Sunday, 29 August 2010

El Choro and Near Antequera, Malaga Province.

Crags, More crags and a Lagoon.

Today it was again the same three intrepid walkers that set off on one of David’s lesser known walks called the Arab steps. The walk started below some amazing crags on the Eastern side of El Choro which were clocked in a heavy layer of low cloud / mist. At first the way was along a nice level track blow the crags, in the pine trees and scrub we soon found good numbers of birds including Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotraustes), Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and in the clouds over head we had the hazy shapes of Griffon Vulture’s (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) breaking into view occasionally, Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) also darted around. After a while we reached the bottom of the steps, when David had said that we were going to the top of the cliffs we thought he was joking, WRONG. We started the assent up the steep steps between a fold of rock which made them invisible from below, we move slowly up adding a small herd of Spanish Ibex (Capra pyreaica hispanica) which scampered up the almost vertical rock face, Striped Grayling (Pseudotergumia fidia), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) and Small White (Artogeia rapae) were also added even though it was thick cloud and cool weather. Once we were at the top it was well worth the effort as the moody views through the clouds were great, we move on further up and around the back of the crags eventually coming to a decent track. On the walk down several Spotted Flycatchers (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata) were seen in the pine woods along with Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor). We arrived back at the car and we started the drive over to the Kings Walk end of Choro to check out part of a walk I had missed a few days earlier.
We passed along the river and through some spectacular limestone areas until we reached the start point, from here were did most of the normal Choro walk but cut off on a spur which was the part I had missed. Here I added Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica). Once we were again back at the vehicle we headed back to the Hotel at Antequera where David gave me some directions to a Lagoon which I did not know about.
I arrived at the largish area of water to find good numbers of waders on the muddy margins including Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax) x5, Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) 100+, Wood Sandpiper (Andarrios Bastardo / Tringa Glareola) x2, Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta) x2 and Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago). Other species seen included Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Yellow (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava) and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
Three species of Dragonfly were also seen, Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) and Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
Photographs from the top: View from the top of the Arab Steps, View from back of Arab Steps and Bridge of the Kings Walk.

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