Monday, 29 October 2018

Ventas de Zafarraya

Monday 29 October

A most enjoyable morning up at the old railway track at Ventas de Zafarraya with visiting Swedish birder Hans Borjesson then on round to the "growing fields" in the hinterland.  Lovely, clear and sunny but the bad new was that the very cold wind off the mountains meant that we very much needed extra clothing on as we set off along the track.  Having already recorded Collared Dove as we approached and had White Wagtail at the mirador, we soon added Robin, Great Tit and Meadow Pipit.  Well before the tunnel we had seen many Black Wheatear and then some very handsome Black Redstarts along with Goldfinch, Linnet and Serin.

Next up was the first of a few Blue Rock Thrush and it soon became very evident, judging by the numbers, that not all Crag Martins had disappeared down to the coast for their winter holidays.  A Sardinian Warbler to the right, a trio of Rock Sparrows on the wires and once through the tunnel our first Chough.  Within minutes we had witnessed a very large flock exceeding 60 individuals and then at least ten Griffon Vultures up ahead.  A pair of Sparrowhawk were seen on the cliffs and also the first Ibex.  At the old ruin we finally found our Thekla Larks and many Stonechats on the way back with a very late House Sparrow sighting.

A distant but alert Blue Rock Thrush Roquero Solitario Monticola solitarius

After a welcome coffee to warm ourselves we headed off to the "Muck Heap" area to check the fields where we found Crested Lark, Blackbird, Greenfinch and our first Sky Lark of the morning.  A Kestrel was sighted in the distance and then up and through the "Magpie Woods" where we dully saw at least a dozen Azure-winged Magpies.  A resting Buzzard atop a nearby small tree was an added bonus.

Iberian Grey Shrike Alcaudon Real Lanius meridionalis

Heading off to the growing fields we saw more Crested Lark and our first of two Iberian Grey Shrike along with (Common) Magpie.  Both Wood Pigeon and a huge flock of Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon were recorded and taking the large anti-clockwise circuit we had a couple of Hoopoe and more Azure-winged Magpies.  Nearing the end we managed to disturb a quintet of Calandra Lark close to the road and a little further on a female Chaffinch rested on the fence.  Our next bird was a lone Corn Bunting on the wires as we headed back towards the Magpie Woods.  Finally, dropping down from the the same woods we had not only another dozen Azure-winged Magpies but also a single Jay.  Great company and a total of 37 species before heading back to the coast.

Birds seen:
Griffon Vulture, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Calandra Lark, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Sky Lark, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Great Tit,  Iberian Grey Shrike, Jay, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Chough, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting.


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