Wednesday 15 March 2023

Sierra de Maria with the Arboleas Birding Group

 Wednesday 15 March

Having experienced two lovely sunny days plus this morning with hardly a breath of wind, I left Southampton's Guildhall a the end of the afternoon's T-Dance session to discover that the wet stuff had once more returned.  However, much cheered up by receiving, reading and publishing Dave's report of the Arboleas Birding Group's visit to the Sierra Maria this morning.  Great to think that you saw a trio of Golden Eagles as well as the Ravens.  Even the Rock Buntings are lovely birds to observe.  All I now have to do is hope for drier weather when I take a morning walk up the Hamble River on Friday followed by a day in the New Forest on Saturday with the Hampshire Ornithological Society.  Fat chance a Golden Eagle, but I'll happily settle for birds such as Yellowhammer and maybe an early Sand Martin or Barn Swallow.  Perhaps too early to pick up a Hobby.  Look forward to next week's report.

Sierra de Maria:  Wednesday 15th March

The forecast was good today as I headed towards the Sierra de Maria.  I didn't see any recordable birds before I arrived at the Repsol garage cafe in Maria town.  I was joined by Trevor, Phil 2, Phil, Sue, Peter 2, Richard and Peter. Both Phil and Sue and Richard had seen a single Griffon Vulture.  Phil and Sue also had White Wagtail whilst Peter and Richard added Collared Dove, House Sparrow and Spotless Starling.  After a cup of coffee we headed for the chapel.  With Peter 2 now accompanying me, we drove towards the chapel, seeing Blackbird and Goldfinch. Trevor and Peter 2 saw a Black Wheatear.  Once parked, we scanned the mountain ridge and counted 8 resting Griffon Vultures.  Peter 2 found a Robin.  Richard added Great Tit, Magpie and some Jays.  Moving towards the water trough (dry) Phil spotted a male Crossbill high up in one of the Poplar trees.  Sue found a pair of Coal Tits eyeing up a hole in a wall.  Some Woodpigeon flew over.  Peter added a Chaffinch.  We began to walk up towards the information centre.  Due to Richard's mobility problems he and Peter headed off to do the loop.  I spotted a pair of Rock Buntings disappearing over a large bush.  The Griffons meanwhile had woken up in the sun and there began to be movement.  The number rose during the morning culminating in a plume of about 35 individuals. 

Male Crossbill (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Reaching the gardens we saw more Crossbills.  A Short-toed Treecreeper gave good views.  We paused at Adrian's memorial to remember him . We did the lower walk and added a Long-tailed Tit.  I had a scan of the mountain ridges.  I spotted three large birds of prey which didn't have the "Griffon jizz". Couldn't believe it.  Three immature Golden Eagles.

Adrian's Plaque (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Getting back to the vehicles we made our way to the farm buildings, Phil adding a Serin en route.  We only saw some Carrion Crows and Crested Larks.

At the water trough we saw White Wagtails, more Carrion Crows.  We heard a Hoopoe which Phil eventually found. We convoyed down the plain.  We had Linnets, Serins and a perched Kestrel.  I found a Thekla Lark perched on a roadside rock.  I missed the female Black Redstart close by until Peter 2 pointed it out!  I did better at the hamlet spotting a plume of six distant Ravens.  As we headed back along the plain I saw a Rock Sparrow on top of the small ruin.  As we passed the farm buildings two Barn Swallows flew by.

As we ate our lunch at the La Piza forest cafe, we watched Crested, Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tits coming to the feeders.  The staff had replenished one of the feeders with peanuts.  Chaffinches and Crossbills came to feed and drink.  We were joined by Richard and Peter after their loop trip.  To the list they added Grey Wagtail, Red Billed Chough, Red Legged Partridge, Calandra Lark, Rock Dove and Corn Bunting.

The almond trees were blossoming! 
(PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

A very enjoyable days birding in great company.  We ended up with 39 species.  Highlights for me were the three Golden Eagles and the six Raven.

Extra photo treats taken by Phil:

Distant immature Golden Eagle (PHOTO: Phil)

Short-toed Treecreeper (PHOTO: Phil)

Crested Tit (PHOTO: Phil)

For the latest news follow the Axarquia Birds and Wildlife Facebook page for more photos and comments and the opportunity to share with the wider birding world.

No comments:

Post a Comment