Tuesday 31 May, northern section of Smuggler's route, just past the turning to Estacion de Gaucin, 1700-1800hrs, partly cloudy, fresh NE wind: Several Griffon Vulture, also Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Nightingale, Blackcap, Iberian Chiffchaff, Cirl Bunting, Corn Bunting, Greenfinch (see photo), Goldfinch and Sardinian Warbler. Looking back towards El Hacho there were distant views of Blue Rock Thrush and a pair of Common Raven mobbing a Peregrine Falcon. Still lots of wildflowers around including Purple Knautia Knautia purpurea (top photo) and Spiked Centaury Centaurium spicatum (bottom photo),
Monday 30 May: Driving back from Sabinillas at about 1230hrs counted 15 Corn Bunting singing alongside the road between Manilva and the dairy just past the turning to Casares. At 2215hrs there was a Red-necked Nightjar showing well over the gardens between Calle Convento and Calle del Pino.
Sunday 29 May, Gaucin, 1300hrs: After a lovely bright warm start today has somewhat petered out with dark clouds and a grey mist building up. 7 Honey Buzzard flew north to the east of the village and the resident male Blue Rock Thrush was happily singing away on a chimney pot just below the castle. Several more Honey Buzzard, mainly juveniles, seen during late afternoon, early evening.
Thursday 26 May, 1100hrs, Gaucin, overcast, warm: Glad I decided to walk instead of driving this morning as I added a new 'tick' to my Gaucin list when a juvenile (2cy) Eurasian Hobby flew over the puente on the Ronda road and headed off north up over the shoulder of La Umbria scattering the local Swifts as it went. Also saw, or heard, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Iberian Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Robin and Wren.
Wednesday 25 May, Camino de Gibraltar, Gaucin, 1830-1930hrs, light NE wind, mostly sunny: After two or three very warm days today was a little cooler, 26C, with more cloud cover. A quick early evening trip down the track produced Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Woodchat Shrike, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Stonechat (including one mobbed and finally evicted from a power line by a rowdy group of House Martin!), Common and Pallid Swift, Nightingale x2 and Cetti's Warbler x2.
Sunday 22 May, footpath starting at the end of Calle Arrabelete, Gaucin, 1600-1700hrs, still, sunny, very warm: Again very quiet, a few Common and Pallid Swift, pair of Red-billed Chough, Blackcap, Sardinian Warbler, one in display flight, Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle and a Common Kestrel being mobbed by two Crag Martin.
Sunday 22 May, La Umbria, 1030-1230hrs, light SE wind, sunny: Not an awful lot to see on this walk today; one Short-toed Eagle passing over and 3 Iberian Chiffchaff singing, interesting dark morph Booted Eagle over the Gaucin-Ronda road. The Barbary Fig (Prickly Pear) Opuntia ficus-indica is now in flower and looking great, see photos.
Saturday 21 May, 1630-1730hrs, tracks East of San Pablo de Buceite, beneath Loma Don Pablo and Loma de Campanillas, sunny, warm: On the way to collecting some keys from a campo house I made a diversion to see if I could find a Rufous Bush Robin. Such a lovely area, very quiet, only saw one tractor and one car in an hour! Unfortunately, no luck with the tricky robin, but I did see/hear 11 Nightingale, 17 Corn Bunting, Bee-eater, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Sardinian Warbler, Serin, Zitting Cisticola, Stonechat, Spotted Flycatcher, Crested Lark, Common Buzzard, Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle and great close up views of Short-toed Eagle.
Thursday 19 May, Camino de Gibraltar, Gaucin, 1600-1730hrs, partly cloudy, warm: My first trip along here for a while; it seemed eerily quiet, then I realised that the water treatment pump was out of action - long may it continue, thus! There were at least 3 Nightingale, 2 Corn Bunting and one Cirl Bunting singing, also Short-toed Eagle, Woodchat Shrike, Cetti's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, White Wagtail, Serin, Common and Pallid Swift, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Spotless Starling, Wood Pigeon, Stonechat, Griffon Vulture and a mixed flock of 30 or so Goldfinch and Linnet. Best bird was a Melodious Warbler down near the stream that runs below Finca Alboran. The wildflowers were looking lovely, see photos below of Tangier Pea Lathytus tingitanus, Corn Marigold Chrysanthemum segetum and Crown Daisy Chrysanthemum coronarium var. discolor.
Wednesday 18 May, Sierra Espartina, Gaucin, 1500-1600hrs: Managed to get in a brief walk before the rain started! Not a lot of birds around but did see Booted Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Sardinian Warbler; also heard Nightingale, Woodlark, Robin and Wren. Most of the orchids have finished but there were still a couple of Woodcock orchids Ophrys scolopax, see photo.
Tuesday 17 May, Gaucin, partly cloudy, warm, SE wind: Quiet day, just a couple of Booted Eagle and a Short-toed Eagle floating over the village this afternoon and some lovely Blackbird and Nightingale singing from the valley to the south. Red-necked Nightjar heard again over Calle Convento gardens at 2215hrs.
Saturday 14 May: Forgot to mention there was a Red-necked Nightjar calling over the gardens between Calle Pino and Calle Convento on Thursday evening at about 2130hrs. Today there were 3 Black Kite heading north over Gaucin at 1915hrs - great to watch their slow, powerful, yet effortless, flight.
Friday 13 May: Haven't posted for a while as I've been in the UK and then Blogger was offline. Staying in Dartmouth, Devon for a week enabled me to catch up with some 'old friends', specifically Yellowhammer and Bullfinch, neither of which I've seen since moving to Spain! Also saw Northern Wheatear, Skylark, lots of Whitethroat (the hedges around the coast were alive with them) and Common Chiffchaff (but no Willow Warbler), Little Egret, Raven and Common Buzzard. On the last day managed to catch up with a Cirl Bunting; south Devon is now it's only UK stronghold. Photo, taken through binoculars so a bit shaky, shows an Oystercatcher in the midst of it's courting display.
Sunday 01 May, Los Monteros walk with the Gaucin Tourist Association, 1030-1330hrs. Managed to get a walk in despite the poor forecast and the occasional drizzle. First Honey Buzzard of the year with groups of 40, 15 and 10 seen flying north over El Hacho; also seen were several Griffon Vulture and Booted Eagle. Common Chiffchaff, Iberian Chiffchaff and Woodlark were heard. Also quite a few wild Peonies (Paeonia mascula) around the north side of El Hacho, see photo below: Also some good examples of Cytinus hypocistis a parasitic species that lives on the Cistus plant, see photo below: