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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
Cadiz Province based in Alcala de los Gazules, Winter 2007,
Monday 12th - Friday 16th February
Sunday 11th February - Jerez -Alcala
Arriving at Jerez in the dark meant there was no time for birding other than to tick off the Little Owls calling near the house.
Monday 12th February Lagunas de Puerto de Santa Maria - Bonanza - Laguna Tarelo - La Algaida pine wood - Trebujena marshes - Alcala - Molinos valley
An early start meant we arrived at Lagunas de Puerto de Santa Maria just after dawn. The oft disparaged Laguna Juncosa got us our only Purple Gallinules of the trip and a distant view of Osprey. Laguna Salada was, thankfully, full of water unlike last October, but less happily some of this had spilled over onto the track making access difficult without a hovercraft. . Exploring the edges we found Red-crested Pochards, Black-necked Grebe, Little Ringed Plover, Black-tailed Godwit and Peregrine. A bunch of hirundines were mainly House Martins, but four swift shot over too high to be identified to species level. Search as we might, none of the coots here seemed to be Crested Coot. Next stop was Bonanza saltpans - a new site for me. Access was very straightforward and there is evidently no need to negotiate access at the gate (as per Garcia et al). In fact there didn't seem to be a gate at all! Here the highlights included a good cross-section of waders (including Kentish Plover), more Black-necked Grebes, Flamingos, four Black Storks, 20 Slender-billed Gulls and Booted Eagle. The eagle was a lifer for Norman who was so excited he almost forgot to look at a passing Cormorant! (A scurrilous rumour, I never miss the chance to look at God’s favourite bird- NMcC) The Slender-billed Gulls would have been a suitable adornment on any Gay Rights march since they sported amazingly bright day-glow pink bodies. There was clearly some interspecific competition going on here as they were in open competition with the flamingo’s to see who was the most pink. A short drive quickly took us to Laguna Tarelo. The target species here, White-headed Duck, proved easy to find with 96 birds present, but much less easy to watch as they were bunched on the far side of the Laguna. Heron species was bumped up further by the 70+ Night Heron roosting in the willows. Algaida pine wood is never an easy place to catch up with Azure-winged Magpie (although a lot easier than Grove Ferry!), but a hunch that they may be around the picnic site resulted in the discovery of a party of 21 very mobile birds. Raptors here included Buzzard, Peregrine and Booted Eagle. (which allowed much better views that earlier). We followed the road through the woods, stopping to check every porcine-like tree stump in the hope of seeing Wild Boar until we came out onto Trebujena marshes. The road along the Guadalquivir was better than I recalled, but surprisingly busy - keep a close eye on your rear view mirror before braking! Here we had our first Lesser Short-toed Lark, 400+ Golden Plover, more Flamingos, Hen Harrier, and more Coots to fruitlessly check! Driving through Trebujena we swung south towards Sanlucar to reach the southern access point for the marshes (as noted in 'Birds of the Coto'). Here, as elsewhere, the marismas looked far too wet for sandgrouse (actually they looked marginally too wet for water buffalo), but we did find a flock of 70 Kentish Plover on the wet fields. So it was back to Alcala for the evening. Here 30+ Lesser Kestrels, our first for the trip due to our early start, put on a fine display for us as our first Griffon drifted over the village. (Both new birds for Norman who was only slightly disappointed that there wasn't a cormorant about for comparison!). A quick foray down the Molinos valley failed to produce Blue Rock thrush as hoped, but came up trumps with 40+ Griffons and two Black Storks. Although the latter birds were circling against the light high above the mountains, subtle differences in shape rendered them surprisingly distinctive (although having seen so many White Stork that day probably helped!).
