Saturday 19 March 2022

Santo Domingo de Silos, Burgos Province, Spain.

A walked down town for Churros and Chocolate with Year list bird on the way.

Santi had an idea to go down town for a Churros and Chocolate in the village, just after we left the house we had a small bird fly up into some fruit trees which flitted about several times but eventually I got a good view and found that it was a Goldcrest (Reyezuelo Sencillo / Regulus regulus), not a bird I see over here very often.
We continued on down to the village and had the Chocolate and Churros before we returned to the house and I packed ready for my return home in the morning.

Friday 18 March 2022

Sad Hill Cemetery, Santo Domingo de Silos, Burgos Province, Spain.

A walk around the Cemetery and through the Juniper woods.
Ebird List, 35 Species.

Looking down to Sad Hill.

Santi and I headed up to the Sad Hill Cemetery and after parking we walked out wide of the actual main site as there were a coach load of people there already, as with most tours they were soon back on the coach and away allowing us to look around the main spot.
The way down to the Cemetrey.
This has always been one of my favourite locations in Spain, Jayne and I have enjoyed visiting this special place several times over the years and since she has passed it holds many very good memories for me.
Hoop-petticoat Daffodil (Narcissus bulbocodium).
On the walk down to the center of the Cemetery where the main gunfight from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly was filmed we found lots of Hoop-petticoat Daffodil (Narcissus bulbocodium) which would have pleased Jayne as she loved Daff's as well as quite a lot of the tiny Sand Crocus (Romulea bulbocodium).
Sand Crocus (Romulea bulbocodium).
We reached the Post with Jayne's name and were pleased to see the paint was lasting well so we did a loop of the Cemetrey checking the Juniper Woods as we went and we saw or heard
Iberian Green (Pito Real / Picus sharpei) and Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) and off down the valley a Short-eared Owl (Buho Campestre / Asio flammeus) whch was hunting over the larger areas of grassland.
A soggy approach to the Gunfight circle.
We came back around towards the car adding a singing Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea) aand a flock of small birds including Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus).
Other species seen during the walk included Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
Jaynes Marker.
We returned to the car and went back to the house, later Santi went for siesta so I decided to head back to the Cemetery to see if I could see the Short-eared Owl again.
Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus).
As I walk down through the Junipers I could hear lots of small birds getting very upset at something, as I approached I could see it was a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) that was been scolded and harassed by several Crested and Great Tits as well as at least 6 Firecrests, this stunning male turned towards me but was more annoyed at the owl than me so allowed me to approach and get great views and some nice pics. 
Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus).
As I continued on down the Valley a large flock of finches flushed up from the grass ahead of me including Goldfinch, Linnets, Goldfinches, Serins and several Citril Finches (Verderón Serrano / Serinus citrinella).
Citril Finch (Verderón Serrano / Serinus citrinella).
I walked on down the Valley again but did not find the Owl again and only added a single Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) before I returned to the car.
Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus).

Wednesday 16 March 2022

Santi's Garden and La Yecla, Burgos Province, Spain.

A walk to see the new section of the La Yecla path and to have another try for the Wallcreeper.
Ebird List, 37 species.

Hairy Violet (Viola hirta).

