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Friday 28 January, Calle Convento, Gaucin, 0900hrs, rain: The year's first House Martin seen over the village.
Thursday 27 January, Callejon del Pino, Gaucin, 1300hrs: male Blue Rock Thrush sitting on top of the small ruin at the top of the alleyway unpeturbed by the nearby screeching of two fighting male cats!
Wednesday 26 January, on the main road between Ronda and Atajate, 1700hrs: Good views of a Bonelli's eagle flying a few metres from the road.
Tuesday 25 January, Sevilla city centre: Interesting sightings of both White stork and Booted eagle right above the main shopping area.
Saturday 22 January, Camino de Gibraltar, 1200-1300hrs, cloudy, cold: only 7C with a fresh NE wind so didn't stay out too long! Usual suspects...Blackcap, Cetti's warbler, Chiffchaff, Black redstart, Siskin, Stonechat (inc. male in full song), Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Song thrush, Meadow pipit, Grey wagtail, dozen or so Griffon vulture, Common kestrel.
Thursday 20 January: Was woken at 4am last night by a strange sound outside the back of the house; after listening for a minute or two I decided it was worth a look and was amazed to see a large bird swoop across the garden and land on the chimney of the house in front. I ran upstairs to get my binoculars and, although only in silhouette, it was clearly an Eagle owl – it stayed there for about 10min before flying off, silently, in the direction of the castle. Listening to recorded calls this morning I would say it was a female. Not a bad village tick and presumably it means there is a pair nearby!
Wednesday 19 January, track behind Venta Solera at turning to Cortes de la Frontera on Gaucin-Ronda road, 1530-1730hrs: Fairly quiet birdwise but did see a pair of Red-billed chough, Raven, great close views of Griffon vulture; also Black wheatear, Black redstart, Siskin, Cirl Bunting and Chiffchaff.





Friday 14 January, La Janda, 1030-1530, sunny and still: Had a great day out in La Janda, just past Tarifa on the N-340. The site was once a large lake but was drained for agricultural use many years ago but the fields often flood in the winter and irrigation of rice crops provides further wet areas. It didn't take long before we spotted a juvenile Spanish imperial eagle sitting on a post eating its prey; this was followed by sightings of at least two more juvenile birds. It's fantastic to be able to see these wonderful birds so close to Gaucin. Other birds seen included: Great egret, Little egret, Cattle egret, White stork, Black stork (one), Common crane (several hundred were present), Night heron, Grey heron, Purple swamphen, Bonelli's eagle, Griffon vulture, Marsh harrier (several males, females and immatures), Hen harrier, Common buzzard (several pairs), Kestrel, Raven, Jackdaw, Spoonbill, Black-winged stilt, Green sandpiper, Common sandpiper, Common snipe, Golden plover, Lapwing, Common pheasant, Southern grey shrike, Calandra lark, Skylark, Teal, Shoveler, Reed bunting, Spanish sparrow, Kingfisher, Chiffchaff, Zitting cisticola, Starling and Spotless starling. Also seen (but not by me!): Water pipit. On the way home we had a quick look along the estuary at Palmones, Los Barrios and saw: Osprey (two), Sandwich tern, Yellow-legged, Lesser black-backed and Black-headed gulls, Curlew (a good bird for this site), Whimbrel, Little stint, Dunlin, Sanderling, Ringed plover, Kentish plover, Grey plover, Redshank and Spoonbill. In the photos: Purple swamphen, Common buzzard, Common crane, Little egret and Cattle egret.
Thursday 13 January, Ronda-Algeciras road just outside Gaucin, 0830hrs: Lots of birds in full song including Serin, Blackcap and Common chiffchaff.
Monday 10 January: Have been down the Camino de Gibraltar a couple of times over the last few days but nothing very exciting to report! There's still a small flock of Siskin hanging around Calle del Pino and yesterday there was a Sparrowhawk circling around for most of the afternoon. Black redstart numbers are down but there are still a few to be seen. No sign of the Common buzzards seen regularly in the valley before Christmas.
Wednesday 05 January, 1530hrs, road from Manilva to Gaucin, just past the right turn to Casares: Southern grey shrike on a telephone wire.
Tuesday 04 January, 1600hrs, gardens between Calle Convento and Calle del Pino: Small flock of Siskin flitting around a large walnut tree - possibly the same flock that Wingspanner saw?

Camino Gibraltar 1-4pm Jan 3rd 2011

Another superb sunny day, high wispy clouds bright sunshine and a lovely temperature of around 16C. I walked the camino Gibraltar from 1pm until 4. the best of the bird sightings was a Bonelli's Eagle displaying over and behind the castle. It made several very steep, stooping dives over the forest before flapping away, lovely.

Spring was most definitely in the air, Blackcaps, Starlings and even a Goldfinch were in song! Butterflies on the wing were Small Whites and a Painted Lady. I added Great Spotted Woodpecker to the sightings on the way back up the hill. There were the usual crowd of Black Redstarts, Blackcaps, White Wags, Sardinian warblers and Siskins but I notice a distinct drop in numbers of Song Thrush and Chiffchaff this winter.

The flowers looked brilliant in the afternoon sunlight:

Broad-leaved Iris Iris planifolia


Paper-white Narcissus Narcissus papyraceus


Bermuda Buttercup - Oxalis pes-caprea

Jan 2nd - Camino Gibraltar

It was like a beautiful spring morning, lots of sunshine, a nice temperature and plenty of wildife to look at. We took the Camino Gibraltar out of the village and went 2km downhill to meet Alice and Jim at their home in the campo (countryside). There were many Black Redstarts on view as well as Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, Goldfinches and Serins. With our two companions we set off for a longer walk down to the Santa Nino chapel. The hedgerows and fields were awash with Bermuda Buttercup, Narcissi, Periwinkle and Celandine. We added 3 more butterflies to the 2011 list; Wall Brown, Clouded yellow and Small White. During the next two hours we saw Kestrel, Griffon Vulture, Song Thrush, Blue and Great Tit, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail and many more Black Redstarts.

After leaving our two friend back at their finca we started back up the hill to the village. Along this stretch we added Eurasian Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper and a small flock of Siskins - always a nice sight, see the video and pictures below.