Tuesday 13th February La Janda - Alcala - Molinos valley
Despite an early start the Lesser Kestrels were already up making a good 'first for the day'. The drive over to Benalup was uneventful, but from the start La Janda promised great things with a Bluethroat (and a second one later), Hoopoe, a stunning Black-winged Kite at the farm (JC's first here), Buzzards and many harriers (Hen & Marsh). Unfortunately, just as things were warming up - figuratively and literally - a nail spoilt things by puncturing the tyre which probably cost us several birds. However, making the best of a bad job we did get to put out the nice red warning triangle before we grovelled in the dust. Sadly no other vehicle came along to admire the calm efficiency of ‘los gringos’ or to say ‘Ole’ when we finally got tyre changed. Pity we did not find the fetching fluorescent jackets until later in the trip. The excitement proved too much for us so we went back to the village where we got the tyre repaired for the princely sum of €4.50, but as the garage was closing had to wait until 5 PM to pick up the tyre. We retired to the terrace of the house where, in warm sunshine, the Lesser Kestrel did their best to entertain us. Despite missing out on 'birding time' this was one of the highlights of the trip. All that remained was for Norman and me to nip down to pick up the tyre and then the Molinos Valley again for some late afternoon birding. (John H stayed behind to keep the Lesser Kestrels company). This time the valley lived up to its billing and a couple of Blue Rock Thrush quickly surrendered without a fight! The Griffon roost was smaller than usual with only 30 odd birds present, but sneaking amongst them was a fine adult Bonelli's Eagle! This being my second definite sighting in three visits I suspect that my previous 'probables' (glimpsed or birds at extreme height/distance) were indeed this species. There were also some tiny dots that resolved themselves into rather beefy hirundines which were clearly Crag Martin - albeit very distant ones - a new bird for Norman who shamelessly ticked them! (Actually as they were confidently identified by an observer with years of prior experience and much local knowledge I felt fully justified and anyway it was my only tick of the day - NMcC)
Wednesday 14th February Trafalgar - Barbate - La Janda
We started with some 'unfinished business' from yesterday by driving straight to Trafalgar where we'd intended to go before getting nailed at La Janda. We obviously arrived too early as the sandy pools only had a single Audouin's Gull, but by the time we left numbers built up to 35 birds of various plumages. As an avid lighthouse twitcher, Norman had a double delight in the Trafalgar pharos which sportingly provided shelter for 70 Crag Martin which allowed the fellow to tick them properly! A brief seawatch produced a single a Balearic Shearwater (JC) which Norman promptly trumped by spotting two Cory's Shearwater - a new site tick for JC who'd first missed them here over 35 years ago! A quick bout of texting meant we managed to meet Phil Chantler at Barbate. As NMcC expressed concerns about finding Phil in such a large area, a distant figure was spotted taking a leak whom JC identified as the man himself. This provided us with a useful euphemism for the rest of the holiday! Here, by the bridge over the estuary, we had our only Caspian Terns (8+) and Mediterranean Gull of the trip. Other birds here included a selection of waders and more Audouin's Gull. Unfortunately, we were unable to locate a new 'scrape' here or, more disappointingly, any sign of the re-introduced Bald Ibis. Obviously the upper reaches of the estuary need more exploration, as we are sure there is some really good mud there hardly touched by birders feet.. We then made for the old Venta Retin to view La Janda from the west. One target bird, Crane, was quickly found by Norman, but we were disappointed that it was exactly that - one bird - rather than a flock! In fact, the one crane seemed to be doing the same as us, looking for a flock of cranes. Even with the advantage of altitude it soon gave up and went back to crane land at the far end of La Janda. There were at least four Black-winged Kites here and one put on a fine show for us. Less expected was a single Grey Wagtail. Having been disappointed not to have seen any yesterday, a small flock of Calandra Larks were good to see, but even more intriguing was hearing the abrupt trilling call of Lesser Short-toed Lark (a rare bird here). After last time we decided not to risk the track to venture further into La Janda, so we opted to drive across to Laguna de Medina (and found a Merlin en route). Once again this iconic site under impressed big time with few birds given its size. The latter part of the track was flooded and impassable which doubtless limited the birds we saw and, looking on the bright side, the relative lack of Coots meant we had fewer to check through not to find it's "crested" cousin! However, Medina did have some excellent quality mud and the entertaining site of several strings of Pine processionary moth caterpillars trudging along nose to whatever passes for a caterpillar’s tail. I expect they were grumbling about the mud as well. We detoured on our way back to the village to Laguna