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Tuesday 29 November, Torreguadiaro and Sotogrande, sunny, light SE wind, 22C: As it was such a fantastic day I overcame the 'man flu' and dragged myself to the coast managing to visit the Torreguadiaro lagoon and the Guadiaro estuary whilst shopping for light fittings.... A quick stop at the lagoon produced 2 Purple Swamp Hen, Little Egret, Grey Heron, 14 Little Grebe (see photo), Great Cormorant, lots of Chiffchaff plus Meadow Pipit, Black Redstart, Crag Martin and Stonechat. At the estuary the best bird was a female Marsh Harrier (thanks to Janys for pointing it out!) that, unfortunately, flushed a large gull flock before I could check it out - as they flew past it looked like they were mostly Yellow-legged and Black-headed. Out to sea were a few Northern Gannet and a single Lesser-black Backed Gull. Also seen were Little Grebe, Great-crested Grebe, two more Purple Swamp Hen (see photo), Coot, Moorhen and lots more Chiffchaff.
Monday 28 November, Gaucin, sunny, light E wind, very warm, 19C: Unable to take advantage of the lovely weather due to a nasty case of 'man flu'! Did, however, manage to see a group of 25 Griffon Vulture catching the thermals to the south of the village.


Sunday 27 November, mostly sunny, warm, light E-SE wind: Mid-morning walk to the 'Vulture Gorge' at Estacion Gaucin, see photos of the Rio Guadiaro and the gorge. The highlight was a Hawfinch in the productive dead tree near the hydro-electric plant, also 60+ Griffon Vulture, 30 Crag Martin on a telegraph wire, Black Redstart everywhere you looked, Blue Rock Thrush, Grey Heron, Great Cormorant, Rock Dove, Blackcap and Sardinian Warbler.
Saturday 26 November, Sierra Espartina, Gaucin, mostly sunny, warm: A quick afternoon walk along the 'smuggler's ridge but there was very little about other than Griffon Vulture, Raven, Black Redstart, Crag Martin, Robin, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Crested Tit, Blue Tit and Blackcap many of which were enjoying the autumn sunshine and singing their subsong from deep cover.
Thursday 24 November, partly cloudy, some showers, 18C: After a couple of nice dry days today was spoilt by some afternoon showers - but we need the rain! A trip to the coast so checked through the gull flock on the beach at Estepona - there were 250+ Yellow-legged Gull, 150 mixed Black-headed and Mediterranean Gull plus 2 Sandwich Tern and a Little Gull; at sea several Northern Gannet and Great Cormorant.
Monday 21 November, partly cloudy, light NW wind, 17C: Much nicer weather after the last couple of days. Good deed for the day was rescuing a female Blue Rock Thrush that was trapped inside someone's house this morning. 1600-1700hrs: went down to the Rio Genal and was lucky to see a female Merlin; at first it was feeding on the ground beside the river after which it flew into a nearby tree before gliding off upstream. Other than that it was pretty quiet - 40+ Griffon Vulture around the northern peak of Sierra Crestellina, Grey Heron, Grey, White and Pied Wagtail, Stonechat, Black Redstart, Blackcap, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Cetti's Warbler (heard).
Sunday 20 November, Gaucin: Yesterday was extremely wet and cold and today is worse. There was also a nasty electrical storm yesterday during which one lightning strike managed to kill our router so I'm currently working on someone's unsecured network until we can get to the shop tomorrow and get a new one! Still, the forecast for the coming week looks quite promising so may get some birding opportunities.
Friday 18 November, west slope of El Hacho, 1600-1730hrs, mostly sunny, light SW wind: Despite a dire weather forecast today was actually quite pleasant so popped out late afternoon - nothing too exciting but the Southern Grey Shrike was still around, also lots of Black Redstart, a couple of Common Kestrel, Griffon Vulture, Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and a flock of 25-30 Goldfinch. Had a look in the fields 2km further on towards El Colmenar where there were lots of White Wagtail, a single Common Kestrel, 6 Spotless Starling and small flocks of Meadow Pipit and mixed finches.


Thursday 17 November, Ronda El Tajo area, 1300-1330hrs, light SE wind, sunny: Whilst in Ronda I took the opportunity to see what was around the Tajo and enjoy the lovely weather. There were lots of Serin and Goldfinch in amongst the Almond trees as well as Chaffinch, Chiffchaff and Rock Bunting. Also seen were 25 Griffon Vulture, a dozen or so Crag Martin, Black Redstart, Blackcap, Sardinian Warbler and the star bird a male Common Crossbill heard, and subsequently seen, in pine trees along the Paseo de los Ingleses. Interestingly, no Red-billed Chough nor Common Kestrel! Photos of El Tajo and the sheer cliffs that the Crag Martin favour.

