Sunday, 20 December 2015

In search of number 250

Sunday 20 December

The weather fine calm and the promise of more sun so I drove over to the Arroyo Marin near Archidona in the hope of finding a Hawfinch which would bring my 2015 Spanish species total up to my magic number of 250.  But, sadly. it was not to be.  Spotless Starlings, Collared Dove and White Wagtail as I entered the track down the arroyo and then the first of many Blackbirds seen during the couple of hours that I was present.  Next both Blue and Great Tits along with a regular supply of Robins but still not the target bird.  And the, nicely posed at the top of a bare tree what looked like the silhouette of the Hawfinch.  Camera up and firing away to make sure that I had a record followed by the use of my bins and a look at the taken photos to confirm that, rather than the target bird, it was a Crossbill.

Male Crossbill Piquituerto Comon Loxia curvirostra
Ah well, onwards and upwards as I walked both directions from the footbridge and added a Great Spotted Woodpecker.  On the other hand, a rather pleasant surprise at the far end of the track as I followed a pair of Chaffinches with my bins as they paused on a small bush opposite the car and revealed something else lurking within.  The Chaffinches were soon up and away but my mystery bird gradually exited from the centre of the thick bust to reveal itself as a rather lovely "Jenny" Wren.

Great Spotted Woodpecker Pico Picapinos  Dendrocopos major
My return journey took me via Salar where I was able to call in and see John and Jenny Wainwright to wish them festive greetings and, more importantly, check how Jenny was recovering following her car episode last week.  Unlike James Bond, jenny was both shaken and stirred but with John's care and attention I think she will be fine soon and out and about again ticking off those birds.  Also added as I crossed the arable fields approaching the "MagpieWoods" near Ventas de Zafarraya were both Magpies, Common and Azure-winged, a Tree Sparrow, small flock of Linnets, Stonechats and at least a quartet of Mistle Thrushes.  Lots of Chaffinches about but again, alas, no sign of any accompanying Brambling.  That just leaves ten days to find my "missing" bird; will I or won't I succeed before the year's end?
Birds seen:
Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, White Wagtail, Wren. Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Sardinian Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Linnet, Crossbill.

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

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