de Taraje which might not have the reputation of Laguna de Medina …. just the birds ( and by far the best mud so far. Thick and glutinous, soft and runny, . lumpy and gross and most of it smelling of bull farts! - NMcC). The first surprise was a flock of 30 Spanish Sparrow on the approach road and the second 30 more on the eastern side of the laguna. (JC's first record of this species here in half a dozen visits). Although the absence of ducks was disappointing (what an admission from JC - disappointed at the lack of DUCKS - NMcC) as only a few Mallard and a few of both Pochards were present, Stone Curlew and Snipe were added to the wader list here. But the palm has to go to the kite family as we had several Black, two Red and a single Black-shouldered Kite here. Unfortunately it was too late to do anything about another palm - Palm Dove - that Phil C texted us he'd just found at La Algaida! (Some people really know how to upset and offend! - NMcC)
Thursday 15th February Alcornocales - Grazalema - Espera
As it had been (and still was according to JC!) a sunny bright night when we arose we decided to risk driving into the mountains - a notoriously wet part of Spain. It was still dark as we drove into the Alcornocales , but a couple of brief stops picked up Woodlark, a gang of manic turkeys and a psychotic dog, as well as birds such as Long-tailed Tit and Mistle Thrush seen or heard en route. A Lesser Kestrel over Benaocaz was surely a sign of spring ( but by now we had seen everything on lesser kestrels including the colour of their nasal hairs from the terrace at the house, so seeing one in the distance was a bit of an anti-climax). By now we were entering Grazalema Natural Park. At the viewpoint above a hairpin bend c5km south of Benaocaz we had two stunning Black Wheatear which showed well, if briefly. Here NMcC spotted the only Firecrests of the trip. This excellent little site also had Blue Rock Thrush, an adult Bonelli's Eagle and a Giant Orchid (Barlia robertiana) which JH found growing on the cliff. Passing along the nearby valley we stopped again to scan the slopes which resulted in another sighting of Blue Rock Thrush and Bonelli's Eagle (an immature) and a couple of Choughs were seen briefly by JH. Still further on (that is a few km beyond Villaluenga del Rosario) some rough grazing, rocky ground and a place to pull off invited us to stop. Here we finally caught up with Thekla Lark, Iberian Green Woodpecker and, in retrospect, heard, but did not see, a Rock Sparrow. We also had our second and third Southern Grey Shrikes of the trip (the first being a bird seen by Norman en route only minutes earlier). As we entered Grazalema village, a rocky almond grove caused us to entertain hopes of a visible petronia , but instead sheltered two more pairs of Black Wheatear. Checking out the northern car park that overlooks the village JH located a Cirl Bunting - the first we'd actually seen, though we'd heard many previously. However, none of us could locate our intended species, the notoriously wayward fossilised sprog. Our final stop here was a jaunt up to Puerto de las Palomas which failed to produce an Alpine Accentor. (We probably didn't climb high enough, partly because the discovery of a couple of Spanish shepherds up a tree scrumping pine cones alongside the path had a bit of a Royston Vaysey feel and I thought better of it - NMcC). However, the site did come up trumps with our first Rock Buntings (a surprisingly elusive species) and a couple more Choughs which gave very good views. We were all three feeling pretty intrepid when we noticed locals on push-bikes cycling up this massive hairpin mountain road, apparently for the fun of it. JC offered one some water, but he cheerfully declined before cycling back down to meet his mate and ride back up again! Some people do the weirdest things for fun - as I'm sure the cyclist told his mate when he realised we were birdwatching! As we travelled down the twisting towards Zahara, a Hoopoe appeared to be trying to thumb a lift as it bounced along beside the car. We stopped at a particularly impressive viewpoint along this road and had a fine view of a relict stand of Spanish Fir (Abies pinsapo) on an inaccessible slope. A scan for Ibex proved fruitless, although JC and JH saw a large Fritillary. ( Next time I'll show them a picture of an ibex before we start! - NMcC).
By now the overwhelming urge of a certain party to go and look at Coots dictated a retreat across country towards Arcos and then on to Espera. Fortunately the Lagunas here are again full of water and squelching with several more kinds of mud, but although there were plenty of Coots (and certainly more than we saw at Medina), once again of them were of the right sort! However, a selection of good birds made the jaunt worth while: Black-necked Grebe, Flamingo, White-headed Duck, Red-crested Pochard and another Bluethroat . An immature Bonelli's Eagle here was momentarily puzzling as it was silhouetted and its size wasn't immediately apparent. However, when a Marsh Harrier started mobbing the eagle, it was utterly dwarfed! On our way back to the main road a large flock of Calandra Lark and a second immature Bonelli's Eagle proved a pleasant distraction from the fact that that darn coot was still eluding us!
