Monday, 12 December 2016

Sierra Morena, Jaen Province.

A full day of searching for Mammals along the River and in the hills.

We left the accommodation and drove down to the Río Jándula, on the way we found the sad sight of a fresh road kill Wild Cat (Gato Montes / Felis silvestris) which was not a good start but thankfully things went upwards from that point. We drove along side the river as far as the dam wall of the embalse seeing Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Iberian / Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos).
Near the dam we spent a cold couple of hours with a thick fog cover looking at the river, we eventually had good views of a female Otter (Nutria / Lutra lutra) as she hide from us under rocks on the bank but eventually settled and spent some time swimming around below us. In the same are we picked up Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Grey (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea) and Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major).
By around 10:00 it had gone so cold we decided to retreat to the bar near the accommodation for breakfast and a warm coffee but made a stop to check a large raptor which was sat on a pylon which turned out to be a distant Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aguila Imperial Ibérica / Aguila adalberti) in the mist.
After having breakfast we drove out to the area for the Lynx, on the way we had some good views of several Red Deer (Ciervo común / Cervus elaphus), Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and a couple of fields of the black Fighting Bulls.
Once we were on site we set up the chairs and scope in amongst a few more viewers also lookng for the Lynx. Whilst we sat there we had Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Dartford (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
Mid afternoon saw Jane and I sat in the chairs by the car and John off having a wander when suddenly a female Iberian Lynx (lince iberico/ Lynx pardina) walked out from under a bush just 20 meters in front of us but quickly disappeared down in to the valley below us but not before Jane and I had seen it well. John arrived back once he realised a Lynx was about and joined the rest of the watchers who had found the beautiful animal sat under a bush not a great distance away where it spent a few minutes sat before disappearing off around some rocks.
We all moved along the road to watch the nest gully where we again had good views of the cat before moving on again to another spot where we got our forth view of this stunningly rare animal before she disappeared into the bushes. 
Late in the afternoon we drove down to the dam at the far end of the track where we added Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica) to the Mammal list and Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) to the birds.
We drove back up to the Lynx area and then later headed back in to the accommodation and to the bar next door where we had a nice bit of Pork for our evening meal before an early night after a busy but successful day.

Photographs from the top: Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aguila Imperial Ibérica / Aguila adalberti), 2x Fighting Bulls, Red Deer (Ciervo común / Cervus elaphus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Jane looking out over the foggy valley, female Iberian Lynx (lince iberico/ Lynx pardina), John looking for the Lynx, female Iberian Lynx again, Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica) x2, the Embalse, the sun getting low through the Oaks and Red Deer in the sunset.

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