scoter off the coast but that was not to be.  Today, however, there was more than a reasonable chance of fining a Hawfinch and, provided there was a good number of Chaffinches about, the chance of a Brambling as a back-up possibility.

Things got off to a very bad start when we ventured out f the door and saw the complete cloud cover, the first of very many weeks, and even a hint that we had had a few spots of recent rain, enough to mess up the windscreen.  As we approached the heights at Ventas de Zafarraya the cloud level became lower and lower an soon we were driving on full headlights.  See the birds?  At this rate we would be lucky to see the trees and bushes a the side of the track.  However, approach the track off the main road to El Robledal, passing White Wagtails, Spotless Starlings and Collared Doves on the way, the skies looked decidedly brighter as if, after all, we might yet see some sunshine.  Sadly, although the weather remained dry, and by no means cold, it was not to be so very poor light and I did not bother to take a single photograph.  We soon added Black Redstart and the first of a few Chaffinches along with Stonechat.  A Wood Pigeon flew over the car and, on getting out for a closer look at a small spinney, we heard both Great Spotted Woodpecker and Robin.  A circular walk around my usual short walk produced a pair of cackling Jays sounding just like a pair of randy "tom cats" out on the tiles at four in the morning and then both Mistle and Song Thrush in the tall tree next to the ruined farm by the car park.  A final delight was a small charm of Goldfinches and a trio of Rock Buntings as we made our way home via the back lane to the Pantaneta near Alhama de Granada.

The water here held a number of basking Cormorants plus a small group of Pochard, a couple of Coot and a Little Grebe.  Hiding in the reeds was a Grey Heron and n the far bank I found a handful of resting Mallards.  Then, still full of low cloud and a dampness in the air we made our way home and passing through the "Magpie Woods" and "Muck Heap" also managed to pick up Meadow Pipit, Serin, Tree Sparrow and Azure-winged Magpies.  Finally, as we drove past the "Corn Bunting Fence" we were rewarded by the sight of no fewer than ten of the names species.

But no new birds for the year.  On the other hand, just as yesterday when two new birds for December took the monthly running total o exactly one hundred, another two species had been added to the monthly list.  Now it looks as if all will depend upon tomorrow and the last birding trip of the year with just two days left in 2015.  Will I or won't I achieve my goal?

Birds seen:
Mallard, Pochard, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Heron, Coot, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtails, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Jay, Azure-winged Magpie, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Goldfinch, Rock Bunting, Corn Bunting.

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

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