Sunday 18 April 2021

Ventas de Zafarraya and Alcacin

 Sunday 18 April

A beautiful clear and sunny start to the day so time to visit the old railway track near Ventas de Zafarraya and walk the stretch to the tunnel in Malaga province.  leaving Algarrobo Costa the Pallid Swifts were swirling above the seaside apartment blocks and Monk parakeets were yet again flying back and forth with snippets of twigs in their beaks.  A male Blackbird crossed th road in front f me and approaching the motorway I also recorded House Sparrows, Spotless Starlings and Barn Swallows. Pleased to also note a few House Martins passing through the Vinuela area albeit I could , perhaps, happily have forgone the Rock Doves.

Once at the mirador above Ventas de Zafarraya I was amazed to see the number of motorhomes parked up, so much so that there was little room for visiting cars.  Choughs were calling and soon seen and as I exited the old railway tunnel a Linnet flew up to the rocks above the  tunnel entrance.  The first of a few Sardinian Warblers was seen soon afterwards and then followed both Rock Bunting and Stonechat.  It took a fair while to find my first Blue Rock Thrush but I was eventually to record another three.  

Spot the male Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius

As I scanned the area near the old ruin I found a Kestrel and as I started back a handful of Goldfinches flew over.  A Great Tit was posing well but I was back to the tunnel before I found the first of two Black Wheatears.  Meanwhile, a Rock Sparrow was exploring the rocks above the tunnel and a couple of Crag Martins had returned to their traditional nesting site.  More Crag Martins were making use of the smaller cave further away from the tunnel

Distant Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura

Still not  yet 11.30 so decided to return home by taking the mountain track through the woods and past the picnic area to Alcaucin.  Stopping at the upper picnic site I immediately recorded Chaffinches, Blackbird and a departing Wood Pigeon.  However, pride of place must surely go to the Cuckoo that was loudly calling from below me and continued calling as it moved slightly up the valley.  So on down to the main picnic area which was bursting at its seems with visitors out to make the most of the beautiful day and enjoy their barbecues.  A trio of Crossbill were on show at the top of a Eucalyptus tree opposite the car park and climbing up through the wooded picnic area I managed to find myself alone; presumably the visitors being more interested in the barbecue area.  More Great Tits and even a Blue Tit before, as my last bird of the morning, a Great Spotted Woodpecker was busy tapping away nearby.

Female Crossbill Loxia curvirostra

Birds seen:

Kestrel, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Cuckoo, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pallid Swift, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Stonechat, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Dove, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chough, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Crossbill, Rock Bunting.

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