Royal British Legion Walking Group.
Jayne, Carole, Paul and myself, followed by Allan and Lesley in their car drove down to the small lake just south west of Alhama where the walk was due to start. Whilst we were waiting for a couple of the group to arrive I had a look on the Pantanteta de Alhama, on the water there were small numbers of Common Pochards (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), a couple of Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), several of both Eurasian Coots (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Common Moorhens (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus). In the surrounding trees both Great Spotted (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and Green Woodpeckers (Pito Real / Picus viridis) were heard and Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla) were all seen. 20 mins late the group of twelve set of on the walk along the Rio Alhama through the gorge, on the first stretch I got views of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major) and Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes). Further along the track nearer to the town I saw the only butterfly of the day which was a very good conditioned Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui). On the return trip Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) and Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) were added to the new year list. We all then went into the bar near the lake hoping for some food but all the tables were booked so the five of us from Realenga headed back into Loja and had a meal at the Terrace bar in the San Francisco part of the town.
Other species seen during the drive there and back again included Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Stone-curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros).
Photographs from the top: The colour of the sky, Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Alhama town and a view down the gorge.