Another very hot August day, we have been seeing temperatures in excess of 33C most days this week, I hope it cools down soon!
I met Gerry, my client for the day, outside the church just up from our house, it was 7:30am nice and cool and the sun was just coming up. We made the journey to the Marchenilla track in 20 minutes and we were soon listing lots of birdies.
|some of the 100+ Common Starlings along the Marchenilla Track|
Sardinian Warblers were everywhere in the hedgerows and verges and I have never seen so many Collared Doves, at least 50 were present! A Raven called from a pylon as we watched a large flock of starlings, I got them in the scope to show Gerry the Spotless variety found locally and bugger-me they were all Common Starlings!! Well they are very early winter migrants, what a surprise. Another surprise was the presence of a number of Spanish Sparrows, they usually turn up for the winter and are early too!
|Gerry looking at his 'find' the Eurasian Hoopoe|
Flocks of Goldfinches, Linnets, Serins, Greenfinches and a few Corn Buntings joined the sparrows feeding along the verges and on the track. But the star bird for Gerry was the Hoopoe, and he found it! The bird gave excellent views as it fed along the track and it was joined by a second one, how marvellous.
We enjoyed watching an adult Woodchat Shrike and a small flock of Thekla Larks, even more early migrants. A good number of Spotted Flycatchers were only outnumbered by the Common Stonechats sitting along the fence lines.
|the lovely Spotted Flycatcher -one of about 20 seen this morning|
As it warmed up a few Honey Buzzards began to appear from the woods, we counted a dozen or so and two more Ravens. Lots of House Martins, Barn Swallows and Common Swifts hawked insects and we found our first Montagu's Harrier quartering the fields on the hillside.
Then Gerry spotted a Short-toed Eagle sitting low on a small tree and more Honey Buzzards emerged from the wooded hillside.
By now it was getting warm so we walked back to the car for a drink of water before walking to the bridge over the river Hozgargante. From there we watched both species of starlings in the same tree, a Common Kingfisher and lots of finches coming to drink. Several Honey Buzzards flew out of the tree adjacent to the river giving us superb close views, more and more began to appear and at one stage there were 50+ in the sky. They were joined by half a dozen Black Kites, a couple of Booted Eagles and a Common Buzzard.
We then drove along the Marchenilla track and up over the hill where we stopped to look at Montagu's Harrier, Tawny Pipit and a Short-toed Eagle on a pylon, an adult Egyptian Vulture was nice to see too.
|very poor attempt to capture Spotless and Common Starlings together|
We drove to San Enrique Woods vis San Martin making one stop to look at a small number of Bee-eaters sitting on wires. The wood were were very quiet, we did see both Spotted and Pied Flycatcher, Great-spotted Woodpecker, a few Blue Tits and not much else. After eating our picnic lunch we walked through the woods to view the river Guadiaro where we saw: Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mallard, Great Cormorant, Great and Little Ringed Plover, Common Kingfisher and a few more Booted Eagles.
We drove back to Gaucin via San Roque where we saw a good number of White Storks still attending their nests as well as a few Cattle Egrets in the fields. Back along the Marchenilla track we saw another 3 Tawny Pipits and not much else, it was now 2pm and getting very warm. We drove straight back to Gaucin and called it a good day (or long-morning).
50 species wasn't a bad tally for our efforts.