Friday 16th February La Algaida - Laguna Tarelo - Trebujena
Now that the bypass north of Jerez has greatly eased the route to Sanlucar, the journey here was quicker than anticipated so, despite a fairly leisurely start, we arrived at La Algaida in good time. The possible presence of Palm Dove (Streptopelia stringyensis) here never crossed JC's mind. (Only 75,000+ times in the past 24 hours! NMcM)! Despite phone calls to Phil to check we had the right spot and an hour or more searching we failed to find the bird - or indeed many birds at all in the howling gale. Indeed, the only pigeony type things were a scruffy ex-racing type job that would have given a peregrine dyspepsia, and an intriguing cage with a couple of Barbary dove type-things and a vacant perch big enough for a………? At least these strong winds pushed many of the wildfowl on Tarelo much closer to the hide: 129 White-headed Duck, 200 Pochard, plus a few Mallard and a single Grey-lag Goose that sent Norman into raptures. (Actually it was the Pochard with the green nasal saddle number 40 that put me into raptures - NMcC). Three Squacco Herons were also added to the list here. We then headed for the track that ran along the northern edge of Bonanaza salt pans. Here we had another Black Stork, a few Calandra Lark, 35 Lesser Short-toed Larks and a selection of waders enjoying the saline mud. We then had what was the bird of the trip - a big falcon belting low across the saltings. Norman and JH got better views than JC, but the following plumage details were noted and agreed upon - very pale head (esp. the crown), very 'skinny' moustachial stripes, pale grey upperparts (less bluish than Peregrine), barred tail with a white tip, the under parts were strikingly whitish (flanks and chest were only lightly streaked), the under wing was also very pale with the tip and secondaries showing some dark marks, but the coverts whitish with only had a little streaking to the rear). However, the "what-the-hell-is-that ?" factor was its build for, despite being a large falcon, it had distinctly long and narrow wings (esp. at the base) and a longish tail whilst its manner of flight recalled Hobby more than Peregrine. Despite the brevity of the views, it is hard to escape the conclusion that what we had was an adult Lanner of the North African race. (After returning to the UK we learnt an adult Lanner was seen by John Butler, who was then unaware of our record, on the other side of the Guadalquivir on the 18th ). Unfortunately, the woods were conspicuously free of exotic magpies, but a large mixed flock aerial feeders (including c50 Pallid Swifts) were hawking over adjacent farmland. The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the Trebujena marshes in the hope of a "mudgrouse", but our best discovery was that the hostal rural at the turning to Trebujena serves excellent coffee and cakes!
NB Chozas Marismenas (www.chozastrebujena.com) would be a good place to stay overt for a night or two if you wanted to explore this area more fully or simply get an early start!
All that remained was for us was to return to Jerez airport to fly home after a tremendous trip that, whilst it might produced a few more birds, couldn't possibly have squeezed in any more laughter, good humour and magic moments! For JC it was also a real privilege to enjoy a master class from John in drawing landscapes and from Norman in sketching birds. Brilliant! Before we went the weather forecast suggested heavy cloud cover and rain would be the order of the day, but it was mainly sunny with only a couple of brief showers. Happily, this made birding in the mountains a more viable, and productive, option than we could have hoped. Despite, inevitably, missing some species we "should" have seen, our final tally of 135 species over 5 days birding was a very pleasing particularly as the afternoon we lost due to a puncture probably cost us a number of species. It was interesting to realise that, with a more determined focus on tallying species or just a little more luck, a total in excess of 140 species could be attained here in February.
(With amendments and additional commentary, mainly concerning mud, by Norman McCanch)
Postscript: Prior to our departure a comment had been made likening our little expedition to “Last of the Summer Wine meets Victor Meldrew” . I couldn’t possibly comment…… NMcC
001 - Little Grebe
Present on all suitable waters; less evident that Black-necked Grebe, but probably no less
002 - Great Crested Grebe
The least common grebe (although seen every day except the 13th ). Seen at Lagunas de
Puerto de Santa Maria, Tarelo (Algaida), & Medina and on Trebujena marshes. Usually
amounting to no more than a handful at any one site but 10+ at Medina on the 14th.
003 - Black-necked Grebe
Birds noted at Lagunas de Puerto de Santa Maria (7+ on 12th) , Bonanza saltpans 16+ (on
12th), Laguna Tarelo (Algaida 12+ on the 12th ) and Laguna de Medina (4+ on the 14th) and at
Espera (6 on the 15th). Plumages varied from full breeding glad rags to winter drabbery!
004 - Cory’s Shearwater
Two Cory's Shearwaters passed lazily past Cape Trafalgar on the 14th.
005 - Balearic Shearwater
A single bird at Cape Trafalgar on the 14th.
