Good to be back home in Spain after our past month's wanderings and, almost immediately, I get updates and reports including the latest exploit from Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group. Just as exciting, I was even out this morning with my own Axarqia Bird Group, but more about this in the next blog. Interesting to see that Dave and company were experiencing the forecast warm and sunny weather as up at Ventas de Zafarraya we had cloud and even a couple of drops of the wet stuff - and it always arrives when you are furthest from the car and without suitable clothing!
Adrian's patch - Wednesday 23rd May
The weather today was forecast warm and sunny. Indeed it was as Paul & Reyna drove me to Adrian's patch between Puerto Lumbreres and Velez Rubio. We met up with Barrie, Beryl, Brian, Trevor, Ann, John and, of course, Adrian at the cafe just of Jct 6 on the A91. We clocked House Sparrow, Barn Swallow, Hoopoe, Magpie and Woodpigeon as we drank our coffee. We were then escorted by Adrian, in front in his vehicle, round the tracks and lanes of his patch. Paul spotted an Iberian Green Woodpecker, whilst behind us in Trevor's car, John added Bee-eater and Common Crow.
|Corm Bunting Emberiza calandra (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)|
At our first stop, Barrie pointed out a Woodchat Shrike. We heard Golden Oriole (as we did at virtually every stop!) and Turtle Dove, which eventually showed itself. Driving on we added Thekla Lark and Corn Bunting, whilst in front of us, Adrian's lot saw Serin, Greenfinch and Red-legged Partridge. As we approached a ruined house a Sardinian Warbler flew across the road. On the house was a Black Wheatear. At the next stop, Brian spotted some House Martins and Barrie, some Common Swift. A flock of sheep wandered by! We then stopped opposite the El Cimbre rural housing complex. A Rock Sparrow was perched on their sign. Brian then found some distant Griffon Vultures, but amongst them was a pair of Booted Eagles. Moving on towards the brook at La Parroquia, we added a Red-rumped Swallow. At the stream, Barn Swallows and House Martins were collecting mud for nest building. A Melodious Warbler was perched on the power line. We heard a Nightingale and Barrie spotted an overflying Linnet. Beyond the village we could see a plume of 25+ Griffon Vultures.
|Now where's that bird?|
We then convoyed to the Embalse de Puentes, seeing some Goldfinch on the way. From the dam top Trevor spotted a magnificent male Blue Rock Thrush. A Grey Heron flew over. On the water were numerous Great Crested Grebe and four Black-necked Grebe. A Cormorant was seen. A pair of Rock Doves were on a ledge below the dam. Large numbers of House Martins were nesting there. A few Crag Martins were also seen as were Common Swifts. Trevor spotted some larger corvid type birds, which Paul eventually found at a nesting site some distance away. Red Billed Chough. As we were leaving a pair of them gave good close up views below the dam.
|House Martins Delichon ubicum collecting building material (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)|
We then drove to the lakeside area in the pine forest where we had our picnic lunch. I saw Great Tit and Chaffinch in the trees but missed a lot more, I suspect! I heard a distant Raven. We then departed. I managed a Kestrel before we hit the motorway. We had a 45 species day in good company! It began spitting with rain, but by then we didn't care!
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information