Tuesday 11 April 2023

Sierra de Maria with the Arboleas Birding Group

Hawfinch (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Tuesday 11 April 

A different day this week and it proved very fruitful both in terms of quantity and quality as the Arboleas Birding Group venture over to the Sierra de Maria for their weekly birding visit! Good to see that the Woodchat Shrikes are back along with Common Swift and Scops Owl.  And what bout all those hawfinches that were seen by the group! Knowing that I will be back in Spain in just over a month's time I'm beging to drool over all the long-missed species that I might once more catch up on; namely Serin, the shrikes, Spanish Sparrow and Bonell's Warbler to name but a few.  And, hopefully, I might also be allowed to find a Hawfinch!

Sierra de Maria   -   Tuesday 11th April

It was very misty as I left home to pick up Robbie and Charlotte.  Hopefully as we make our way north towards the Sierra de Maria the sun will break through and dissipate the greyness!  Luck was with us. We had clear and sunny skies once we'd got on to the Granada bound motorway.  En route to the La Piza forest cafe where the meeting point was today, we logged Common Swift, House Sparrow, Goldfinch and Magpie.  I'd bought a bag of peanuts to replenish the feeders.  Once done I settled down to see what was attracted to them while Robbie and Charlotte went for a wander . I only saw Jays and a Coal Tit before Albert, Jeni, Sasha and Flora arrived followed a bit later by Trevor.  We added Crossbill, Blue and Great Tit, Woodpigeon and Chaffinch. Albert spotted a Hawfinch. I managed a brief glimpse as Robbie and Charlotte returned having also seen a Hawfinch plus Goldcrest and Serin.  Some Long-tailed Tits made an appearance.  We heard a Scops Owl which was an unexpected bonus.  As we drove back to the main road, Robbie spotted a Sparrowhawk.

Jay (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

We made our way to the chapel adding Spotless Staring on the way.  Having parked up, I scanned the mountain ridge, seeing at least four  resting Griffon Vultures.  These soon took to the air.  Also seen were White Wagtail and Greenfinch.

Albert found a Woodchat Shrike on a shrub as we walked up to the Information Centre.  In the gardens we added Short-toed Treecreeper and Bonelli's Warbler.  I spotted a circling immature Golden Eagle. We heard and later saw a Blackbird.  Bringing up the rear, Robbie and Charlotte had good views of Subalpine Warblers.  They also saw a Firecrest.  I found a pair of Rock Bunting by the veg patch. Eleven Griffon Vultures were circling between us and the mountain ridge.

Woodchat Shrike (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Trevor had to leave early so we carried on to the farm buildings.  A couple of pairs of Barn Swallows were flying around.  We also had a Thekla Lark and a Rock Sparrow, showing off its yellow throat spot.
As we arrived at the water trough I observed a White Wagtail.  By the deposito I found a Linnet.  A Little Owl flew into an almond tree.  A Collared Dove was seen. 

Rock Sparrow (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)
(note the yellow spot on throat)

Driving along the plain we added Carrion Crow and Northern Wheatear to the list.  There were Crested Larks at the hamlet, but no Lesser Kestrels.  On the way back along the plain we saw a Calandra Lark.
We ate lunch at the La Piza forest cafe watching Crested Tit, Crossbills, Chaffinch plus the other Tits seen earlier.  Robbie and Charlotte then found feeding Hawfinch high up in a nearby tree.  Four in all!  A great finale to a great days birding. Love this place.  With a Hoopoe seen on the way home, we ended up with 40 species.

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