006 - Gannet
A steady stream of birds passing Cape Trafalgar on the 14th amounting to c60 birds.
007 - Cormorant
Depressingly common for some and a constant delight to others!
008 - Night Heron
70+ birds at Laguna de Tarelo on 12th
009 - Squacco Heron
Three birds at Laguna de Tarelo on 16th
010 - Cattle Egret
The most common 'heron' being widespread in all lowland habitats. Flocks of resting birds
dotted the landscape looking, from afar, more like stands of unopened shaggy inkcaps than real
birds! Largest flocks were on Trebujena where they numbered several hundred birds and they
nightly processed past the terrace to roost.
011 - Little Egret
Far less common than Cattle Egret and more often seen in ones and twos - recorded at Lagunas
de Puerto de Santa Maria, Bonanza saltpans, Laguna Tarelo, Laguna de Medina and Espera.
Largest numbers on Trebujena marshes and Bonanza saltpans where there were in excess of
30 birds, but certainly many more since, after a while, we stopped counting!
012 - Grey Heron
A few birds, perhaps surprisingly few given the habitat, were recorded at all wetland sites visited
013 - Black Stork
Four birds at Bonanaza on 12th and another bird there on the 16th were not entirely unexpected,
but two high over Molinos valley (Alcala) on the evening of the 12th were rather more surprising.
014 - White Stork
Seen daily except for the 15th with 1000+ birds at La Janda on the 13th. Most frequent on the
coastal strip west of the Alcornocales.
015 - Eurasian Spoonbill
15 Spoonbill at Lagunas de Puerto de Santa Maria on the 12th, one at Bonanza on the 12th and
one on theTrebujena marshes on the 16th.
016 - Flamingo
Large numbers (1,000+ ?) of birds on Bonanza saltpans and several hundred on Trebujena
marshes on 12th and 16th. Five birds at Laguna de Espera on the 15th
017 - Greylag Goose
A single bird on Laguna de Tarelo (Algaida) on 16th
018 - Shelduck
About 20 birds on Bonanza saltpans on the 12th and also a few at Barbate on the 14th
019 - Teal
Scarce with 4 birds on Laguna de Medina and one at Espera on the 15th
020 - Mallard
Encountered in relatively small numbers in all wetland habitats
021 - Gadwall
A couple of birds at Lagunas de Puerto de Santa Maria on the 12th and 8 birds at Espera on the
022 - Shoveler
Found in modest small numbers on all of the lagunas explored - no more than 10 - 12 at any
023 - Red-crested Pochard
Recorded at Lagunas de Puerto de Santa Maria (50+ on the 12th), Laguna Tarelo (12th & 15th)
and 35 at Espera (15th) .
Recorded at Lagunas de Puerto de Santa Maria (60 on Laguna Salada on 12th), Taraje (4 on
14th), Espera (40 on 15th) and Tarelo (c200 on 16th).
025 - White-headed Duck
Highest count of 129 on Laguna Tarelo on 16th (where there were 96 on12th) and three at
026 - Black-shouldered Kite
A single bird on La Janda on 13th , at least four there on the 14th and another at Laguna Taraje
also on the 14th .
027 - Black Kite
Commonest along 'BoP alley' that is the stretch of the A381 south of Medina Sidonia. Small
groups (up to c5 birds) drifted about anywhere and everywhere, but clearly not yet present in
028 - Red Kite
Two birds at Laguna de Taraje on 14th (making a full set of kites at that site) and a singleton on
Trebujena marshes on 16th
029 - Griffon Vulture
The first record, of one over Alcala village on 12th , was quickly followed by 40+ in Molinos valley
the same day. On the 13th more were seen from the house and 30+ in Molinos valley, a few
near Medina Sidonia on the 14th and 50+ in Grazalema on the 15th .
030 - Marsh Harrier
Recorded on the 12th at Bonanza, La Algaida & Trebujena , on the 13th at La Janda, on the 14th
at La Janda again and also at L. Taraje , on the 15th at L. Espera and on the 16th at Bonanaza /
Trebujena. It is clearly common in all wetland areas and the largest count, of 10 at La Janda on
on the 14th, probably underestimates its actual abundance.
031 - Hen Harrier
One seen on the Trebujena Marshes on the 12th and on La Janda two on the 13th and one on
032 - Sparrowhawk
One seen on the Molinos valley on the 13th and two seen in Grazalema on the 15th.
033 - Buzzard
Between 2 and 8 birds every day.
