A morning in the mountains seeing some of my favorite birds.
|Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).|
Got up to a nice morning with a few more clouds around than usual but the sun was trying hard to brake through, so I decided to carry on with last nights idea of a trip up Sierra de Loja. On the way over I started the list with a small flock of around 25 Iberian Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), several Common Chaffinches (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).
Just as I started to make my way up the Sierra from the town of Loja I picked up 2 late Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) moving west along with the first of 11 Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) seen during the morning (all female of immature birds). Once I was clear of the pine woods I started to see the expected Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and Common Stonechats (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) either perched on rocks or making use of the road side barriers.
|Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia).|
Along the crags good numbers of both Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Red-billed Choughs (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) called noisily as they chased around the cliff faces. Once up on the more level areas I pushed on to the first of the water collection buildings to have a look for any remaining Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes (Roquero Rojo / Monticola saxatilis) that may be hanging around. I parked right next to the building and got some nice views of several Rock Sparrows, Black Redstarts (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and several Northern Wheatears (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe). After about 10 minutes a bird jumped up on to a rock and sat there for some time, giving me chance to roll down the hill, park right across the road and get some nice views and a couple of shots. Also around here I added a late skulking Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) moving though the low thyme plants, Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) which was screeching from a nearby rock pile and a small flock of Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) which flew by.
|Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes (Roquero Rojo / Monticola saxatilis).|
I then continued on up to Charca del Negro and on to the Goat Cave where Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) were added along with a migrating flock of Sparrowhawks (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), I counted 19 birds over a few minutes.
On the way down I saw two large Spanish Ibex (Capra pyreaica hispanica) moving through one of the mountain top fields, Several flocks of Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and around 10 Whinchats (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra) all in a small track side field. A Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and a male Blue Rock Thrush were all seen perched in the same large Hawthorn bush, with the Shrike right on top singing its head off.
|Spanish Ibex (Capra pyreaica hispanica).|
On my way back down passed the crags I eventually saw the first Black Wheatears (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) of the morning and added Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) and Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) to the list. On the track up to and at the disused Quarry Dartford (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) were seen, along with Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and a single Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis).