Sunday, 13 July 2014

Serrania de Ronda

Saturday 12 July

The July monthly field visit of the Andalucia Bird Society was to the Serrania de Ronda but with an early start scheduled Jenny and I decided to drive over on Friday afternoon and spend the night in the town.  Who could possibly drive past the Laguna Dulce without taking a quick look?  We were no different so we spent a good thirty minutes checking out the lake late on the afternoon of Friday.  It would seem, at last, that the water levels are starting to drop as there is now a definite shore line, albeit not very deep, in front to of the hide. On the other hand, with so much vegetation the views are somewhat restricted.

A total of twenty-five species was recorded either at or in the immediate vicinity and included all three native grebes; quite surprising that for me to find a single Great Crested Grebe present at this time of the year.  I was also somewhat surprised to find a couple of male White-headed Ducks on the water; were these resident birds or has the autumn migration started very early given the at the Dulce can hold up to two hundred or more of these ducks come winter?  Naturally, even before the winter build up, there were scores of Common Coots plus the occasional Moorhen and whilst the ducks were mainly Mallards, there was a dozen or so Common Pochards resting up to my left.

Below the hide a single Hoopoe was foraging whilst the Reed Warblers were happy to continue singing.  A small number of Yellow-legged Gulls on the water and feeding overhead a number of Burundians, mainly Red-rumped swallows but also a small number of Barn Swallows, House Martins and a single Sand Martin was identified.  Just a handful of Common Swifts.  It was also pleasing to note that there is at least one Marsh Harrier in residence as the adult female drifted over from the back of the water before returning to the reed bed.  Finally, no need to drive round to relatively nearby Fuente de Piedra as there were two small handfuls of Flamingoes on the water.  No sooner has we started to leave the site than we recorded both Cattle Egret and a pair of Ravens.

Birds seen at laguna Dulce:
Mallard, Pochard, White-headed Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cattle Egret, Flamingo, Marsh Harrier, Moorhen, Coot, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Swift, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Raven, House Sparrow.

Serrania de Ronda

Meeting at the Montejaque turn off the main Ronda road we listened and watch a number of Golden Orioles whilst awaiting the start of the trip.  Also in attendance were both Blackbirds and House Sparrows and ere long we had added both Crested Lark and a number of Bee-eaters.  Next up was a single male Common Kestrel and whilst looking at the bird realised the number of low-flying Griffon Vultures in the background.  Both Barn Swallows and Red-rumped Swallows were busy feeding, mainly the latter, and the fist of a few Cirl Buntings was seen perched on a fence rail.  There seemed to be a constant supply of Goldfinches about and we also , finally, had a small flock of Spotless Starlings as well as recording our first of many Woodchat Shrikes during the morning, both adults and juveniles.

The first stop added lesser Kestrels, Rock Sparrows and a small number of Alpine Swifts along with a few Common Swifts.  On the cliff face a couple of Blue Rock Thrushes joined the resident Blackbirds and we duly recorded both Rock Sparrow and Rock Bunting.  The most handsome male Black Redstart was a delight to follow as it fed off the rock face.  A Great Tit was busy feeding in the tree in front of the group.  having also seen both Stonechats and a couple of Crag Martins we continued on our merry way.

The continuous tour round this beautiful scenery produced a number of Linnets, Corn Bunting and a range of warblers including good sightings of Dartford Warbler.  Before making a stop at some high altitude miradors we had both Wood Pigeons and House Martins but, having found our first Booted Eagle, we were soon confronted by the first of two Bonelli's Eagles and at least three Short-toed Eagles.  Our last major stop in an area well known for its Spectacle Warblers produced both Black and Black-eared Wheatears.  A later short stop confirmed not only both Stonechat and Linnet but a single Orphean Warbler.  Having all got out of our various cars, a look across the road produced our only Southern Grey Shrike on top of a wire fence along with both Crested and Thekla Larks in the area.

Whilst my short list may have been only about forty, the group, as a whole, managed to record just about fifty species during the morning including Peregrine Falcon, Melodious, Sub-alpine and Spectacled Warblers.

My bird list for the Serrania de Ronda:
Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Alpine Swift, Common Swift, Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Black-eared Wheatear, Black Wheatear, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Dartford Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Orphean Warbler, Great Tit, Golden Oriole, Southern Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Goldfinch, Linnet, Cirl Bunting, Rock Bunting, Corn Bunting.


Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.

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