034 - Booted Eagle
Singles seen on the 12th at Bonanza & La Algaida and two on Trebujena on the 16th.
035 - Bonelli’s Eagle
A single adult at Molinos valley on 13th , an adult and immature in Grazalema and a further two
immatures at Espera (all 15th). The size of this species was only fully apparent when one clearly
dwarfed a Marsh Harrier that mobbed it at Espera.
036 - Osprey
Single birds seen at Lagunas de Puerto de Santa Maria and Bonanza on the 12th
037 - Lesser Kestrel
Highest count of 50 birds (12th) at Alcala where varying numbers were seen daily; also seen on
La Janda and near Benocoaz (Grazalema)
038 - Kestrel
Common with birds seen various habitats although Lesser Kestrels seemed to monopolise the
039 - Merlin
One bird flew rapidly over the A381 near Medina Sidonia on the 14th and a second bird at Espera
on the 15th
040 - Peregrine Falcon
Single birds seen at Lagunas de Puerto de Santa Maria (L. Salda) and La Algaida on the 12th
041 - Lanner
A large falcon on the northern side of the Bonanza saltpans on the 16th was certainly this species
- an adult, probably of the North African race - although the possibility of it being falconer's bird
cannot be discounted.
042 - Red-legged Partridge
Common in all suitable habitats - showing less Chukar influence than many UK birds.
043 - Pheasant
A few birds seen on La Janda (13th & 14th ) and Espera (15th).
044 - Moorhen
Rather sparsely distributed on all suitable waters
045 - Purple Gallinule
Only two birds seen - both at Laguna Juncosa (Lagunas de Puerto de Santa Maria) on the 12th
046 - Coot
Present on and carefully checked at all lagunas and marshlands; surprisingly few at Laguna de
Medina given the season
047 - Crane
A single, presumably rather lonely, bird circled La Janda on the 14th.
048 - Black-winged Stilt
Seen at Lagunas de Puerto de Santa Maria, Bonanza and Trebujena Marshes on the 12th,
Laguna de Medina on the 14th and Laguna Tarelo and Trebujena Marshes on the 16th .
Numbers relatively small with the largest individual flocks of 20-30.
049 - Avocet
Small flocks (c100 in all) on Bonanza on the 12th.
050 - Stone Curlew
Six at LagunaTaraje on the 14th and two at Espera on the 15th .
051 - Little Ringed Plover
Two at Laguna Salada (Lagunas de Puerto de Santa Maria) the 12th.
052 - Ringed Plover
Small numbers seen at Bonanza and Trebujena on the 12th and on Trebujena on the 16th
053 - Kentish Plover
Two at Bonanza and 70+ on the southern part of Trebujena Marshes on the 12th, 3 at Cape
Trafalgar and at least one on Trebujena Marshes on the 16th.
054 - Golden Plover
A flock of c400 on flooded marismas of Trebujena on the 12th
055 - Grey Plover
About 100 on Bonanza on the 12th, two at Barbate on the 14th and c50 on the northern edge of
Bonanza on the 16th.
056 - Lapwing
Recorded on Trebujena Marshes on the 12th and Trebujena on the 14th.
057 - Knot
A small flock of c50 birds seen on Bonanza on the 12th (JC)
058 - Sanderling
Five on the southern part of Trebujena Marshes on the 12th and 50 at Cape Trafalgar on the 14th
059 - Dunlin
Small numbers at Bonanza saltpans on the 12th and c200 on the northern rim of this area on
060 - Snipe
Three at Laguna de Taraje on the 14th and a couple at the northern end of Bonanza on the 16th.
061 - Black-tailed Godwit
A group of 6 birds flew over at Bonanza saltpans on the 12th
062 - Bar-tailed Godwit
A group of 12 birds flew over at Bonanza saltpans on the 12th
063 - Redshank
Good numbers seen at Bonanza saltpans and Trebujena Marshes on the 12th and 16th and at
Barbate on the14th. Largest single flock of c50 birds at the northern rim of Bonanza on the 16th.
064 - Greenshank
Good numbers seen at Bonanza saltpans and Trebujena Marshes on the 12th and 16th and at
Barbate on the14th. Found in smaller numbers than Redshank, but not uncommon (e.g. c20 at
065 - Green Sandpiper
Odd birds at Laguna Juncosa (Puerto de Santa Maria) and Trebujena Marshes on 12th , c8 on La
Janda on the 13th, 8 more at La Janda & Barbate on the 14th, 2 at Lagunas de Espera on the 15th
and two again at Trebujena on the 16th
066 - Common Sandpiper
Four birds at Bonanza saltpans on the 12th , at least two at Barbate on the 14th and three more
on La Janda on the same day.
