Monday 25 March 2019

Ventas de Zafarraya & Hinterland

Monday 25 March

It seems amazing to think that I have already been back for ten days since my Borneo holiday.  The photographs are finally downloaded, visitors have departed home and this week, other than a car service and couple of medical appointments, looks as if I might be able to complete an illustrated report on my visit by the end of the week.  Watch this space as the saying goes.

Ibex Capra pyrenaica

Today was beautifully clear and sunny so by way of a break from the computer I took myself off up to Ventas de Zafarraya to walk the old railway track and take a look at the neighbouring growing fields beyond the "Magpie Woods."  No sooner had I arrived, having already recorded both Blackbird and Crested Lark on the way up to the mirador, than I was aware of the many calling Chough.  During my stay of about 75 minutes I must have seen at least forty individuals.  Not only Choughs but also Alpine Swifts.  If swifts return to their previous breeding sites then the last couple of years must have been excellent as there were at least a score making use of the breeding cave near the old tunnel.  The tunnel itself had also received the returning Crag Martins, many of whom nest inside.

Home of maybe 10 pairs or more of Alpine Swift Vencejo Real Apus melba

However, before setting off on my walk I did notice the lone, young Ibex Capra pyrenaica on the cliff top and in the car park area was able to record Black Redstart, Robin and House Sparrow.  A few Goldinch put in an appearance and I also picked up the distant Blue Rock Thrush. Moving of towards the tunnel I added more Black Redstart and a pair of Serin before seeing my first Black Wheatear of the morning.  A pair of Stonechat posed nicely at the side of the track.

One of our resident male Black Redstart Colirrojo Tizon Phoenicurus ochruros

Once through the tunnel I had a pair of Sardinian Warblers and a very vociferous Great Tit and ere long I was back at the car to take a look a the growing fields at the other end of the village.  First a few Meadow Pipit the near the pond a pair of Thekla Lark along with both White and Blue-headed Wagtails.  A quintet of Mallard were happily floating on the water and, on the beach, a single Little Ringed Plover.

Little Ringed Plover Chorlitejo Chico Charadrius dubius

Once in the arable fields of the hinterland no sign of either magpie which in itself was most unusual.  However, I did pick up a couple of Mistle Thrush quickly followed by Corn Bunting and Linnet.  Further on a handful of Wood Pigeon were disturbed as they fed at the roadside and a Red-legged Partridge made a hasty retreat up the bank.  A male Kestrel hovered over the nearby field and soon after a Jay crossed the road in front of me.  My final stop was to record a small mixed flock of feeding finches, mainly Gold but also the occasional Green and Chaffinch.  A most enjoyable morning which produces 31 species.

Now what might this beautiful wild flower be?

Birds seen:
Mallard, Red-legged Partridge, Kestrel, Little Ringed Plover, Collared Dove, Alpine Swift, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Sardinian Warbler, Great Tit, Jay, Chough, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting.
Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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