Saturday 26 January 2013

Siera Loja

You have just got to hand it to John and Jenny Wainwright, not for them the worry of a breeze or stronger wind when there is an opportunity for some good birding.  Here am I up at Casa Collado trying to clear up some of the damage, I never realised how heavy a bin of broken glass could be, with the wind picking up again and no promise of really calm weather before next Tuesday and John and Jenny are up the Sierra Loja along with the wind and cloud searching out some ever elusive birds.  Definitely deserve a browny point or two - or perhaps first crack at the spirits cupboard when they get back home.  Read on and dream about the birds that we are not presently seeing (but I did have Black Redstarts, Stonechats and Serins as I drove round to my neighbour to discuss the next stage of the repair programme).

Sierra Loja  26th January 2013

Clear lower down but thick cloud came in, up until 1200 - 1500metres then sunshine, but a still cold wind - only 4C.

After breakfast at the hotel we started up the Loja route.  Here we saw Collared Doves, Wood Pigeon, Spotless Starlings and Chaffinches.  At the quarry we saw Jackdaws and Chough, Red-legged Partridges and Azure-winged Magpies and at the cliffs more Jackdaws and Chough.  The mist then descended on us.

One of the sparkling Hawthorne trees to be seen (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

In the substation valley the mist was still quite thick but we found a Little Owl, a Black Redstart and a few Rock Buntings.  At the pond area nothing so we drove on to the fossil cave area - snow on the ground here in small pockets and the hawthorn trees sparkling as if there were diamonds strung from the branches, but lacking the berries, the trees were stripped bare!  We did pick up Common Kestrel, Stonechats, Blackbird and Thekla Larks.  Back round to the large catchment area where we saw more Rock Buntings and Thekla Larks.  Also here we saw a lone Ring Ousel, two Mistle Thrushes, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, a Southern Grey Shrike and a flock of some twenty Meadow Pipits.

Southern Grey Shrike Alcaudon Real Larius meridionalis (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

As we came out of the mist on the way down a juvenile Bonelli´s Eagle graced us with its presence, its tawny body shining as it turned into the sunlight.  No Alpine Accentors today as the areas where we normally see them were thick in cloud cover but a pleasant three hour trip even though birding was difficult.

Thanks John.  All being well I can forget about house repairs and get out and about again within the next couple of days.

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