067 - Turnstone
Two at Bonanza saltpans on the 12th and one on Trebujena Marshes on the 16th.
068 - Mediterranean Gull
One at Barbate on the 14th.
069 - Black-headed Gull
Common in all suitable habitats.
070 - Slender-billed Gull
At least 20 birds, some strikingly pink examples, at Bonanza saltpans on 12th.
071 - Audouin’s Gull
35 birds at Trafalgar on the 14th with a further 5 at Barbate on the same day.
072 - Lesser Black-backed Gull
Seen at all coastal sites although in much smaller numbers than the following species.
073 - Yellow-legged Gull
Seen in good numbers at all coastal sites visited.
074 - Great Black-backed Gull
After Mediterranean Gull, the least frequent species with only a handful seen at coastal sites.
075 - Caspian Tern
At least 9 birds on the estuary at Barbate on the 14th.
076 - Sandwich Tern
A few birds (c12) along the Guadalquivir on the 12th, small flocks numbering c60 birds passing
Cape Trafalgar on the 14th and a few at Barbate on the same day.
077 - Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon
Common with birds in Grazalema tending more towards the 'real thing'.
078 - Wood Pigeon
Frequent over farmlands to the east of the Alcornocales
079 - Collared Dove
Common in modest numbers in all built up areas.
080 - Little Owl
Heard nightly from the house with birds twice seen in the Molinos valley(13th & 16th) and at
Espera on the 15th.
081 - Pallid Swift
A flock of 60+ swifts hawking over farmland east of La Algaida on the 16th all appeared to be of
this species; all those close enough to allow positive identification proved to be so
081 - Swift sp
Four swifts high over Lagunas de Puerto de Santa Maria on 12th were probably Pallid Swifts
082 - Kingfisher
Singles recorded at Bonanza saltpans on the 12th, Barbate on the 14th and Espera on the 15th
083 - Hoopoe
Singles seen at La Janda on the 13th and just north of Puerto de Palomas (Grazalema) on the
15th. The latter bird took pity on JH who'd missed the bird at La Janda by pacing along a few
metres from the car as we slowly descended the hairpins after Puerto de las Palomas. It then
landed in a tree before signing off with a trademark raised crest .
084 - Green Woodpecker
Two birds of the Iberian race sharpei in Grazalema on the 15th . The call sounded distinctly
softer than UK birds and the face looked a good deal more 'open'.
085 - Calandra Lark
First birds were 5 on La Janda on 14th . Thereafter we had c50 near the track the Lagunas de
Espera and a similar number on the northern side of Bonanza on the 16th.
086 - Lesser Short-toed Lark
A single bird on Trebujena marshes on 12th and c35 on 16th on the northern rim of Bonanza
saltpans. A bird heard on La Janda on 14th.
087 - Crested Lark
Common in all suitable habitats.
088 - Thekla Lark
Six birds in Grazalema NP - two of which performed well and allowed excellent views - on the
089 - Wood Lark
A small flock of c8 birds as we left La Janda on the 12th and at least 3 birds singing at the
Ubrique turning in the Alcornocales.
090 - Sky Lark
Common in small numbers in all suitable habitats.
091 - Crag Martin
A flock of c50 distant hirundines swirling high over the Molinos valley (Alcala) on the 13th were
presumably this species. A flock of c70 birds at Trafalgar on the 14th and a further 150 in
Grazalema NP on the 15th.
092 - Barn Swallow
Common in small numbers
093 - House Martin
Seen daily, usually over large bodies of water, in varying numbers - the largest single flock of
several hundred birds was at Laguna Salada (Lagunas de Santa Maria) on the 12th
094 - Meadow Pipit
Common in all suitable habitats
095 - Grey Wagtail
One on La Janda on the 14th
096 - White Wagtail
Common in all suitable habitats
097 - Wren
Apparently more a bird of wooded hillsides and mountains here as only recorded, mainly by
song, on the 13th in the Molinos valley and on the 15th in the Alcornocales and Grazalema
098 - Dunnock
A single bird seen at Laguna Salada (Lagunas de Puerto de Santa Maria) the 12th - possibly
099 - Robin
Seemingly more scarce than in the UK and, like Wren, more of a bird of hilly woodland - small
numbers recorded on the 12th 13th, 14th and 15th .
