Wednesday 27 February 2013

Sierra Loja with John and Jenny

John and Jenny Wainwright are certainly making up for the missed fortnight's birding and seem to have hit the February meeting of the local "Little Owl Society" judging by the numbers seen in one relatively short period!

Sierra Loja  26 February

A very bright day but very cold wind only 2-3C up top.

Our first port of call was the hidden quarry, where we saw Crossbills, Azure-winged Magpies, Chiffchaffs, Chaffinch, Great Tit and a Dartford Warbler proclaiming his territory in fine song.

Linnet Pardillo Comun Carduelis cannabina (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

At the cliffs only a Little Owl, a few Jackdaws and five Chough and the substation valley was very quiet too, only yielding another Little Owl, a Black Redstart and a few Stonechats.  The road up to and at the ponds (Charca) was uneventful except for a pair of Rock Buntings, but the bottom pool was well over the back wall that is normally visible.

So along to the fossil caves where we saw Black Wheatear, Stonechats, Thekla Larks, another Little Owl, Linnets, more Chough and a Blackbird.  The icicles are quite a sight here!!   As I was searching for Alpine Accentors - I could hear them calling - a Common Kestrel  flew across the cliff face and after that I couldn´t hear them again.  We did however have fabulous views of an adult Bonelli´s Eagle as it soared above us.

No Rock Sparrows but lots of stalactites in the "Fossil Cave" (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
There is still a good covering of snow up here today and the track is quite slippery.  We retraced our steps and on the way back down we located another Little Owl just past the concrete "nissan hut", and as we got to the cliffs the one Little Owl had turned into two -  so bringing a the total to five. Also a Collared Dove and three Spotless Starlings were recorded.

Yet more Little Owls Mochuelo Comun Athene noctua (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

Not a great count just good to be out!

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

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