|Red-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)|
|Bee-eater (Merops persicus)|
|Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucura)|
For we early arrivals there was the chance to pick up an early Rock Sparrow and then, for all of us a single soaring Short-toed Eagle. The next hour or so was spent travelling along the old railway track, through the tunnel and on up the the ruined railway cottage about a kilometre beyond. Moving up towards the tunnel there was no shortage of feeding House Martins and a couple of Blue Rock Thrushes plus a Black Wheatear. Nearer to us, a number of feeding Goldfinches including many juveniles. All very quiet on the rock face itself soon through the tunnel and, almost immediately, the desire to try and find some shade from the sparsely scattered thin trees as we travelled on. More and more Goldfinches and then the first of many Stonechats. Meanwhile, overhead, a pair of Short-toed Eagles quickly followed by a pair of Booted Eagles.
|Adult and juvenile Stonechat (Saxicola torquatus)|
By the time we had reached the old cottage to retrace our steps, both Sardinian and Dartford Warblers had been picked up and then the arrival of small flock of 20 plus Bee-eaters; very beautiful. A single Melodious Warbler with its beautiful yellow breast and the odd Blackbird before, finally, the arrival of at least 20 Chough. Against the rocks, numerous feeding hirundines, mostly Crag Martin but with the occasional Barn Swallow. Just before re-entering the tunnel, a lone male Black Redstart stopped for a short rest on the side wall and then it was off to the former "estacion", now a bar, for a well-earned coffee.
|The return of the Choughs (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)|
Very quiet driving through the wooded area with not a single Azure-winged magpie on either journey but a diversion to the Cortijo Pilas de Dedil on the track towards the Sierra Loja did produce a (common) Magpie after both Thekla Lark and Black-eared Wheatear near the turn-off. Finally, it was to the old part of Alhama de Granada to have lunch and take a look at the gorge that runs through this fascinating old town in Granada Province. Amazingly, we seemed to have been eating and drinking for ages before the bill finally arrived resulting in us contributing 8 Euros! Definitely use this little bar again. Down in the nearby gorge, the usual large flock of resident Rock Doves plus a pair of Jackdaws, a good-sized flock of Spotless Starlings and a t least 2 Red-rumped Swallows. We even had the odd number of Serin and another charm of Goldfinch.
Our final destination was the pantaneta above the town where, as expected, we were greeted by good numbers of Coot. A single Moorhen and then a lonely Little Grebe before picking out the few Pochard and three young Mallard. Feeding over the water were large numbers of hirundines, mainly House Martins including many juveniles plus a smaller number of Barn Swallow and at least one Sand Martin. David even managed to locate a single Common Swift. The neighbouring little spinney produced Wood Pigeon and another Spotted Flycatcher to add to the bird that was feeding immediately in front of the hide overlooking the water. A rather delightful surprise came with close views of a Willow Warbler and then, as we made our way home, a pair of White Wagtails on the dam.
|Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)|
|We happy band of 8 - if you look carefully!|
Birds seen:Little Grebe, Mallard, Pochard, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Moorhen, Coot, Bee-eater, Swift, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Thekla Lark, Sand Martin, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Black-eared Wheatear, Black Wheatear,Spotted Flycatcher, Serin, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Spotless Starling, Magpie, Chough and Jackdaw. Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Dartford Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Willow Warbler,