Monday 31 December 2012

Last birding trip of 2012

The weather is promising rain for New Year's day so I took the opportunity to make one last forage before the end of the year.  Out by 9.15 and up and over the local Sierra to Loja where a few hours were spent driving to the top and back, but with very little success, and then on to Huetor Tajar to see if any of the local celebrities were about - yes and no!  Meanwhile, the hills were not so much alive with the sound of music but carpeted in a beautiful sway of the lovely Broad Leaf Iris - and there were White Wagtails to be seen everywhere.

Song Thrush Zorzal Comun Turdus philomelos through the windscreen
 A steady stream of birds as soon as I left Casa Collado with Rock Dove, Serin and Goldfinch quickly followed by White Wagtail and Collared Dove. On past Ventas de Zafarraya and then sightings of Black Redstart, Azure-winged Magpies and Blackbirds.  Both Corn Bunting and Mistle Thrush on the wires as I approached the motorway and the start of the mountain track up into the Sierra Loja.  The upward journey produced first a Robin followed by Song Thrush and then the first of the Jackdaws.  Both Thekla and Crested Larks were added along with Rock Bunting before reaching the top.

Chiffchaff  MosquiteroComun Phylloscopus collybita

Too much activity in the cave area so I took a long trip up and over the top but no sign of any Ring Ouzels, Fieldfares or Redwings today.  I did have more Red-legged Partridges and both Stonechat and Goldfinch before descending with a close view of a Southern Grey Shrike.

Brambling  Pinzon Real  Fringilla montifringilla
No sign of any Little Bustards at Huetor Tajar but I did find a handful of Stone Curlews asleep in the usual field.  I was greeted by a Cormorant as I crossed the river into the village and there was a single Mallard along with a Greylag Goose below the bridge when I returned.  However, the short drive alongside the river not only produced a couple of Green and a single Common Sandpiper but a large flock of mixed finches.  Surprisingly, the majority were Bramblings but also present were Serins, Chaffinches, Goldfinches and LinnetsChiffchaffs darted here and there feeding at the river's edge and a single Grey Wagtail was also recorded.
Linnet  Pardillo Comun  Carduelis cannabina

Back home via the Salar road towards Alhama de Granada and Ventas de Zafarraya where Magpie, Black Wheatear and Blue Rock Thrush were also added to the day's final tally of 34 species.  And so endeth the year's birding and a Happy New Year to all readers.

Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Mallard, Cormorant, Stone Curlew, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff, Southern Grey Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, Serin, Goldfich, Linnet, Rock Bunting and Corn Bunting.

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.   

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