Saturday 6 July 2013

Sierra Loja with John and Jenny

John and Jenny Wainwright back up the Sierra Loja again but at least it means that they can continue birding, especially now that the track has bee regraded even if somewhat dusty in places.  here follows John's report just received and, within the next week, I shall once again be back in the land of Spanish birding when we make a call to the Tables de Daimiel at the end of next week just before our final return to our mountain-top home.

Sierra Loja round trip 5th July 2013

A very hot day 37C but thankfully a good breeze was present up the top (25C).

We started off from the Salar end again and on the way saw House Martins, Common Swifts, Jackdaws and House Sparrows.

As we approached the first quarry we saw two Black Wheatears, Rock Sparrows and Thekla Larks.  In the old orchard a Little Owl was seen and below it a family of Red-legged Partridges; lots of Woodchat Shrikes about, all adults so far, with a spattering of Hoopoes.

The track is very, very dusty today - due to the resurfacing (well scraping and rolling) and the cars a lovely orange colour - which means that the windows are closed most of the time.

A few Azure-winged Magpies were and all along the track the Rock Sparrows could be heard - when the windows were open, that is.  Stonechats, mostly juveniles, were in good numbers and one lone female Blue Rock Thrush was noted next to a Rock Bunting.

Spoonwing Duende Nemoptera sinuata  (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

We were about eleven km into the journey before we saw our first Black-eared Wheatear, then several Corn Buntings.  A nice record was of a Spoonwing (Nemoptera sinuata ) or Duende the Spanish call them - meaning fairy or elf.  Also in the butterfly category were Grayling, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Marsh Fritillary, Pale Clouded Yellow and a Large White.

In the valley close to a catchment area we found two Blackbirds, Wood Pigeon, Linnets, a Little Owl, Common Kestrel and Short-toed Eagle.  Whilst I was making tea Jenny spotted a male Montagu´s Harrier - he was being mobbed - so didn´t hang around long and above him four Griffon Vultures were soaring over the far ridge.

In a far group of trees several Mistle Thrushes and three Hoopoes were seen along with Wood Pigeons and Rock Sparrows.  Another two Griffon Vultures sailed overhead.

Spectacled Warbler  Sylvia conspicillata  (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
Further down the track a single Common Magpie dived into the small fir copse and here we could hear Chaffinches and Goldfinches.  Just over the crest a Spectacled Warbler sat atop a dense bush, he then ventured deeper but another bird (not sure if it was female or a juvenile) flew out and returned some two minutes later.  Lots more Black-eared Wheatears here and in a walnut copse an adult Northern Wheatear was noted.

Griffon Vulture  Gyps fulvus  (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
On the way down another seven Griffon Vultures flew off the ground as a huge flock of Chough came in to feed.  A few more Linnets and one Crag Martin was the last seen before reaching the main road.

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

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