|Early morning Stonechat Tarabilla Comun Saxicola torquatus|
Really running out of time now as I try and find that elusive new species that will take my annual Spanish total to the magic (for me) 250 mark. Yesterday I was up early and off in the dark so that I arrived, still with headlights on, in the fields above the Cacin valley in the hope of finding a Black-bellied Sandgrouse. An hour spent in the cold morning searching without vain so that was one target bird missed. Strange, and a first, when you think that the first bird seen during the day as a Southern Grey Shrike and I was see at least three others before returning home including the afternoon sighting up on the Sierra Loja. I set out with four potential birds that might take me to the 250 mark; Brambling on fields near Huetor Tajar and, just maybe, a Redwing or Fieldfare up on top of the Sierra Loja. I had been warned by Mick Richardson that whilst the local weather was turning much colder it was still probably not cold enough to bring in a possible wintering jack Snipe and he proved to be quite right. Similarly, no Bramblings which was not surprising given the fact that there were also very few Chaffinches about and up on the Sierra Loja the berry harvest seemed to have been exhausted much earlier than last year so the only thrushes seen were an in individual male Blackbird and a Mistle Thrush. That leaves a week to find any of the above plus a Hawfinch (no luck at Arroyo Marin last Sunday), a Tufted Duck (Where is there any fresh water?) or even a possible Common Scoter off the coast.
|A lovely Kestrel Cernicalo Vulgar Falco tinnunculus catching the early morning sunshine|
But there were other birds to be seen. Apart form the early Southern Grey Shrike, the field area produced a small charm of Goldfinches and White Wagtails along with a Greenfinch, Kestrel basking in the early morning sunshine and a Hoopoe. As I left the area not only did I pick up Crested Lark, Wood Pigeon and Collared Doves but also a good number of Jackdaws mixing with a lock of at least 50 Common Starlings, making a mockery of the handful of Spotless Starlings seen just round the corner!
|The uncommon, for Spain, Common Starling Estornino Pinto Sturnus vulgaris|
|One of 200 sleepy Stone Curlews Alcaravan Comun Burhinus oedicnemus|
|A Rock Bunting Escribano Montesino Emberiza cia getting his feathers ruffled!|
|Southern Grey Shrike Alcaudon Real Lanius meridionalis|
Red-legged Partridge, Kestrel, Stone Curlew, Lapwing, Snipe, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Black Whatear, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Southern Grey Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Jackdaw, Common Starling, Spotless Starling. House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Rock Bunting.
|Kingfisher Martin Pescador Comun Alcedo atthis|
|Linnet Pardillo Comun Carduelis cannabina|
|Little Owl Mochuelo Comun Athene Noctua|
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.