Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Huetor Tajar, Granada Province

Tuesday 17 January 2017

What a difference you notice at this time of the year when you travel both inland and to higher altitudes.  Clear, warm and sunny on the Mezquitilla coast with night temperature of about 11 rising to 20C+during the day.  Approaching Loja the temperature had dropped to just 2C and the first part of my morning visit to Hueter Tajar started at a a very chilly 4C!  The idea was to try and find the wintering flock of Little Bustards but with field workers operating on the opposite field no sign of one.  I re-visited along with twice checking out the other popular site for these interesting birds but the little b stards always seem to know I am coming and make themselves scarce.  On the other hand, well over a hundred Lapwing seen and a count of 156 Stone Curlews, and given how they manage to almost disappear whilst they rest up on the ploughed fields, probably suggests that there were more than two hundred of the latter present.

Just a few of the hundreds of Stone Curlew Alcaravan Comun Burhinus oedicnemus
The visit had started at the top of the town with a walk down the praised path separating the fields and a Grey Wagtail as soon as I set off quickly followed by a number of House Sparrows, Linnets and Black Redstarts.  As I walked the path I found a handful of Tree Sparrows using the bare tree as a resting place then a number of feeding Meadow Pipits and the first of many good-sized flocks of Spotless Starlings.  A couple of Cattle Egrets flew in to feed on the greener field and also a White Wagtail.  Also seen on the path were Sardinian Warbler, Stonechat and Goldfinch.  Just one more new species when a couple of Short-toed Larks put in an appearance.

The track just beyond the Stone Curlew field produced a lovely Little Owl on the roof of the corner house and then a Blackbird.  Whilst on the outskirts of the village near Mick Richardson's house I had a number of Azure-winged Magpies along with Collared Doves.  More Crested Larks in the fields and then a handful of Serin along with many more Linnets as I stopped to admire a resting Iberian Grey Shrike.

The local Little Owl Mochuelo Comun Athene noctua
A Kestrel posed om top of a tall bare tree as I turned to follow the now flowing Cacin river which produced a Green Sandpiper, a few Chaffinches and many feeding Chiffchaffs and finally a first Bluethroat of the year.

Birds seen:
Cattle Egret, Kestrel, Stone Curlew, Lapwing, Green Sandpiper, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Little Owl, Short-toed lark, Crested Lark, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Bluethroat, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Iberian Grey Shrike, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Goldfinch, Linnet.

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

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