Friday, 27 January 2017

Ventas de Zafarraya and El Robledal

Thursday 26 January

The last of the three-day car rental so up to the mountains and the old railway track at Ventas de Zafarraya then along to the woods of El Robledal in the shadow of Maroma, the highest mountain in Malaga province.  Not as cold as we had anticipated but my guest for a few hours, Lisette, and I had no luck with the resident Choughs.  House Sparrows feeding in the car park at the mirador and then, looking gown towards the road, our first Rock Bunting of the day.  What a lovely little bird this is with its distinctive head markings.  Off along the track towards the tunnel and we soon added both Robin and Black Redstart.  The first of many Black Wheatears put in an appearance and even a lone Serin came to call at a nearby tree.  Lisette could hear both Blue and Great Tits calling but I was unable to see or hear either.

More Black Wheatears and Black Redstarts on the far side of the tunnel along with a couple of Crag MartinsStonechats popped up here, there and everywhere, a Greenfinch and then the first special of the day, a high drifting immature Golden Eagle.  We had hardly got over the delight when Lisette spotted a tiny speck above the cliff tops and as it drew nearer we could see that it was one of the resident Pergrine Falcons.  The bird seemed to drift away but then, very suddenly, it turned and flashed by to our left before turning and passing almost overhead as it made ts way back to home territory on the cliff face above the tunnel.  What an amazing sight, especially so soon after the Golden Eagle.  We saw a couple of Sardinian Warblers then finally found our first Bue Rock Thrush.  Having seen one of the latter the bird seemed to appear time and again as we made our way back to the car.  As we arrived back at the mirador the Rock Bunting was feeding on the track immediately in front of us and a Great Tit took its rest on one of the railway lines.

Our friendly, inquisitive Robin Petirrojo Europeo Erithacus rubecula

Approacjhing El Robledal we had already recorded Spotless Starling and Collared Dove and the first up was a Robin.  Hearing a variety of tits and Short-toed Treecreeper is one thing, finding them another matter.  But we eventually record Great, Blue, Coal, Crested and Long-tailed Tits. Also seen was a handful of feeding Barn Swallows moving away above the tree tops and very many Chaffinches.

A stop at the "Cirl Bunting Tree" was too late to identify the lone observer at the peak of the tree but trees on the opposite side of the track held a number of Corn Buntings along with a more distant Iberian Grey Shrike.  Similarly, we also had many sightings of the feeding Chiffchaffs and more Robins and then, as we drove back towards Ventas de Zafarraya a Mistle Thrush was seen resting on one of the wires.

Birds seen:
Golden Eagle, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Collared Dove, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Crested Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Iberian Grey Shrike, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Corn Bunting.

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

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