During the night I had the window open and could hear the frogs in the garden calling, I am fairly sure they were Perez's Frog (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi) even this far North.
Hairy Violet (Viola hirta).
I started the birding in Santi's Garden by picking up a female looking Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes) picking around in the lawn and a Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) which was mixed in with the resident House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) flock.
Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus).
Later we drove to the start of the new section of the walk through the La Yecla Gorge and in the trees where we parked I had another Hawfinch as well as several Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), a singing Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and at least three Iberian Green Woodpeckers (Pito Real / Picus sharpei) which were calling from different directions and on the roadside back a few bits of flowering Hairy Violet (Viola hirta).
Santi on the new bridge at the Northern end of the gorge.
We started the walk along the road and then took a track through a Pine plantation where good numbers of Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) hawking over the trees and a small tit flock containing Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Coal  (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Crested Tits (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla).
The entrance to the Gorge, the Wallcreeper was on the rocks in the top left.
Along the first / new section of walkway we saw 3 more Rock Sparrows, both Cirl (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) and Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and several clumps of Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) and  Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus) down along the stream.
On the Gorge walk.
We reached the original part of the Walk through the gorge and continued on up to the Southern end of the Gorge adding a good number of Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Red Kite (Milano Real / Milvus milvus) and a Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) which was carrying a largish catch.
Looking up stream.
At the Southern end we had what I suspect was a second smaller looking Peregrine fly throw the Gorge and a few moments later a very smart adult Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus) which drifted east along the crags.
Down of the trail.
We walked up to the Cafe hoping to get a coffee but it was shut so we checked the trees near there adding a calling  Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), a pair of Grey Wagtails (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone) and after we turned around and followed the road back to the first tunnel we picked up 4 Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), a Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax) and a very smart female Merlin (Esmerejón / Falco columbarius) which came towards us from the east and did a couple of low fast circles before heading North.
Back down stream.
We walked through the two tunnels and then dropped back down onto the new part of the trail, half way down the steps I noticed a bird drop on to the cliffs way over on the other side of the river, I was over the moon to see it was the
Wallcreeper (Treparriscos / Tichodroma muraria) when I got my bins on to it, I knew it was way to far off for a picture so I just enoyed watching it for the short period it was there before it flew over the ridge and away.
Rush-leaf Jonquil (Narcissus assoanus).
Rush-leaf Jonquil (Narcissus assoanus).
Rush-leaf Jonquil (Narcissus assoanus).
As we walked back to the car the only species added were a few spikes of what I think were
Rush-leaf Jonquil (Narcissus assoanus) which we had walked passed on the way up.
Silos after the Chants.

Later we walked down to the Monasterio de Santo Domingo de Silos where we listened to the evenings Gregorian chants by
Benedictine Monks, I have no religious beliefs but you don't need to have to appreciate this event and it also bought back a lot of good memories of the several visits I had made there with Jayne, Howard and Santi.

Tuesday 15 March 2022

Driving North to Santo Domingo de Silos, Burgos Province, Spain.

A trip to see friend Santi.

I set off early heading North via Madrid to Santi's in Santo Domingo de Silos, as I was loading the car I started the day list with a calling Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and a screeching Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus).
I set off along the A92 but driving was not pleasant due to the very thick Sahara dust fog, it was so thick that even the Spanish drivers were nearly all using their fog lights, things didn't get better as I went North from Granada as it didn't really get light until quite late in the morning (around 10.30) due to the dust and a very strong wind which was whipping up the lying dust.
Anyway as I drove I recorded Feral (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), a female Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus), a couple of Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans) and 10 Great Bustards (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda) in a field along the side of the Motorway.
On my way around Madrid I had the first of quite a few Red Kites (Milano Real / Milvus milvus), the only Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) of the drive and a White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia).
On the drive North to Silos there were a few groups of Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) as well as a single Eurasian Black / Cinereous (Aegypius monachus), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus).
Just before I got to Santi's I made a brief stop at La Yecla gorge where I saw many more Griffon Vutlures, a single Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus) which was a nice year tick, Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus) and Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and lots of Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris).
After just a short stop I continued on to Santi's and got the car unpacked and settled in for the next few days.

Monday 14 March 2022

Huétor Fields, Granada Province, Spain.

A walk along the Arroyo and through the Asparagus Fields.

After a very very wet night and morning I went for a walk once it started to brighten up a little, I was going to park at the normal spot but when I got to the Arroyo unsurprisingly it was not possible to cross as there was a very good flow of rather muddy looking water.
I drove around the longer way and parked by the Walnut trees instead and then walked back along the Lucerne fields seeing White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) x2, Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and as I walked back to the car I had a nice male Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) on the far side of the Arroyo. 
I walked passed the car and continued on along the road and the first bird I saw in the Asparagus was a nice male Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), my first for the year along with Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and in a large tree on the road side which was full of finches I had a group of 5 Brambling (Pinzón Real / Fringilla montifringilla).
I turned around just passed the Poplar plantation and walked back towards the car again, on the way I picked up Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa).