Tuesday 14 January 2020

Ventas de Zafarraya

Tuesday 14 January

Arriving at the mirador at Ventas de Zafarraya it was calm and sunny with a little hazy cloud but certainly on the cold side.  Indeed, frost still on the ground in shaded areas but, with height, came the chance to still see the Almond blossom and along the old railway track a lovely carpet of Broad-leaf Iris.

A few Goldfinches upon arrival and as I walked towards the old tunnel both Black Redstart and Stonechat.  Soon after the tunnel the first of four Black Wheatears and then a female Sardinian Warbler.  But generally quiet until I reached the old track-side ruin with a Kestrel perched on top of a large, spindly tree to my left.  In front of me a trio of Rock Buntings and more Stonechats.  On top of a pylon in front pf me a male Blue Rock Thrush.  Making my way back a couple of Chaffinches in the spinney below me and then my attention drawn to a quartering Sparrowhawk being mobbed by a quintet of Crag Martins.  Arriving back at the car a score or more Spotless Starlings before setting off for the "growing fields."

The small pond near the picnic area held 26 Mallard and more Goldfinches as I continued on towards the "Magpie Woods" and took the country lane to me left.  Lots of House Sparrows and at least a couple of hundred Ferral Pigeon feeding on the rough fields.  The set-aside field to my left held a trio of Mistle Thrush and a small flock of Linnets and Chaffinches.  More Mallards at the main pond and then a stop on the way back to the main road led to the sighting of a single Robin and then a small flock of Lesser Short-toed Larks along with more Mistle Thrushes.

Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus on the wires
White Wagtails on the road as I approached the Magpie Woods and almost immediately an Azure-winged Magpie passing on the left.  Through the woods and off to the left where I found an Iberian Grey Shrike.  Approaching the end of the arable fields a small finch flock in the trees near the small building and, wonder of wonders, including a Brambling.  Immediately over  the crossroads and I saw the first of a dozen Magpie and then a large flock of almost one hundred Wood Pigeons to my right.  Seven Red-legged Partridges on the road and then, on a small pile of stones a Little Owl.

Iberian Grey Shrike Lanius meridional
At the cross-roads itself a small number of Corn Bunting and a male Blackbird flitted across the road.  A detour along the paved road to my right as I started out on the return journey produced more Chaffinches, a second Little Owl and a Buzzard.

Fast disappearing Buzzard Buteo buteo
Only just midday so decided to pay a short visit to El Robledal in the hope that I might pick some new birds for the year including a woodpecker.  No such luck.  However, I did add a Jay to more Chaffinches, Black Redstart, Robin, Blackbird and House Sparrows.

Birds seen:
Mallard, Red-legged Partridge, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Little Owl, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Sardinian Warbler, Iberian Grey Shrike, Jay, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, Goldfinch, Linnet, Rock Bunting, Corn Bunting.

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