The weather continues to be very warm with our usual afternoon breeze but without transport, having to share the small car with Jenny and her many pursuits, birding seems to have very much take a back seat. Also, not helped by the fact that I have to remain near home awaiting a call from a courier bringing equipment over from the UK to our neighbour. So it was rather a delight to receive John and Jenny Wainwright's report from their trip up their favourite local site at the Sierra Loja. Despite the heat, even hotter inland than where we are on our mountain top, John and Jenny managed to find both the summering Rock Thrushes and Black-eared Wheatears. Strange to see no mention of Northern Wheatear as they were also conspicuous by their absence in the Serrania de Ronda last Saturday. On the other hand, Alpine Swifts seem to be on the move so certainly keep an eye open for these large swifts if in the mountains during the next week.
John's report follows and all the photographs on this occasion are by Jenny Wainwright.
Sierra Loja Tuesday 15 July
Very hot 38C/98F, this with a good breeze.
We started off from the village at about 9.30am and saw to our delight a Little Owl - if you have read my last report we had three owls killed - the delight was not too last as another one was dead in the middle of the road and just as we entered the slip road to the A92 another bird was found. Also about were Spotless Starlings, Collared Doves, House Sparrows and a Blackbird. After coffee and tapas at our regular stop we headed up to the old workings, en route seeing Chaffinches, Spotted Flycatchers, Stonechats and yet more Collared Doves. It was good to note that the family of Crag Martins - who had nested under the autovia bridge - had fledged.
|Now where's Mum gone? A family of juvenile Red-legged Partridges Alectoris rufa|
The workings was dead apart from some Goldfinches, House Martins and Red-legged Partridges. Moving up through the tree line good numbers of Azure-winged Magpies were seen - and heard, with Chaffinches and a few Serins. At the cliffs, even with the climbers being back, we did find Southern Grey Shrikes, Stonechats, Woodchat Shrike (a Spectacled Warbler surprised me here) then a Corn Bunting and a Common Kestrel. A bit further up at the second cliff section we found another Southern Grey Shrike feeding its young, small numbers of Linnets, a Sardinian Warbler and another Woodchat Shrike. A male and female Blue Rock Thrush were located on the cliff face itself.
|The curious Little Owls Athene noctua|
|Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica|
|Juvenile/female Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis|
|Striped Grayling Hipparchia fidia butterfly|
|Female Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator|
Well worth a bit of effort in the heat, glad of the breeze up top though!!!
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