Wednesday, 30 November 2022

 Wednesday 30 November 2022

Whilst Dave and I crossed over between Speen and the UK I even managed to miss him whist relatively close in the UK as Jenny and I took a month-long clockwise cruise round the Med.  But at least Dave, like me, is now back amongst the birds and surprised to see reference to "ice" as I thought I was now the one living in the cold and rainy place! Just like me on the south coast of Britain you seem to have found some good birds and almost completely different to me, especially as I recorded 38 local species yesterday and a further 26 this morning along Titchfield Canal which is at the back of the Titchfield Haven bird reserve near the Solent.  So, now that Dave is back in his beloved Spain we can look forward to more reports from the Arboleas Birding Group and wish them all a very successful winter season.

Sierra de Maria  -  Wednesday 30th November

Well it's good to be back in the sun after two months in the UK!

As arranged by Alan, Juda and I headed to the Sierra de Maria.  En route we only clocked a White Wagtail before we reached the cafe in Maria town.  We were joined by Alan, Trevor, Peter, Richard and slightly stressed Kevin.  He'd stayed overnight in his camper van and now had a flat battery. Obviously he needed to get that sorted, so we said our goodbyes and made our way to the chapel.  On the way up we saw Black Redstart, Chaffinch and Mistle Thrush.  We had a short wander around the car park and surrounds.  Two Blackbirds flew between trees in the fields below.  Richard thought one of them might have been a Ring Ouzel.  Also seen were Serin, Great Tit and a single Crossbill high up in a tree.  I spotted a Cirl Bunting.  A scan of the mountain ridge proved birdless.

     We then convoyed around the "loop".  Nothing of note was seen in the forest zone, but we had better luck driving through the agricultural fields.  We saw small flocks of Thekla Lark, but larger ones of Rock Sparrow.   Also seen were Carrion Crow, Magpie, Stonechat and Corn Buntings.

     We stopped just prior to the village to have a scan.  Apart from some Collared Doves, Alan found an Iberian Grey Shrike and Trevor spotted a Sardinian Warbler.  We carried on along the track seeing more Black Redstarts, Stonechats and Thekla Larks.  Juda and I missed the Dartford Warblers found by Alan and Trevor in the car behind us.  We saw more Carrion Crows.  One corvid group I checked turned out to be about half a dozen Red-billed Chough.  There were large flocks of Woodpigeon.  Juda then spotted a Sparrowhawk flying over.  Richard meanwhile in the rear car spotted a Zitting Cisticola.  A pair of Kestrel flew over.  The cliff face was devoid of birdlife, but we did flush a covey of Red-legged Partridge on the far side.  Trevor spotted a Great Tit in the shrubs.  Carrying on Juda spotted two Iberian Green Woodpeckers on an avenue of trees.  We flushed a Hoopoe and saw a small flock of Northern Starlings.  A Little Owl was briefly perched atop a traffic sign and Alan identified a Skylark.

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

We were pleased to see Kevin at the hamlet with an engine running camper van.  He'd been there about 40 minutes waiting for us.  He'd seen two Little Owls plus Thekla Larks and Black Redstarts.  After a fruitless scan we headed along the plain see two more Little Owls.  Nothing new was seen at the water troughs so we headed for the La Piza forest cafe.  As we egressed our vehicles two Griffon Vultures flew over.  Unfortunately, the pool was iced up and there were no nuts in the feeders so we only added Coal Tit, Robin, Chiffchaff and Jay.  Also seen were more Chaffinches and another Crossbill.
We ended up with 37 species. Lovely sunny day but a bit chilly. Great to be back!

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