100 - Bluethroat
Two birds seen on La Janda 13th and a single at Espera on the 15th
101 - Black Redstart
Common bird in towns, rocky areas, light woodland and even out on La Janda.
102 - Stonechat
The 'default small passerine' of the trip being very common in a wide range of open habitats
103 - Black Wheatear
A pair at the viewpoint on a hairpin bend 5km south of Benaocaz and a further two pairs in the
small almond orchard just as we entered (from the south) Grazalema itself all on 15th.
104 - Blue Rock Thrush
After an atypical failure to show at the head of the Molinos valley on the 12th , but two seen on
the 13th here and four more in Grazalema on the 15th. Almost certainly under recorded in
Grazalema as, once we'd seen them we didn't look too hard!
105 - Blackbird
Small numbers recorded everyday.
106 - Mistle Thrush
Birds seen en route as we crossed the Alcornocales on the 15th.
107 - Cetti’s Warbler
Seen, or more likely heard, in all wetland areas visited - La Janda, Lagunas de Puerto Santa
Maria, Laguna de Medina, Lagunas de Espera, Laguna Tarelo, etc.
108 - Zitting Cisticola
Fully lived up to it's exotic, but much preferable, name by zitting over whenever we stopped in
suitable habitat. Particularly good views obtained at Lagunas de Puerto de Santa Maria on
the12th and at La Janda on the 13th.
109 - Sardinian Warbler
It's noisy presence evident in all bushy scrubland, but relatively few good views - best being a
bird found by JH near Benaocaz.
110 - Blackcap
Less common, perhaps, than Sardinian Warbler, but nonetheless very frequent in suitable
111 - Common Chiffchaff
All birds heard singing belonged to this species.
100 - Chiffchaff sp
Common in all suitable habitats - if any were of the Iberian species, none bothered to shout
112 - Firecrest
Two birds found by NMcC at the viewpoint in Grazalema on the 15th.
113 - Long-tailed Tit
Heard in the Alcornocales on the 15th.
114 - Blue Tit
About six birds heard and seen in Alcornocales and Grazalema on the 15th.
115 - Great Tit
Seen and heard on the 12th (La Algaida & Molinos), 13th (Molinos) 15th (Alcornocales &
Grazalema) and 16th (La Algaida)
116 - Short-toed Treecreeper
First heard at Molinos on the 13th and then two seen at La Algaida on the 16th.
117 - Southern Great Grey Shrike
Three birds in Grazalema NP on the 15th .
118 - Azure-winged Magpie
A flock of 21 birds at la Algaida pinewoods near the "area recretiva" to the east of the main
track through the woods on 12th.
119 - Magpie
Single birds seen in La Algaida on 12th and 16th
120 - Chough
Only seen in Grazalema - two just beyond Villaluenga del Rosario and two more at Puerto de
las Palomas (between Grazalema and Zahara) on 15th
121 - Jackdaw
Seen every day often in small flocks.
122 - Raven
Seen daily both in the mountains and open areas like La Janda, but under recorded and the
maximum day total of c10 probably woefully underestimates actual numbers in the areas visited.
123 - Starling
Seen on every day except the 13th, but much less common than Spotless Starling (c10% of all
124 - Spotless Starling
Common seen every day with small numbers roosting near the house.
125 - House Sparrow
126 - Spanish Sparrow
Two flocks, each of c30 birds, at Laguna Taraje were a pleasant surprise.
127 - Rock Sparrow
One called briefly at the Thekla Lark site in Grazalema NP on the 15th , but could not be located.
128 - Chaffinch
Common, particularly in wooded areas.
Common - its tinkling song made a pleasant musical background to many scenes.
130 - Greenfinch
Frequent, but far less common than Chaffinch or Goldfinch
131 - Goldfinch
Particularly common in open spaces (e.g Le Janda)
132 - Linnet
Common enough in suitable habitats
133 - Cirl Bunting
Heard far more often than seen, particularly in hilly or mountainous areas (Molinos, Grazalema,
etc). Seen well only in Grazalema and on the decent from Puerto de palomas, but clearly a fairly
134 - Rock Bunting
Somewhat elusive with only four birds seen all at Puerto de las Palomas (between Grazalema
and Zahara) on 15th.
135 - Corn Bunting
Abundant in all open lowland habitats.