Monday 6 May 2013

Beyond the old road to Zafarraya

I received a interesting birding report from John and Jenny Wainwright last evening outlining their day's exploits in the hinterland between Zafarraya and Salar that contains the old, now abandoned, road linking the two towns.  Visit this fields at the right time of the year and there is every chance that you might actually record five different species of larks.  It is usually very reliable for producing Northern Wheatears and the occasional Black-eared Wheatear not to mention passing raptors such as Booted and Short-toed Eagles.  However, on this occasion John and Jenny manged to pick up an immature Golden Eagle.

Old Zafaraya Road 5th May 2013

A really warm day today with a fresh - and very welcome - breeze every now and then.

Corn Bunting Triguero Embeiza calandra (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

As we drove up to the turn off at 16km we saw Bee-eaters, Common Kestrel, Corn Buntings, Woodchat Shrike, House Sparrows and Chaffinch.  We stopped to get the cameras out of the back of the car and there Jenny heard a Quail, as we listened again for the bird, a Calandra Lark flew over.  Further on we saw a Little Owl, a huge Ocellated Lizard, Great Tits and Common Magpie.

Bonelli's Warbler Mosquitero Papialbo Phylloscopius boneli (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

Turning right at the crossroads and in the small groves to our left we found Melodious and Bonelli´s Warblers, Blackbird, Spotless Starlings, a Cuckoo was heard, a few Wood Pigeon, Corn Buntings and a couple of Nightingales.

Down at the ford we parked up, here we saw Hoopoes, heard Green Woodpecker, Crested Larks, House Sparrows, Great Tits, more Nightingales and BlackbirdsQuails were calling here - at least three of them. A Cuckoo was seen flying over a rock formation in the distance and around the farm a few Jackdaws were seen. We followed the stream - downstream – for a while and here we found Cirl Bunting, Short-toed Treecreeper, Linnets, Sardinian Warblers, a few Barn Swallows and House MartinsGoldfinches, Serins, Greenfinches, Mistle Thrush, and a Lesser Kestrel were noted as well as a Rock Bunting and a few Turtle Doves.

Turtle Dove Tortola Europea  Streptopelia turtur  (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

As we drove up the track on the way home a juvenile Golden Eagle circled overhead, before picking up the thermals and climbing well out of sight.  Three more Bonelli´s were seen in the oak trees as well as Chaffinches, Blackbirds and another Cirl Bunting.

Immature Golden Eagle Aguila Real Aquila chrysaetos (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

Lots of butterflies including Small Heath, Pale Clouded Yellow, Common Blue, Spanish Festoon, Moroccan Orange Tip, Cleopatra, Painted Lady and Green Hairstreak.

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