No sooner had I down the Sierra Tejada circuit on Wednesday than John and Jenny Wainwright were doing a repeat visit, albeit in the opposite direction, the following day. Their account follows and they certainly seem to have seen more birds than I - but they would appear to have dipped on the resident Crossbills and Nuthatches that draw me to the Alcaucin picnic sites in the first place! I just goes to show that, often, the unexpected visit (or in my case leaving the camera behind) can often attract more birds. Not quite sure what the moral of this might be! Anyway, here is John and jenny's account and can anyone identify the mystery snake; to me it does not like Grass, Ladder or Adder?
Zafaraya round trip. 31st May 2012
I had to go into Trabuco today, I had left my bank card in the bank, another dementure moment...so we decided to have a go at your route which we haven´t done for four years due to no 4 x 4. Hope you don´t mind!!!!! (I certainly do not.)
We had to go into Villanuevo del Trabuco today, so after business we headed for Zafaraya.
Along the back road from Trabuco MA4100 we saw Nightingales, House Sparrows, Blackcaps and Linnets. As we joined the A341 to Zafaraya a pair of Rock Buntings flew off of the road, also here we saw Crested Larks.
As we stopped to photograph some Lizard Orchids, we heard Little Owl and saw Chaffinch, Great Tit, Serins and more Linnets. We then drove down to Venta de Zafaraya to the old railway line to pick up the Alpine Swifts that Bob (our esteemed blogger) had seen at the cave.
We couldn´t locate them straight away so we drove about 2km along the track, seeing on the way, Sardinian Warbler, Common Swift, Crag Martins, Rock Buntings and Rock Sparrows. Back at the cave we picked up the Alpine Swifts - we counted six of them as they left the cave - along with several Crag Martins. Above the cliff we saw at least twelve Chough and a Griffon Vulture and on the power lines, two Black Wheatears, a Blue Rock Thrush and a Rock Sparrow. As we came to the newly laid rail track a Common Kestrel flew across the cliff face with something in its talons, disappearing as quick as it had appeared.
Onto the "muck heap" absolute zero..so we decided to have tapas at one of the restaurants before retracing our steps back to the "Sierra de Tejeda" sign turn off.
|Melodious Warbler Zarcero Comun Hippolais polyglotta|
At the La Alcaúca campsite we saw Short-toed Treecreeper, Blue Tit, Serin, Rock Bunting, Wood Pigeon, Chaffinch, Blackcap, Wren, Greater Spotted Woodpecker and heard two Green Woodpeckers. We also had a fleeting visit from two Red-rumped Swallows.
We stopped at the "Mirador" and while Jenny was taking pictures of the Vinuela Embalse, I was hunting down Crested and Long-tailed Tits, another Short-toed Treecreeper and a Great Tit also showed well.
|"Unknown" snake - can anyone please identify?|
We regained the A402 to Alhama de Granada then the A4155 to Salar. On this stretch we saw three Southern Grey Shrikes, five Lesser Kestrels, Corn Buntings, Stonechat, twelve Bee-eaters and a Jackdaw.
A good number of birds for an impromptu visit.
Indeed it was John and jenny and you certainly found some great birds. It makes me feel quite envious and I shall just have to go back out again!!!
All photographs taken on the day by Jenny Wainwright. Many thanks for letting me publish.
Now for the very latest on the mystery snake following a comment from Hiberno Manchego (for which I am most grateful) who informs me that the reptile is a Monpelier Snake Malpolon monspessulanus. Bob Wright
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.