Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Huetor Tajar with John and Jenny

Back from Britain and good to get back into routine.  John and Jenny Wainwright have been out near their in Salar, see below, Mick Richardson is once again on the hunt for dragonflies and butterflies (see the "Axarquia Birds and Wildlife" Facebook site) and the same evening as John (Tuesday) Jenny and I were able to spend the evening at the Charca de Suarez reserve in Motril along with Steve and Elena Powell and great friends Dave and Gill Elliott-Binns from, relatively, distant Almeria (see separate blog).

John, in the last paragraph, wonders about an early return migration for his Bee-eaters and there were certainly a number calling above is last night.

Huetor Tajar: Tuesday 8th July 

Very hot with hardly any breeze.

After dropping Jenny at the market, I thought I would have a quick peek at the stream to the north of
Huetor Tajar, as I only had an hour or so at the outside.

As I crossed the stream and rose up onto the embankment the fields - as they been harvested lately -
were swarming with Barn Swallows and House Martins. In the "stream" only minor puddles and a
limited trickle was seen, but what water was available, was being put to good use by the House
Sparrows, Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Linnets which were bathing in it.  Lots of Crested Larks and Azure-winged Magpies about with a few Blackbirds, Collared Doves and Wood Pigeons.

No shortage of Azure-winged Magpies Cyanopica cyanus here!  (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
A group of Common Swifts flew past as I joined the tarmac road and then regaining the dirt track
again I flushed a Little Owl from the stream bed with its prey - a small rat if I believe - and it landed on the concrete wall opposite me, just long enough  to take it´s photograph.  As it flew off into a
copse, two Tree Sparrows alighted on a chain link fence to my right, so it had to be a photo through
the windscreen.

Always good to see a Tree Sparrow Passer montanus (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Further along I found a Little Ringed Plover and a juvenile Grey Wagtail feeding amongst the weeds, along with a flock of Spotless Starlings and a single Cattle Egret

Not only John who has noticed the shortage of Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Time to pick Jenny up.  As we entered Salar a huge flock of a hundred Jackdaws, possibly more were feeding in the groves.  A sad footnote is that we have had three Little Owls killed in the last six weeks on the road leading to Salar - lets us hope that maybe they were the youngsters and that the adults are still about, to breed later on.

At least this Little Owl Athene noctua seems to have found a substantial breakfast (PHOTO: John Wainwright)
Another small note, last evening Monday 7th July, I ventured up on the roof terrace at about 11.30pm
and a huge flock of Bee-eaters flew overhead in the general direction of Malaga.  Maybe they are
heading back as the only time I have known them to fly at night is on migration; one wonders!!!

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

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