Thursday, 10 April 2014

Sierra Loja with John and Jenny

An interesting trip up the Sierra Loja by John and Jenny wainwright when, the lucky so-and-sos, managed to see not one but two views of the resident Eagle Owl.  And John even managed to get a record shot of the bird.  Lots of good birds here but, as John reports, still possibly a couple of weeks early for the first regular sightings of the summering Rock Thrushes.  Let us hope that they will be on territory for when the Axarquia Bird Group visits the site next month.  Now if only the Green Woodpecker would show itself we could check it out lest it be the Iberian species!

Record shot of Eagle Owl Bubo bubo  (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Sierra Loja: Thursday 10th April

A warmish day below but quite a fierce breeze as we climbed.  A few Collared Doves and Spotless Starlings were seen on the way to Loja and as I parked up to get a couple of cakes - in Lidl´s - for lunch a Cetti´s Warbler, Blackcap and Chaffinches were heard singing.

On the drive up to the tree line -we never called in at the hidden quarry today - we saw Great Tits, Collared Dove,Wood Pigeon, Spotless Starlings and Chaffinches.

In the tree line area we found Short-toed Treecreeper, Wrens, Goldfinches, Azure-winged Magpies, Rock Buntings and more Chaffinches, And as we left the tree line several Jackdaws and a Mistle Thrush flew past.

At the cliffs it took ages to find the Black Wheatear that was singing on the cliff face, after locating him another was seen on our right. The Green Woodpecker was in full voice today in the valley, but we have never located him yet.

A clamourous row from the small flock of Jackdaws flying in and out of their nests in the cliff face gave us our first Eagle Owl of the year, it ducked into a recess in the rocks but was still harassed by the Jackdaws, so it flew out onto the top of the cliff, then away out of sight.

On the slope below, a few Linnets were feeding also a male Stonechat and a Thekla Lark were singing.

As we neared the substation valley two Black-eared Wheatears were seen perched in a small bush and above us three Griffon Vultures were noted.  As we dropped down into the valley we saw Stonechats, Red-legged Partridges, more Thekla Larks, two Little Owls and a solitary Northern Wheatear.

Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica   (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Barbary Nut flower  (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
En route to the ponds we saw another Little Owl and at the ponds we found Chough, Jackdaws, Black-eared Wheatears, a small flock of Rock Sparrows, House Sparrows, a Chaffinch, Crag Martins, Linnets and a few more Goldfinches.  It was also nice to see the Hoop Petticoat Narcissus out in flower again here.


Along to the Fossil cave area where we watched two Lesser Kestrels keeping the Spotless Starlings on their toes as they flew across the face of the cave here.  Also here we saw Black Redstart, Blue Rock Thrush and a couple of House Martins. 

Little Owl Athene noctua (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
We searched high and low but could not locate a Rock Thrush today, still we did not get them last year until the 16th April so a week early maybe.

Nothing different on the way down, but nice to see the Eagle Owl about again, even though it was no more than thirty seconds.

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

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