Thursday, 17 June 2021

Sierra de Maria with the Arboleas Birding Group

 17 June 2021

The penultimate visit of the Arboleas Birding Group before the summer recess certainly managed to find a few more good birds to whet the appetite and dream on what might be around come the autumn.  For me, the chance to once more find the local Trumpeter Finches and Dotterel up at Cabo de Gata so I shall certainly be watching Dave's future visits for evidence of same.

Sierra de Maria   -   Wednesday 16th June

For the penultimate trip out before our two month summer break, I decided we'd try and escape the heat and head up into the mountains of the Los Velez natural park at Maria.  Juda came to my house to be picked up.  We then drove to the Overa hotel on the E15/A7 to collect Neville.  En route to Maria we didn't notice any birds.  As we sat outside the Repsol garage cafe in Maria town with Adrian, Peter and Trevor, we saw both House Martins and Common Swifts.  I made the decision to "do" the loop, missing out the Botanical gardens.  A correct decision as it turned out because it began to rain as we made our way to the village.  We noted Woodpigeon and Collared Dove.  I spotted a distant Little Owl perched on a hump on the horizon.  The next bird seen was an Iberian Grey Shrike near the solar panel.  A Red-legged Partridge flew off as we approached.  Nearing the village there was a Northern Wheatear on a ploughed field. 

Little Owl Athene noctua (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

At the village we turned left onto the track and parked up, the rain having stopped.  From there we added Spotless Starling and the first of many perched Corn Buntings.  A dishevelled Northern Wheatear was unusually perched on a leafless shrub.  We carried on, Adrian, Trevor and Peter following behind. We spotted numerous Black-eared Wheatears, Corn Buntings, House Sparrows and Thekla Larks.  Also seen were Linnets.  We then found a pair of Rollers, which showed well but some distance away.  A number of Magpies and Carrion Crows were seen before we found some small flocks of Red-billed Chough.  At the cliff face I spotted a perched Bee-eater.  We could hear both Nightingale and Turtle Dove.  We walked to the far side of the cliff and saw another pair of Bee -eaters and a purring Turtle Dove.  As I walked back to the truck, Juda thought she saw a distant Griffon Vulture.  Carrying on we had flybys of Serin, Hoopoe, Sardinian Warbler and Rock Sparrow.  A Little Owl showed well from its roadside perch.

Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

 A presumed Lesser Kestrel flew by as we were nearing their breeding hamlet.  A confirmed sighting of one there. At the water trough we saw more Serin and another Northern Wheatear.

Dishevelled Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We adjourned to the La Piza forest cafe for lunch.  The bird feeders attracted Crested, Blue and Coal Tit.  A Jay also took some nuts and bread. Chaffinches and a Blackbird made an appearance.  On the way out we saw a Mistle Thrush.  Juda spotted the plume of 20+ Griffon Vultures riding the air currents as we approached Maria town.

Crested Tit Parus cristatus (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We ended up with 35 species.  A good days birding in muggy conditions!
Regards, Dave

Jay Garrulus glandarius (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

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

No comments:

Post a Comment