Bernard again joined me for a day in the country side around Loja, we were joined today by Kevin and his son a very good little birder called Matthew, who at 10 years old has already learned a lot of good identification skills and field craft and has seen some very good species. We started the day near El Turro seeing Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator glandarrius), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius)around the embalse. On the lake there were several Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) heard only. In the reed beds the years first Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus) were singing along side the resident Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia
melanocephala). We then moved up in to the hills and started to see more new species for Matt, including Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común/ Lanius senator) and a species he had said was at the top of his wanted list a cracking Golden Eagle (Aguila Real / Aquila chrysaetos). Later further up the sierra we picked up 4 Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris). By the end of the day the list neared 70 species and I think Matt had see a good few new birds.
Photographs from the top: Group shot, Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia).