In search of Thrushes in the mountains.
Juan Pérez Contreras picked me up from the Hotel Cortijo de Tajar near the A92 and we made our way along the motorway to Loja and then up in to the mountains. We were heading to a site around 14KM out in to the wilds, on the way we saw Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and along the crags we were driving to a hunting pair of Bonelli's Eagles (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus).
Once we were in the area we wanted to be we started to see good numbers of Ring Ouzels ( Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus), Blackbirds (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and then a distant flyby of a Fieldfare (Zorzal Real / Turdus pilaris) but Juan did not get on to it until it had broken the sky line and he only got a siloette. We continued on down the track on foot scanning all the Hawthorn bushes hoping that the Fieldfare would show up again, we saw more Ouzels and a mixed flock of Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia). We reached an area of denser bushes and were watching a very nice male Ring Ouzel when a cracking Fieldfare hoped up into the same tree givining us a very good if not brief view which Juan was much happier with as this bird was a lifer for him. The bird disappeared so we started to search another area of trees and soon located the same or another bird which flew off to the south followed by a second bird. There were also more Ouzels in the third area, we did not relocate the thrushes again so we returned to the car and dropped down the hill towards Loja. We stopped briefly near the small disused quarry but only added a calling Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata).
Photographs from the top: Ring Ouzels ( Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus) and 2x Bonelli's Eagles (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus).