Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Huetor Tajar & old Zafarraya road

5 March 2014

Just received a report from John and jenny Wainwright's latest birding foray and the really good news is to read that Jenny is out of hospiatl after her ten-day stay and once more directing John on hois birding exploits.  Welcome back Jenny and look forward to seeing you later this month.  Today is our last full day in New Zealand and we start the return process tomorrow with a flight to Auckland and then Hong Kong beofre landing in London on Sunday evening.

Whilst here we have suffered the worst weather in living memory with driving rain, winds in excess of 145 kph and even told that the only road off he Banks Peninsular back to Christchurch is presently closed due to flooding and landslides.  Interesting!  And last week they were suffering 28C and water rationing!

Huetor Tajar & Old Zafaraya Road:  4th March 2014

A warm, bright day with a chilly wind now and then.

We had been to the local market at Huetor, so we thought a look along the local stream was called for.

Stone Curlew (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
As we drove round a small flock of some twenty Stone Curlews flew out from the stream, split into three flocks, and one of them - comprising of only six birds - came down in the fields on the north side of the stream. We located three but never saw hide or hair of the remainder. Here also we saw Tree and House Sparrows, Black Redstart, Linnets, Spotless Starlings, Collared Doves and Linnets.

A Little Egret sat motionless in the far field and all about were White Wagtails and a few Red-legged Partridges.

We dropped our shopping in at Salar before continuing on to the Old Zafaraya Road (km16 on the Alhama de Granada road). En route seeing Mistle Thrushes, Common Kestrel, Wood Pigeons, Corn Buntings, Blackbirds and a couple of Rock Doves.

Meadow Pipit  (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Along the track we found three Spanish Ibex feeding in the valley, then a good flock of Chaffinches plus two Bramblings in the almond trees, several Common Magpies were seen in the fields, along with Goldfinches, Crested Larks and a Blackbird. A Greater Spotted Woodpecker was heard here but not located.

A Lesser Kestrel was spotted hovering over the fields to our left and several Wood Pigeon flew off the fields further down the track, also fourteen Corn Buntings in a tree, a Black Redstart, Chiffchaffs and a few Stonechats.

We turned right at the cross-roads towards Sierra Loja and stopped at the ford, where we picked up Azure-winged Magpies, Green Woodpecker, Sardinian Warbler, a Jay, a Blackbird, Goldfinches and a Great Tit.

Onward through the farm where we saw Meadow Pipits, Crested Larks, White Wagtails, House Sparrows, Spotless Starlings, Linnets, Collared Doves, a female Common Kestrel and some Wood Pigeons.

Southern Grey Shrike  (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Southern Grey Shrike (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
The track has been repaired very well here - although work is still in progress and there is still a chance of meeting the construction lorries on the track. But we persevered and in the next three km we saw Red-legged Partridges, four Chough, a pair of Southern Grey Shrike, and a km further on a lone - possibly, a Great Grey Shrike - as I could not see any pink hue on its breast. I remain undecided as it flew off very quickly out of sight!!! though I did get a quick snapshot of it.

Lots of Black Redstarts in the area as well as Spotless Starlings and White Wagtails. Retracing our steps we saw Serins and Chaffinches. And as we joined the main road back to Salar a beautifully marked Common Buzzard flew no more than twenty foot over the road to our front and another Common Kestrel was seen on the wires.

Not a bad few hours birding, lets hope the weather stays good for a while now.


Great report John and also enjoyed the photos.

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