Monday, May 23, 2005

Spanish Birding: Day 4

Sunday was pretty slow birding really, and although the White-rumped Swifts were magnificent, there was still some quality birding waiting for us on Monday, our last day.

We spent the day in the Serrias around Grazalema, enjoying the many sights this productive area had on offer. Our first stop was at a small village called El Bosque, which gave us a superb vantage point over the valley.

El Bosque, Spain, 23.05.05 | © Will Bowell

The flowers of course attracted insects with Small Copper being among the many butterflies noted.

Small Copper, El Bosque, Spain, 23.05.05 | © Will Bowell

Outside the village the first Black Wheatear was sat high up on a rock, while below it a singing Melodious Warbler and Serin were found. There were also a few insects here.

Melodious Warbler, El Bosque, Spain, 23.05.05 | © Will Bowell

Cleopatra, El Bosque, Spain, 23.05.05 | © Will Bowell

Royal Burnet, El Bosque, Spain, 23.05.05 | © Will Bowell

As the heat of the day picked up, our past couple of day's experiences taught us things tend to slow down, not so at Villaluengo Pass. One of our stops here produced some brilliant birding and excellent insects as well. At first there seemed little to look at, but as we had learnt from the White rumped Swift and the Saltpans, a bit of time pays and soon the area was alive with birds.

The highlights included a pair of Western Orphean Warblers found by Katie (poo poo-ed at first by myself- sorry Katie!) which showed incredibly well in the shelter of one particular bush. Western Subalpine and Sardinian Warblers were also in the area and Katie and myself had excellent views of a singing Western Olivaceous Warbler.

A couple of Chough flew across one of the peaks, and Katie also found a flock of Alpine Swifts which eventually reached a peak of 7 birds, nesting in one of the cliffs near some Crag Martins. A couple of Rock Buntings gave brief and unsatisfactory views and another Blue Rock Thrush with a Black Wheatear showed briefly.

The butterflies were easier to photograph.....

Marsh Fritillary, Villaluengo Pass, Spain, 23.05.05 | © Will Bowell

Morrocan Orange Tip, Villaluengo Pass, Spain, 23.05.05 | © Will Bowell

Las Covezuela was also pretty good with incredible views of calling Western Bonelli's Warblers- a good call to remember for back in the UK.....

Western Bonelli's Warbler, Las Covezuela, Spain, 23.05.05 | © Will Bowell

Three Dartford Warblers were just outside Grazalema and a perched Short-toed Eagle was good to see. I also saw the only Nuthatch of the trip, here.

On the road to Zahara de la Sierra, we stopped off at the first mirandor which gave us excellent views of Rock and Cirl Bunting.

Rock Bunting, Grazalema Mirador, Spain, 23.05.05 | © Will Bowell

At Puerto de las Palomes was one of our last stops before the airport, and it provided yet another magic moment for me.

Puerto de las Palomesr, Spain, 23.05.05 | © Will Bowell

Puerto de las Palomesr, Spain, 23.05.05 | © Will Bowell

Not only did we have spectaular scenary surrounding us, but above us swarms of Pallid Swifts were swirlling in there thousands- I have never seen anything like it before! In among them Griffon Vultures seemed to appear from high above us, and gradually got lower and lower. And below our feat, masses of Hummingbird Hawkmoths and a single Broad-boarded Bee Hawkmoth were feeding on the flowers. Throw a couple of Stonechats and a singing Rock Bunting in the mix and you have a brilliant way to finish the trip!

Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Puerto de las Palomesr, Spain, 23.05.05 | © Will Bowell

Griffon Vulture, Puerto de las Palomesr, Spain, 23.05.05 | © Will Bowell

The last bird of the trip, just like the first was House Sparrow as got on the plane at Jerez and the trip list totalled in at 139, with 40 of those being lifers for myself (I know- what a tart!).

My thanks to Brian Stone for inviting me along, and thanks to Brian, Katie and Tony for there excellent company! Cheers guys!

Day 1 >>>
Day 2 >>>
Day 3 >>>

:: wanderings ::


At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Harry Hussey said...

Hi there,
Your trip report brings back memories: a group of us did southern Spain in early May and covered many sites that you also did. Gripped off by the White-rumped Swifts: we were too early for those! Spanish Imperial Eagle, Rufous Bush Robin, Lesser ST Lark, P-t Sandgrouse etc among our best birds. We also failed to get Western Orphean Warbler!

At 1:30 PM, Blogger Eddie said...

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