Saturday, 4 June 2016

Cazorla, Jaen Province with John and Jenny

Tuesday 31 May - Thursday 2 June

Whilst I have spent this week chasing around getting ready for the drive back to the UK  and, at the same time, trying to get everything in order to complete the sale of Casa Collado, John and Jenny Wainwright managed to get away for a few days to Cazorla and district in Jaen Province.  As John reported back to me. the raptors may have been a little disappointing but it was a really wonderful place for a few days.

Very hot days and up to 40C .

As we approached the village we spotted one Bee-eater above the olive groves, a Common Magpie on the wires and two Little Owls on a barn ruin, then a Common Kestrel. After finding the hotel and depositing our gear in the room, we set off for the Nava de San Pedro area.

Chaffinches were heard all the way up the A319 and as we stopped at the Puerto de las Palomas mirador on the telegraph wires to our rear we saw a Corn Bunting and a Stonechat.  Below us a Black Wheatear flew from rockpile to rockpile, but apart from this nothing else about, until we set off again and a Carrion Crow flew across the road and into the firs, it kept its distance from us as we followed it down the road and finally departed down the mountainside.  We then picked up the tarmacked road to Nava de San Pedro where we found Chaffinches, Griffon Vultures, Cuckoos, Great Tits and as we came upon a grassy glade a beautiful male Fallow Deer was spotted, alas, the cameras were too slow to capture him.



Carrion Crow Corvus corone (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
From here we the road turned to track for the next 3km and as we parked up at the Nava de San Pedro building we noted a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Bonelli´s Warbler, Sardinian Warbler and Mistle Thrush. We drove along this track for another 5km seeing en route Wood Pigeons, Melodious Warbler, more Carrion Crows, Blackcaps and a few Jays.  We were getting hungry now so we retraced our steps noting a Red Squirrel that had ventured onto the road and while we photographed it a Nightingale started singing followed by a Blackbird.  As we neared Cazorla a Red-legged Partridge was seen as well as Collared Dove and another Corn Bunting, very little in the way of hirundines only a few Barn Swallows were noted, our one and only Black Redstart here also.

The next day we started off to find another hotel - as the last one was not up to much -  which we did on the A319 just outside Burunchel (more on this later).  We were heading for the Embalse del Tranco about 50km away, although the road was very twisty it was surprisingly empty of traffic and good views were had of more Carrion Crows, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Griffon Vultures.  As we came out of the (thankful shade of the pines) a Black Kite passed over but quickly disappeared in the trees to our left, so we parked up to get views of it but no luck, but we did spot a very pale Common Buzzard atop a rock in the distance.


Accommodation just when needed  (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

Moving on we reached the Traco dam and apart from House Martins, a Barn Swallow and Common Swifts, very little else was seen although we heard Cetti´s Warblers regularly. Heading back in a very roundabout route to our new hotel, we stopped for a break in the pines, whereupon I went for a walk and Jenny stayed about the car area, much to her disappointment as on my small walk I picked up a calling Scops Owl and as I passed a hawthorn bush the bird flew off of a branch and down into the forest. Moving down the mountain we spotted three Fallow Deer - all females - feeding at the roadside, another Red Squirrel and that was it until the hotel.


Fallow Deer Dama dama (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)
After unpacking we decided to have a walk around the hotel grounds, here we saw Blackcaps, Blue and Great Tits, Melodious and Sardinian Warblers, two Raven were calling from a bare tree at the back of the hotel and as we retired to the shade of the bar, we spotted two Spanish Ibex  - on what seemed to us a sheer cliffside, feeding in and on the bushes there. We were told that there was a family of wild Boar came to feed in the orchard outside our window, so after dinner, we gave up some of our bread rations to bait the area. In the morning the bread had gone but we had fell asleep and missed them.


Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopus major (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

Next morning we decided to head over to the viewpoint(hide) on the JV7107 (off the A322, just outside Cazorla), nothing extra than what we had already seen until the hide, where we saw Alpine and Common Swifts, House and Crag Martins, Barn and Red-rumped Swallows.  Scoping the cliff face from the hide area we noted several Griffon Vultures on their nests with chicks, also here were good numbers of Red-legged Chough and Carrion Crows, one Booted Eagle was seen here and in the wooded areas we heard Green Woodpeckers and Cuckoos, while in the firs at the back of the hide Short-toed Treecreepers were noted as were Linnets, Goldfinches, Blue and Great Tits. We drove around the track and then walked down to see the cliff face below the hide, here we saw Common Kestrel but nothing more.  Coming down the mountainside a Red Deer doe was feeding at the forest edge but she saw us and hurtled down through the forest.


Blue Tit parus caeruleus (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)

So making our way home we picked up another Common Buzzard and an Azure-winged Magpie.
Pity about the lack of raptors (especially the Lammageier) but another visit is a must in the near future.
PS: If you are a scenery buff, this is a must visit as it was absolutely fabulous (what about the "Bike House" then, isn´t it quaint!!!


The well-known "Bike House" (PHOTO: Jenny Wainwright)


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

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