Wednesday 19 May 2021

Sierra de Maria with the Arboleas Birding Group

 Wednesday 18 May

Good to see Dave out with an almost full compliment of the Arboleas Birding Group and also finding some good birds.  Even after all my new bird yesterday up in Daimiel I am still to see both a Little Bittern and a Short-toed Eagle.  Have to see where you are off to next week!  The Short-toed Eagle was certainly a great sighting but then also Golden Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Lesser Kestrel and Hobby; you were well and truly spoiltl!

Sierra de Maria   -   Wednesday 19th May

Decided to head off to our favourite local birding destination this morning....the Sierra de Maria.  The weather looked good and it will be nice to escape the hotter temperature that have recently been endured!  Juda and I left from my house and headed north in a roundabout sort of way, now that we can enter the Murcia region.  As we passed the cliff face just outside Velez Blanco, a Blue Rock Thrush passed the front of the truck.  A good start.

We met up with Peter, Adrian, Trevor, Michael and Karen at the Repsol garage cafe in Maria town.  As we drank coffee about 20 House Martins were nesting under the garage canopy.  We also saw Common Swift, House Sparrow and Spotless Starling.

I decided we'd miss out the Botanical gardens and "do" the loop.  As we convoyed down to the right turn, the start of the loop, I spotted three Griffon Vultures soaring to our left.  We didn't see any birds to begin with, but as we drove round some narrow bends we were greeted by a low flying Short-toed Eagle.  As bad luck would have it, I couldn't stop because...A) narrow bends .....B) a huge lorry was following the convoy!  No photo then.  We carried on, seeing Thekla Lark, Carrion Crow and a perched Little Owl.  A pair of Calandra Lark flittered over a wheat field.  I had a brief glimpse of a Rock Sparrow.  Behind our vehicle, and out of our view, Trevor, Michael and Karen had a good view of a probable Golden Eagle.  As we approached the village a Raven was seen. 

Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra (Photo: David Elliott-Binns)

We stopped at the start of the track.  Griffon Vultures were soaring behind the village.  I spotted a Goldfinch on a power line and Karen saw a Magpie.  Also seen were a Corn Bunting and a Collared Dove.  We carried on along the now revamped track seeing more Thekla Larks and Corn Buntings.  Juda then spotted a Roller over the far side of a field to our left. 

Roller Coracias garrulus (Photo: David Elliott-Binns

I added a Stonechat and a Zitting Cisicola near the reed bed area.  A pair of Bee-eaters flew out of a low sandy roadside bank.  We didn't stop. We stopped one side of the cliff face.  All we could find were nesting House Sparrows. We could hear a Nightingale. We walked to the far side of the cliff face.  I eventually found a Black Wheatear on some rocky outcrop to our left. Further down the road to our left we saw another pair of Bee-eaters.

Bee-eater Merops apiaster (Photo: David Elliott-Binns)
I found a Spotted Flycatcher in the same area.  We moved on.  Juda and I were some distance ahead of the other two vehicles.  Two falcon type birds flew from an isolated tree to our left and began to gain height.  Couldn't believe my eyes.  A pair of Hobbys.  Sadly they had disappeared into the ether before the others joined us.  We carried on into the cave house hamlet and was amazed to find a Red-billed Chough on top of a pylon.  Just along the power line was another Bee-eater.

Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorrax (Photo: David Elliott-Binns)

En route to the hamlet at the end of the plain I spotted a Black-eared Wheatear fly across the road in front of us as did a Short-toed lark species.  At the hamlet there was a female Lesser Kestrel sitting on top of their nesting barn roof.  A photo later revealed that it had been ringed. 

Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni (Photo: David Elliott-Binns)

Nothing else was seen, so we headed along the plain.  We stopped when I spotted a perched Little Owl.  Our intention was to stop at the water trough, but 100+ goats beat us to it!  Plan B was to head for the La Piza forest cafe.  En route I found a Mistle Thrush.  There were no nuts in the feeders, so no activity there.  Peter spotted a Jay and Adrian, a Blackbird.  Above us a plume of 35+ Griffon Vultures soared.

Only 33 species seen today, but some crackers amongst them! Great company.
Regards, Dave

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

No comments:

Post a Comment