Ten of us present at Sierra Loja for the April meting of the Axarquia Bird Group travelling from as far afield as Competa to the east and Marbella to the west. Good to see Eric and Pat Lyon again and a welcome to new particpants Lindsay and Elizabeth Ferguson along with Peter Ashley. Also present Barbara and Derek Ethertona and Barbara and Jerry Laycock. So, come 9.40, we were on our way up the mountain with two target birds in mind, the summering Rock Thrush and the local breeding pairs of Spectacled Warbler.
No sooner had we left the car park than we stopped to observe a mixed group of Goldfinches and Cirl Buntings. A first stop at the lower picnic area produced Greenfinch and Serin plus the first Black Wheatear of the morning. Naturally we had seen the local Collared Doves and, once among the trees, not only Chaffinch and Blackbird but numerous Mistle Thrushes and Azure-winged Magpies. Then, of course, there were all those Wood Pigeons moving about.
|Mistle Thrush Zorzal Charlo Turdus viscivorus|
|Just a fleeting fraction of a second to grab a record shot of the Spectacled Warbler Curruca Tomillera Sylvia conspicicillata|
A little magic moment followed with not ony a resting Little Owl but high above Derek had picked out a drifting Griffon Vulture and, looking above the bird, we then found a Golden Eagle. Only when we relised that Derek and I were actually looking in different directions that we realised we had not one but two individuals. And in the same area we heard and then saw two of the breeding Spectacled Warblers.
|Little Owl Mochuelo Comun Athene noctua|
Now that we had driven to the top track we were all intent on finding the illusive Rock Thrush. Blue Rock Thrush, Crag Martin, Spotless Starling, Kestrel and Woodchat Shrike but where was the target bird? Eventually, at the far end of the track, Derek, yet again, saw the slight movement on the summit, cars stopped and much work with bins and scopes finally found our bird, the first, and only, Rock Thrush of the day. Whilst awaiting a decision on whether or not to visit the water deposit at the bottom of the hill (we decided to give it a miss this time), we were able to watch the antics of a pair of Litle Owl on the cliff face in front of us.
|Red Squirrel Sciurus vulgaris seen in the trees almost at the bottom of the mountain|
Red-legged Partridge, Golden Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Goshawk, Kestrel, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Common Swift, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Black Wheatear, Rock Thrush, Bue Rock Thrush, Blackbrd, Mistle Thrush, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Orphean Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Woodchat Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Chough, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Cirl Bunting, Rock Bunting.
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