Thursday 29 September 2022

Sierra de Maria with the Arboleas Birding Group

Wednesday 28 September

For his last weekly outing before heading back to the UK for his "sabbatical," Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group were once again at the Sierra de Maria and, as you might expect, some great birding sightings recorded.  Lovely to see such a large following and rewarded by Short-toed Eagle, Kestrels and Griffon Vultures not to mention the larks and Black Wheatear.  With Alan in charge for the next couple of months, no doubt Dave and I will enjoy reading about their future adventures.  Meanwhile, all being well, as I, too, will be back to relatively nearby Warsash on Southampton Water, perhaps a chance to catch up with Dave and Gilly on "foreign" territory for a little birding and socialising.  Although, strictly speaking, now that I have relocated back, perhaps I am already on foreign territory for the next week!

Sierra de Maria  -  Wednesday 28th September

For my last trip out before our two month "holiday" to the UK, Cabo de Gata being a dry desert (See Bob Wright's latest blog!) I decided we'd return to the Sierra de Maria.  I took Juda up to the Repsol Garage in Maria town where we met up with Alan, Peter, Trevor, Richard and Pat, Jim and Wendy, Mike and Kierston (Hope I spelt that right!) and finally Barrie and Beryl.  En route the latter couple had logged Sardinian Warbler, Blackbird, Barn Swallow, Northern Starling and Collared Dove.  Juda and I saw "nada"!

After a refreshing cup of was a bit chilly!. we made our way towards the loop.  Leading the convoy I spotted a solitary Kestrel and a Magpie.  Alan had handed me a walkie talkie so we were able to communicate front to back.  As we travelled towards the village I spotted three circling Griffon Vultures, Chaffinch. Goldfinch, Corn Bunting and Stonechat.  Barrie, who was in Trevor's car directly behind, added Short-toed Lark, House Sparrow, Crested Lark and Carrion Crow.  Alan had a Barn Swallow.  We saw small groups flying past all morning.  At the village stop a Corn Bunting showed well, but we added nothing to the list.   As we headed to the cliff face we saw numerous Corn Buntings, Stonechats, Carrion Crows and Goldfinch as well as flocks of Woodpigeon.  As I approached the cliff face I spotted a Blue Rock Thrush perched on top.  I stopped at a reasonable distance to allow the others to catch up and see it.  Barrie saw some Serin.  We walked to the far side.  As we were about to return Alan found a Spotted Flycatcher.  Wendy who'd stayed with the cars described a bird she'd seen.  Black bird with white bum....Black Wheatear!  We carried on.  A covey of about 10 Red-legged Partridge flew across the road.  At the big green barn I spotted an Iberian Grey Shrike on a pile of twigs.  The others had seen a Yellow Wagtail and Linnet.  As we neared the hamlet Juda spotted something flying to our right.  Not one but three Kestrels.  Definitely Commons not Lessers. There were more at the hamlet. Barrie spotted (eventually) three Little Owls on or near the barn where Kevin got a great photo on our last visit. 

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

Heading towards the farm trough we had three Northern Wheatears.  Barrie also saw a Calandra Lark. Juda and I saw a Short-toed Lark near the trough.  Mike spotted a Short-toed Eagle which was close to a 24 strong flume of Griffon Vultures.  Kierston added a White Wagtail.

We made our way to the La Piza forest cafe.  Richard saw a Crossbill.  A couple of Jays made an appearance.  There were no nuts in the feeders so no bird action in front of the table I was sitting at. Barrie's table saw all the common titmice....Crested, Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed.

The end of a great morning's birdwatching in fab company!  38 species seen.  Alan is now in charge for two months.  If you're intending to holiday in the area and want to go out on a trip, email me and I'll pass your email on to him.

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