A cracking days birding in the snow.
I dropped Jayne in to the city before heading off in to the mountins armed with direction from good friend Juan Pérez Contreras looking for Citril Finch (Verderón Serrano / Serinus citrinella) and Bullfinch (Camachuelo Común / Pyrrhula pyrrhula) along with a few other woodland species. The drive out to the spot was interesting to say the least with several areas of deep snow and lots of ice still on the minor roads as I approached the site and the car park in the village was no better. I parked up and walked along a narrow path down to the first site where Juan had seen a flock of the Citril Finches a week or so earlier before the snow, as I arrived I saw 2 birds feeding on the snow at the base of a large bramble bush at the back of the field. They really are cracking little birds and looked very bright against the snow, in the area I also saw the first of many Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major).
With the first target under the belt I continued on down the track and made my way carefully down to the river below, on the way down I had the first of 4 Hawfinches (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), 3 or 4 Redwing (Zorzal Alirrojo / Turdus illacus), more Jays, a flock of 20 or so feeding Goldfinches (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and on a damp area just above the river a single Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), 3 Rock Buntings (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and a sun bathing Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica).
On reaching the river I sat on a rock and spent half an hour just seeing what appearred in the trees along the valley but only added Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) and a Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis) which was calling from a distant Poplar tree. I walked across the river and checked the opposite bank and the nearby cliffs, on the cliffs there was a large hanging mass of Ivy which was full of feeding Blackbirds and Blackcaps (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and lower down in the stunted Hawthorns there was a nice male Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and lots more Blackcaps and Common Chiffchaffs.
After spending a couple of hours searching with out success for the Bullfinches I decided to wander back up the hill towards the car, on the way I took some shots of some flowering Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus) and added Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) to the list.
As I turned around from photographing the plants I glimpsed a small group of birds in amongst the gorse scrub on the opposite side of the clearing but just as I got my bins on the one that was in view it dropped, I thought it looked to yellow for a Serin so I walked over to the spot and as I got close a flock of stunning yellow Citril Finches flew up and landed in a leafless Hawthorn tree about twenty meters away which gave me the chance to count them easily. Just after reachng 33 the flock dropped back down into the Gorse and started to feed again, I moved in again and this time managed to get close enoughfor some shot but when I got them on the PC they were not great due to the reflection off the surrounding snow but a stunning sight.
I continued back up to the car see two more Hawfinches and at least 5 Great Spotted Woodpeckers on the way. Once I was in the car I drove a short distance and parked by the river higher up in an area which still looked good for the Bullfinches, I did not see them but had another stunning Hawfinch which was feeding on the ground and dozens of Redwings which were flying around the area but not settling.
I dropped back down in to the city and we went looking at kitchen work tops in Bricko.
Photographs from the top: View in Sierra Huétor, Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica), Citril Finch (Verderón Serrano / Serinus citrinella), Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus), Another View, Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and a snow cover old tree.