The big day has arrived; the first of three days including two overnight stops to get to my sister in Plymouth in readiness for visiting mother just before her 99th birthday. The original idea was to be away y 8 o'clock for the long drive up to Pancoba to to the east of Burgos but, waking early I was able to depart by 6.55 so a good chance that I might make the hotel by late afternoon or sooner. Early Blackbirds, Collared Doves, Barn Swallows, Spotless Starlings and House Sparrows and I was soon coasting around Granada at 8 o'clock and thankful I did not have to remain with the heavy traffic as it entered the city proper.
Approaching Jaen I not only had a number of Wood Pigeons but then the first of the Magpies and a couple of Carrion Crows; very reminiscent of driving along a British motorway. With the first "proper" stop at La Carolina fast approaching to top up with coffee and buy a fresh loaf of bread for lunch, the sudden dull, flash of an amber warning light rapidly followed by red and then the car all over the nearside lane as the front nearside tyre punctured. Fluorescent jacket on and out of the car to inspect the damage and before even opening the boot the Guardia Civil car was up behind me to check all was OK. I cannot speak highly enough of their service and help I received including giving me a 5 km escort to La Carolina and the Renault garage. Then the fun and games started! From arriving just after 10 and the promise of ordered tyres to arrive within the hour, during which time I walked into the town for a coffee and recorded both Common Swift and House Martin, it was 12.30 when said tyres finally arrived and a full hour to actually manage to get the tyres onto the wheels. Three and a half hours lost which explained why it was eventually 7.30 pm when I finally arrived at the booked hotel.
Back to the journey and still in Andalucia's Jaen Province I had a single White Stork overhead and a Hoopoe disappeared left whilst, on the steppes to the left, a solitary Lapwing was working the soil. A little further north and Booted Eagle put in an appearance along with a single Griffon Vulture. Naturally, there were Rock Doves to be seen as I passed through Madrid and making my way north on the A1 I soon had both a Raven and another White Stork before eventually meting up with a Red Kite and a Buzzard on the wires near Lerma, this soon after noting my first Corn Bunting of the day. This part of southern Burgos also produced a second Crow sighting. The final Spanish sighting was that of a small group of Jackdaws just beyond Burgos.
Day 2 working my way north through the western side of France I soon added a hovering Kestrel and more Buzzards. Finally, on the following morning as I passed Rennes I cam across the first Rooks and then a Jay flew across the road in front of me. At the conclusion of the journey I had time to pay a short visit to the marina at Roscoff before joining the queue at the port to board the ferry and, with the local market in full throw, Both lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls were feeding on a couple of large discarded cod heads that had been thrown over the wall onto the shingle beach below. Thick fog as we set sail rather scuppered any further birding.
Birds seen (France only in blue):
White Stork, Red Kite, Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel, Lapwing, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Swift, Hoopoe, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Corn Bunting.
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