Wednesday 20 April 2022

Sierra de Maria with the Arboleas Birding Group

 Wednesday 20 April

Well, well, well!  Here's me walking the lanes and shore in just a top, even if not as bright and warm as last week, and Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group are up n the Sierra de Marie braving snow flurries - and it's even late April! And least they got some value for money, and I don't mean coffee, with the damp Little owl and a selection of tits.  I hate to tell you that I was logging a trio of Dartford Warblers plus Whitethroat and others in what I thought was an average morning.  All I can say Dave is please get the weather sorted before next week!  And my friend Chris from Worksop, who also reads your reports, was complaining that his visit to Potterick Carr yesterday only produced one Marsh Harrier and two booming Great Bitterns in his total of almost 50 species!  Ah well, that's birding.

Sierra de Maria   -   Wednesday 20th April

As I was getting ready to leave my house this morning there was rain, thunder and lightning.  My logic was that thunderstorms usually pass quite quickly.  I headed towards the Overa hotel where I was to meet up with my fellow hardy birders.  I received a text, thinking one was backing out, but no, it was Gilly to say she'd seen a Roller on her way to work!  Peter and Trevor soon arrived, so we headed north in my truck, passing through rain showers.  Optimistically I kept saying, " It looks a bit brighter over there!"

We got to the garage cafe in Maria not having logged a single bird.  After a refreshing coffee we commenced to do the loop.  After a few kilometres a Chaffinch flashed its wing bars as it flew across our path.  Next up was a Thekla Lark followed by a charm of Goldfinches. We then had a Magpie, Carrion Crow and some Spotless Starlings.  The rain hitting the windscreen now appeared to contain ice crystals!  Along the track heading towards the cliff face there is a ruined building.  I spotted a Little Owl sheltering from the sleet.  A Black-eared Wheatear showed briefly.  We drove slowly past the cliff face, not getting out due to the snow now falling!  Some Red-legged Partridges ran in the road before us.  We next added a male Northern Wheatear and some Woodpigeon.  Nothing was added till we got to the hamlet.  Amongst the grazing Thekla Larks were a few Linnets.  There was nothing at the water troughs so we made for the La Piza forest cafe.  It was busy with sheltering forest rangers, but we managed to get seats overlooking the water pool and feeding area.  We added Blue, Great and Coal Tits plus a Jay and a Collared Dove as well as a number of Chaffinch.

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

Definitely not a day for the feint hearted.  Thinking back, I believe it is the first time I've actually birdwatched in a snow flurry whilst living here in Spain for the last 21 years!  We managed to scrape together 18 species.  Thank you Trevor and Peter for making it a memorable day!
P.S.  Alan...glad you missed it??

Yes, that's snow! (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

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