Sunday, 2 September 2018

More of the Autumn Raptor Migration

Saturday 1 September

Before checking out of the Hostal Arcos after our breakfast we had already recorded Spotless Starling, Jackdaw, Red-rumped Swallow, Common Swift and a quick sighting of a lone Magpie. Then it was a direct drive to the Cazalla raptor watch point above Tarifa noting the Montagu's Harriers, Cattle Egrets and Black Kites as we made our way eastwards.  A Hoopoe crossed the road in front of us and a few House Sparrows were noted near the human habitation.

Once at Cazalla we met up with  fourteen other members of the Andalucia Bird Society but the continuing strong wind fro the south meant, once again, that the raptors were all quite high.  Still lots of Egyptian Vultures including a good number of juveniles along with regular sightings of both Black Kite and very many Honey Buzzards.  Lovely to see the occasional Booted and Short-toed Eagle.  Given the present weather, Frank and the majority of the Society members headed off towards Facinas whereas we drove eastwards for a coffee before heading up the Ojen Valley accompanied by Barbara and Gerry Laycock along with Ricky and Sonia Owen.

Griffon Vulture Buitre Leonado Gyps fulvus

Both cars parked at the bottom we made our way up the track keeping a close eye on the moving flocks of Barn Swallows and  at least two good-sized flocks of Bee-eaters.  A stationary male Stonechat watched as we passed and, on reaching what appeared to be the summit, we even manged to add a couple of Chaffinches feeding in the trees below us.  Given Ricky had broken his small toe on the right foot whilst staying at a Ronda hotel last week I thought he did extremely well (or fool hardy!) to manage the walk.

Can you spot the Cicada on the tree as well as hear the little critter?
Continuous small groups of Honey Buzzards were making their way south towards the nearby coast and we saw more Griffon Vultures in the shelter of this valley.  A couple of Booted Eagles and a handful of Egyptian Vultures before a Short-toed Eagle turned up do some hunting right in front of us and giving great views.  Regular sightings of Common Kestrel and even a trio of Lesser Kestrel before finally sighting our only Buzzard on the way back towards Algeria's.  No problem with ether Collared Dove or Wood Pigeon but rather a surprise to think that we had to wait until the very last minute before turning inland on our way home to sight our first White Stork of the day.

Short-toed Eagle Culebrera Europea Circaetus gallicus

Despite the strong wind and the hot sun, a most enjoyable couple of days in good company and many thanks to Derek and Barbara Etherton.

Birds seen:
Cattle Egret, White Stork, Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Montagu's Harrier, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Common Swift, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, barn Swallow, red-rumped Swallow, Stonechat, Magpie, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch.


Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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