Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Chritmas Day Adventures

26 December 2018

It would appear that whilst many/most of us were concentrating on the large bird resting on the dining table, others actually ventured forth to find some live fliers!!  Certainly seems that John and Jenny Wainwright enjoyed a visit to their local, and probably favourite, site on the Sierra Loja near their nearby home in Salar.  Ring Ouzels, Iberian Grey Shrikes, Little Owls, Black Redstarts; what more could you ask for on a merry Christmas Day?

Sierra Loja: 25th December


Warm in the sun but chilly in the shade.


As we left the village Collared Doves, Azure-winged and Common Magpies and House Sparrows, were logged.

The tree line was very quiet and so we moved on to the first cliff-face where we saw Stonechat, Linnet and an Iberian Grey Shrike.

As we climbed higher the area was so quiet and it wasn´t until we got close to the water trough that we spotted a pair of Little Owls nestled up to each other, but as I turned the engine off they split in different directions.  Also here we found Stonechats, male and female Black Redstarts and another two Iberian Grey Shrikes.

Iberian Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
The substation valley yielded some Goldfinches and two Thekla Larks, but as we passed though the
wind turbines a huge flock of some two hundred - possibly more - Red-billed Chough rose off the
mountainside.

Part of the hundred plus flock of Red-billed Choughs Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
The charca pond gave us more Goldfinches while the fossil cave area gave us nothing at all, and it
wasn´t until we reached the first of the hawthorn trees that things started happening.  Here we located about fifteen (+/-) Ring Ouzels and a few Blackbirds, Corn Buntings and in the grasses below a small flock of Meadow Pipits.

Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Moving down to the next trees we had more Ring Ouzels as well as Mistle Thrushes and a single Blue Tit.  We retraced our steps and continued on to Salar to complete the circuit.  This way is rather hard on the vehicle but can yield some good birds.

Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
As we reached the old, now abandoned quarry, a Blue Rock Thrush was spotted hunting along the
walls of the quarry, then a Black Wheatear showed up and in the trees to the right of the quarry a
Chaffinch was calling.

Passing by the smallholdings, House Sparrows and Spotless Starlings were in good numbers and a
movement on a tree trunk gave us a Short-toed Treecreeper.  A few Greenfinches and a Great Tit were logged while in the olive groves White Wagtails were feeding.  I scanned the old broken olive trees for any sign of the Little Owls, when one was spotted in a tree by the side of the track.  A little bit further down the track we logged Hoopoe and a Robin, more Mistle Thrushes and Black Redstarts.

A rather shy Little Owl Athene noctua (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Not a bad Christmas Day outing.

It sounds like a very day in reasonable weather.  But I take it a Yuletide drink was awaiting the happy couple on reaching home!   Purely medicinal of course.


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

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