I set off down to Alhama where I was meeting up with some of the Loja walking group for the annual New Years day walk but I was nursing a tweeked back and was not sure how far I would get. On the way I got quite a nice collection of species on the list including Azure-winged (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) and Common Magpies (Urraca / Pica pica), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata).
I was quite early so I parked along side the trees at the far end of the parking area and just waited to see what came to me, the answer was quite a bit but not close enough for the camera. I added Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and several Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita). Out on the lake there was nothing surprising, birds included several Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus).
Eight other members of the group arrived and after having a quick coffee in the bar we set off along the gorge, about two thirds of the way along I decided that I would turn around as my back pain was getting worse (even with Davids pain killer), So I said goodbye and retraced my steps whilst the rest of the group continued on in to the town. During the walk I recorded a few new species including Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), several more Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and just as I was getting back to the car a pair of Bonelli's Eagles (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus) which flew off up the gorge towards the town.
Once back at the car I headed towards home via a couple of tracks crossing some fields to the North of the town, here I caught up with what I am guessing were the same pair of Bonelli's Eagles again, this time hunting low over some Almond trees. In the same area I also recorded Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
From here I headed back on to the locak patch and checked out the area along side the Rio Vilano, there were lots of birds about including two very nice and locally rare Kingfishers (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), several Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), 4x Stock Doves (Paloma Zurita / Columba oenas) Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) again not common locally, Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa). I then made my way back to the house.
Photographs from the top: Bonelli's Eagles (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and Kingfishers (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis).