A days travelling to see some friends.
Jayne and I set off down towards the A92 at Huétor Tájar to begin our trip down the coast West, stopping at La Linia and Gibraltar on our way to stop with Friends Steve and Patty Daly near Barbate. Birds started to be added to the list as soon as we got underway with a couple of Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) still out and about in the early morning light, along with lots of Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Crested (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and around 90 Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) which were moving from their roosting fields to the larger areas of Lucerne where they are regularly seen during the day. The Stone-curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) were already back and settled down on their favorite ridges in the fields just North of the town and a good number of Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and a single Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) were following a tractor which was out ridging up the soil around the early tips of the World Famous Huétor Tájar Asparagus. We got on the motorway and travelled down to Malaga and on past Fuengirola, Estapona to La Linia where Jayne wanted to visit the weekly market, remembering from the last time we were there that some of the stalls did nice cotton fabrics which she needs to do her patchwork / quilting with. We had a good walk round and she found what she was after and we left there heading to Gibraltar quite pleased. There was just a very short queue so I was dropping Jayne of for her walk along the main street and I went and did a bit of birding. I did not see a lot but picked up good numbers of migrating Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) mixed in with very large numbers of migrating / resident Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and a couple of Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus). Due to the cloud cover there was no visible raptor movements so I headed up to the car park near the cable car and then went and met Jayne before we carried on out of the border and on down towards Tarifa and then North to between Barbate and Vejer. On the way we saw Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia), more Cattle Egrets, Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).
We arrived at Steve’s and Patty’s (who both run Andalucian Guides, see the link at the side of the blog) a little later than planned but as usual when you are running behind you meet the only three Spanish drivers on the road that stick to the 80km speed limit set along most of the road between Tarifa and Vejer.
After the long drive it was a pleasure to sit down and have a chat (well more me picking Steve’s brain) over a couple of beers, whist we were sat here good numbers of Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans) were passing over head along with several groups of Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) also pushing on North as the light was starting to drop.
A little later we had a very nice meal and then we continued to chat over a few more beers before spending a night in the very comfortable Hoopoe Cottage.