Monday 6 January 2014

Sierra Loja

A New Year and where else would you expect to see John and Jenny Wainwright but once more up their local Sierra Loja!  Judging by John's report they had lots of good birds this morning and, if like here, some glorious warm sunshine.

Sierra Loja  6th January 2014

Bright and sunny but very cold in the shade.  We met up with Marcus and Liz Rootes at the Abades service station and proceeded up to the hidden quarry.  It was so cold here that all we could
hear was the calling of Red-legged Partridges.  So we left here after deciding to call in here on the way down.

The tree line was virtually deserted, not a flicker or sound was seen or heard, although Jenny spotted two dark phase Red Squirrels, in amongst the pines on the down slopes.  At the cliffs we saw two Ravens, Jackdaws, Blackbird, Black Redstart, heard a Green Woodpecker down below
and about a dozen or so Alpine Accentors - much to Marcus´s pleasure - were located further up.
Between the cliffs and the old quarry we saw Thekla Larks, Black Redstarts, Meadow Pipits, a Southern Grey Shrike, Stonechats and Linnets.  Another two Ravens flew past, possibly the same pair as before (but you never know), as did a small flock of Goldfinches.

Little Owl Athene noctua (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
Further up the track we came across four Black Wheatears and below them two Dartford Warblers - one posing for us on a rock pile before disappearing into a large bush, from whence a Sardinian Warbler shot out.  At the rear of this bush a male and female Stonechat were perched.

A nice sighting was the twelve Ibex - two males , one with a deformed - forward facing - horn, the remainder females and kids.  And it was just after this we spotted another Southern Grey Shrike, and yet still more Thekla Larks then a Little Owl.

Bonelli's Eagle Hieraeatus Fasciatus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
In  the sub-station valley we spotted a Rock Bunting, another two Little Owls and some Red-legged Partridges.  Up at the ponds - which are about half full - not a proverbial dickie-bird, so we had lunch and moved on to the Fossil Cave.  Here more Black Wheatears, Meadow Pipits and Black Redstarts were noted.  Moving on, Marcus spotted two Griffon Vultures in the distance, and whilst here we found a large flock of Chough, two Magpies, a Blackbird and then two Bonelli´s Eagles appeared over the clifftop viewpoint.  No sign of the Ring Ouzels so we headed back to the hidden quarry where we located Mistle Thrush and Azure-winged Magpies.  In the substation valley a male Sparrowhawk was spotted.

On the way home Wood Pigeon, Collared Doves, House Sparrows, Spotless Starlings, Chaffinches and Crested Larks were seen.   Not a massive list but a great day out...

Your Bonelli's Eagle would appear to be in an interesting state of moult and making it very identifiable for the next week or so.

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

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