Friday, 30 May 2014

Around the Ventas de Zafarraya area

Friday 30 May

Back from my week´s work in Southampton dealing with mother´s bungalow, etc and, just so that I will not get withdrawal symptoms, an new email from John and jenny wainwright with details of their latest birding exploit.  This time they were over towards my neck of the woods and managed to find a good selection of birds.

Alcazar  - Zafaraya area Thursday 29th May

A very warm day with a nice breeze up in the Tejadas.

We left Salar about 9.15am to go to one of Bob´s favourite areas - Alcazar, as we past out of the village, a Raven flew down from a telegraph pole. Also en route we saw Collared and Turtle Doves, Spotless Starlings, our one and only Bee-eater of the day, Corn Buntings, Crested Larks and a couple of Woodchat Shrikes.  As we approached Alhama del Granada we saw a Common Kestrel, Blackbird, House Martins, Common Swifts and Barn Swallows and as we departed the town a Hoopoe, Jay, Serins and then a Common Buzzard were noted.
Serin Serinus serinus (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

At Venta de Zafarraya we called in at the old railway tunnel.  Here we saw Black Wheatears, Blue Rock Thrush, House and Crag Martins, Chough, Rock Sparrows, Wren, Black Redstarts and Stonechat.  While watching the cave, two Alpine Swifts swept in and almost immediately out again, then a single Griffon Vulture circled the cliff-top.
Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala (PHOTO: John Wainwright)

After calling in at Arkwrights, we headed for the track towards Alcazar.  It was pretty quiet all the way to the first picnic site where we picked up two Grey Wagtails, two young Robins and one adult, Short-toed Treecreepers, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, a family of Sardinian Warblers and a Blackcap.
Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
So on up Alcazar picnic site, where we saw Crossbills, Nuthatches, Short-toed Treecreepers, Chaffinches and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers.  A large group of Chough flew over with their usual noise and acrobatics and as we walked along the small irrigation canal we saw Long-tailed Tits, Great and Crested Tits, Blackbirds, a Mistle Thrush and Wrens.  Then as we headed back to the picnic site we located a Firecrest, a Sardinian Warbler, a small flock of House Sparrows and a Jay, also a Chiffchaff was heard singing.
Nuthatch Sitta europaea (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
From here we headed up to the Alcaúca picnic site, most of the trees lining the road have been cut down and bird life was pretty non-existent, so we headed over to the old Zafarraya road.  Here the larks were in control with at least five Calandras singing and Short-toed Larks on the roads, in the air and on the fields.  Crested Larks were in good numbers also and in the meadows, Corn Buntings sang out from their perches on the weed tops.  Only three Zitting Cisticolas were heard, but more Spotless Starlings, Serins, a Common Magpie, two Lesser Kestrels and a Little Owl were seen.

Butterflies included Grayling, Cleopatras,Spanish and Common Gatekeepers, Spanish Marbled Whites, Speckled Woods and a Cardinal.

Quite a productive day overall.
What a wonderful day and, with luck, much might still be about when I venture up to the Alcaucin  picnic areas tomorrow, Saturday.  But unlike John and Jenny, I shall have to contend with the week-end revellers!
 Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.  

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