Thursday 21 March 2013

Rio Velez and the Sierra Tejeda

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear; my fault entirely!

Many apologies to John and Jenny Wainwright who turned up yesterday (Wednesday) at the Rio Velez for this month's Axarquia Bird Group field visit.  Whilst I had the right date on the website, unfortunately I had entered 20 rather than 21 on the blog.  Not withstanding and despite the howling gale even if it was sunny, John and Jenny ventured forth and recorded a good crop of birds before making their way up to the old railway track above Ventas de Zafarraya (my word it was cold and blowy there) and then, finally, on to the more sheltered confines of El Robledal.  Read their report and you will agree with me that they managed to record some great birds.

A very bright day with very strong winds.  En route from Salar we saw five Common Kestrels, Collared Doves, Southern Grey Shrikes, Spotless Starlings, Goldfinches and Wood Pigeons.

We arrived at Rio Velez meeting point at 9.30 and seeing no-one about, rang Bob.  OH No it's the wrong day!!!! Never mind as we couldn´t gain access to the beach via the back road we went through the estate and cut across to the pumping station through the lettuce fields.  As we parked we could see a huge swathe of mixed gulls on a small spit; with the scope we found Mediterranean, Audoin´s,
Black-headed, Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Also here we saw Sanderlings, Little Ringed Plovers, Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, a Mallard, two Moorhens and a lone Redshank.  In the bushes to our front we found Sardinian and Cetti´s Warblers, Zitting Cisticolas, Goldfinches, Serins and Chiffchaffs.  Above us we saw Barn and Red-rumped Swallows and House Martins.

Mediterranean Gaviota Cabecinegra Larus melanocephalus, Audouin's Gaviota de Audouin Larus audouinii and Black-headed Gaviota Reidora Larus ridibundus Gulls
We waded down to the beach (not literally, but glad we brought our wellies,) here out at sea we located two juvenile Gannets, Cormorants and two rafts of mixed gulls.  On the beach and the few pools here, we saw White Wagtails, Crested Larks and Little Egrets.

We then moved onto the old railway track at Venta de Zafaraya, the wind is getting very blustery now, but we still managed to find Chough, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbirds, Cirl and Rock Bunting, Stonechats, House Sparrows, Sardinian Warbler and Spotless Starlings.

El Robledal:
Nuthatch Trepador Azul Sitta europaea
We then moved on to El Robledal and here we were sheltered by the fir trees, so a lot more passerines about.  As we approached the fork to the campsite a juvenile Golden Eagle came across the clearing. In the firs we saw Great, Coal, Long-tailed and Blue Tits, Crested Tit was heard but not seen, a Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrushes, Wood Larks and Short-toed Treecrepers.  A Jay flew across the track to our front and up in the firs two Nuthatches were seen.  They eventually came down to the trees at the rear of the car, where we located their nest site.  Lots of Chaffinches and Wood Pigeons were about here as well as a Cirl Bunting and Jenny spotted a single  female Firecrest.  As we drove away from the site Linnets, House Sparrows and two Southern Grey Shrikes were seen.

On the way back to Salar we found a Little Owl tucked up against a telegraph pole out of the wind.

Both photographs taken on the day by John Wainwright

Great report John and, once again, sorry for the cock-up with the date.

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

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