I thought that I would be the full anorak this morning and see what species I could see whilst driving to work and before I had left the lane I had seen 20 or so Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), male Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) perched on a road side rock pile getting some early morning sun. On the drop down into Loja I added Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata). The rest of the journey was along the A92 during which I saw Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and just as I was exiting the motorway to head up to Laguna Herrera a nice male Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus).
At the Laguna Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Avocet (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta), Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and Greater Flamingo’s (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) were by far the commonest of the birds seen. There were smaller numbers of Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Alpine Swift (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and a single female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus).
The next stop was at the hotel to collect today’s guest for the walk at El Chorro, we started from the usual place on the side of the Embalse and made our way through the large tunnel and then via the pine woods to the top of one of the mountains. On the way up I saw Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Pallid (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) and Alpine Swifts (Vencejo Real / Apus melba) and Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia). Once we were at the top the local Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), started to circle the hill hoping one of us had found the climb a bit to much, luckily the went away hungry. On the return walk which took us via the start of the old Kings Walk in to the Gorge and back along the river to the car I added Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and once back at the lake a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis).
Other none bird species seen included Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias crocea), Small White (Artogeia rapae) and Striped Grayling (Pseudotergumia fidia) butterflies and a small herd of around 8 Spanish Ibex (Capra pyreaica hispanica).
On the drive back to the hotel a couple more Montagu’s Harriers were seen but star birds of the day were a couple of immature Egyptian Vultures (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus) circling low over the Olives near Laguna Dulce.
Photographs from the top: The guests at the top of the hill and the view from the same place.