After yesterday's fun in the snow it was a damp, cold and cloudy day to take friend Andy Paterson up beyond the Zafarraya Pass to see the Bramblings in the National Park on the Sierra de Tejeda.
There may have been Collared Doves, Spotless Starlings and Crag Martins at the bottom of the mountain but by the time we got to the top there was very little around. Did this mean that we were going to be in for a very disappointing day? Not a bit of it.
A stop at the "muck heap" produced the usual White Wagtails and a couple of Meadow Pipits and then it was on towards the "magpie woods" to look for Brambling. A lonely Robin, a single Mistle Thrush later on and then we struck lucky. At least four beautiful Bramblings sitting in the top of a tree not too far away. But other than that we had only a couple of Chaffinches that we disturbed on the way down the track!
So, on to the little pool above Alhama de Granada, passing Kestrel and at least three individual Corn Buntings on the way. The pool, as yesterday, had copious Coot, plenty of Pochard, a handful of Shoveler plus Cormorant, Moorhen and Little Grebe. So back by the same route and almost immediately a couple of (Common) Magpie quickly followed by sightings of the local Azure-winged Magpies and Jays with Wood Pigeons cooing in the distance.
Reaching the little bar near the old railway bridge we stopped for a coffee and then made our way up to the old railway track to discover that today was to be the "Official Opening" of the new picnic area and Mirador. Loud speakers blasting to check that the whole of Granada province could hear and the display guides had now been completed. This was when luck stepped in! Andy wanted a photograph of said scene but then discovered he had no card in his camera. Not to worry, I could use mine and send on copies by email.
So, having taken the camera out of the car (I had deliberately left it in the car so as to attract more birds - but without success this time) I had it with me when we set off along the track to see what might be about and definitely "tick off" the six regulars; Chough (36 again!), Black Redstart, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Stonechat but Crag Martin.
However, what we did get was a magnificent, once-in-a-life-time, display from an immature male Golden Eagle slowly circling above us and then mobbed from on high by a male Peregrine Falcon. Over and over again the falcon stooped down to drive the eagle away but to no effect. Not content with a one-on-one, the female Peregrine then put in an appearance to see what was going on before retiring to the rock face for a leisurely cruise along the mountain side. What this did illustrate, though, was the great disparity in size between the sexes of Peregrines.
And even better news, when I got home I actually had a collection of reasonable photographs including the Peregrine attack on the Golden Eagle. If I can get the technology correct, the rest of the photos plus, those taken yesterday, should appear on a "google picture blog" on the web. I'll check the correct address and post the link on a new blog as soon as possible.
Summary of Birds Seen during day:
Cormorant, Little Grebe, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Crag Martin, White Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Robin, Stonechat, Black Redstart, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Brambling, Serin, Goldfinch, Linnet, House Sparrow, Corn Bunting, Spotless Starling, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Jay, Chough