Monday 20 June 2022

Monday 21 June

Just when I assumed that the Arboleas Birding Group had not met last week Dave's report turned up whilst I was sailing the ocean blue, well crossing the Bay of Biscay on my way from Santander to Portsmouth.  Departed yesterday but only able to access the Internet for 45 minutes today so hurriedly got my blogs completed re the drive north then discovered Dave's report had arrive.  So apologies to all for the delay. At a quick glance as my 45 minutes rapidly runs out it looks as if all had a great day.

Sierra de Maria  -  Wednesday 15th June

Boy, has it been hot here for the last week. We were heading for the Sierra de Maria where temperatures are about 7 c cooler than down here near the coast . Juda arrived at my house and we headed north on the E15/A7.  As we gently ascended towards the Velez's we were very pleased to see cloud cover.  As we approached Maria I clocked a perched Woodchat Shrike on a power line.  A Jay flew across our path. 

We met up with a plethora of members at the Repsol Garage cafe.  What with Jacky meeting us at the chapel it made a total of 15 on this trip.  Once at the chapel we were greeted by a perched Rock Sparrow.  We could hear a Golden Oriole coming from the poplar trees.  Eventually a female flew out, but the singing male remained there and unseen!

Bonelli's Warbler (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

I walked towards the fuente, where there was a sodden area caused by an overflow. It was being used as a washing zone for one Subalpine and two Bonelli's Warblers. We scanned the mountain ridge. Jacky spotted the first two resting Griffon Vultures. Once we got our eyes in, we saw quite a few more. En route to the Botanical Garden we added Woodpigeon & House Sparrow. In the gardens Trevor spotted a Chaffinch. Bill was the first to see one of the numerous Crossbills loitering in the tree tops waiting to drop down for a drink. A number of us hung around the gardens as the fitter amongst us did the lower walk. We added Coal Tit, Blackbird and Mistle Thrush. Jacky found a Blue Tit. Juda spotted a flight of Griffon Vultures travelling from the ridge. I spotted two Ravens amongst them. Barrie said they'd seen a Subalpine Warbler and a Firecrest. Upon returning to the car, Jacky spotted a Magpie.

Female Crossbill (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We drove in convoy to the old farm buildings.  I didn't see the 40 odd plume of Griffon Vultures!  A Crested Lark posed well.  There were Barn Swallows flying around.  Trevor added a Hoopoe.  Jen located a distant bird of prey.  I checked it out.  It was a Griffon Vulture, but below it was a smaller raptor. Barrie, with his scope, confirmed it was a Booted Eagle.  Barrie heard a Western Orphean Warbler.

We moved on to the farm trough.  Two White Wagtails flew away from the overflow puddle as we arrived.  Bill heard a Turtle Dove.  It was eventually found in one of the trees.  Jacky & I saw some passing Greenfinches.  A Carrion Crow was heard.  There was a Rock Sparrow at the hamlet.  A Mammoth Wasp, Scolia Ravifrons, was very attracted to Beryl. 

Rock Sparrow (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

On our way to the La Piza forest cafe Bill spotted a Black Wheatear.  On arrival at the cafe, a Jay was on the nut feeder.  Two appeared later as well as an Iberian Red Squirrel.  Also seen were Blue & Great Tits, Collared Doves & Chaffinches.

Crested Lark (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We ended up with 29 species. A great days birding in good company & cooler weather!

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