Wednesday 16 November, Camino de Gibraltar, Gaucin, light N wind, sunny and warm: A great improvement after Monday's storm (lots of rain, wind, thunder, lightning, no electricity, etc) and yesterday's partial recovery. Usual array of birds for the camino but logged Firecrest again in the cork oaks at the village end; also seen were Griffon Vulture, Meadow Pipit, Stonechat (see photo), lots of Black Redstart, 4x Song Thrush, 5x Blackbird, Crag Martin, Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, small flocks of Serin and Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Greenfinch.
Sunday 13 November, 1130hrs, sunny intervals, warm: A gentle walk from Algatocin to Benarraba and back. Not many birds to report, a few Griffon Vulture and Chiffchaff, lots of singing Robin, but some great scenery, see photo of autumnal trees, mostly Sweet Chestnut. Also saw a Ladder Snake, see below.
Saturday 12 November, west slope of El Hacho, 0830-1000hrs, mostly cloudy, light SW wind: Pretty quiet here this morning but good to see the Southern Grey Shrike was still around, also lots of Black Redstart plus a single Griffon Vulture, Thekla Lark, Meadow pipit, Stonechat, Sardinian Warbler and Cirl Bunting; Red-legged Partridge was heard.
Friday 11 November, 1000-1130hrs, mixed woods at Salto de Cura, near Gaucin, light SE wind, sunny, warm: Spent some time cutting firewood (chestnut) and whilst out saw a couple of Red-billed Chough, Raven, Griffon Vulture, Eurasian Jay, European Nuthatch and small mixed flocks of Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Serin and Goldfinch. At about 1400hrs a Common Buzzard and a flock of 40+ Griffon Vulture flew North-South over the Mirador de la Sierra venta on the Ronda road just outside Gaucin.
Wednesday 10 November, Las Mesas de Chullera and Rio Guadiaro estuary, very light E-SE wind, clear, warm: A visit to the coast in such fantastic weather just had to be combined with a couple of birding opportunities. First I had a quick look at the heathland 1-2km in from the coast near La Duquesa - I have to confess it was my first visit here - it's classic heathland with sandy soil and rare for this area. Whilst there I saw a groupl of 6 Red-legged Partridge, Common Kestrel, Crested Lark (see photo), Sardinian Warbler, Stonechat, Black Redstart, Song Thrush, Common Starling (a couple of flocks of 250-300), Blue Rock Thrush, Serin, Blackcap and Chiffchaff.
Next I went on to the Rio Guadiaro estuary at Puerto Sotogrande and saw the following... Great Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Wigeon (male in eclipse plumage), Ringed Plover, Snipe (see resting bird, below)
Curlew Sandpiper (see below), Black Redstart, Zitting Cisticola, Blackcap and Chiffchaff. On the non-bird front there was a lovely Monarch butterfly to finish off, see below. A gratuitous photo of the Serrania de Ronda yesterday, with Alpandiere and Farajan in the background, below. It's burning season, hence the fires.
Tuesday 08 November, Camino de Gibraltar, Gaucin, 1530-1630hrs, partly cloudy, light N-NW wind: From Calle del Pino to the water treatment plant the following birds were seen...Griffon Vulture, Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Spotless Starling, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Black Redstart, Firecrest, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Sardinian Warbler, Stonechat, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Chaffinch.
Monday 07 November, fresh NW wind, sunny, 0930-1100hrs: Went to have a look at the west slope of El Hacho and it was a bit of a shock to the system to find it was only 6C; fleece and woolly hat required! There was plenty of birdlife around, though, including 30+ Griffon Vulture (checked them all but no Ruppell's!), Raven, Thekla Lark, 4x Meadow Pipit, Cirl Bunting, Stonechat, flock of 15 Wood Pigeon, Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Chaffinch. It was lovely to hear several birds still in full song including Blue Rock Thrush and Black Redstart of which there were more than 30 in the area. Bird of the morning was a male Dartford Warbler that was, unusually, in the bushes right next to the road.
Sunday 06 November, light NW wind, sunny, 16C: Took advantage of the lovely weather to walk along the Pescaderos route that starts along the road to El Colmenar; it started well but I forgot about the local hunters so ended up taking a different route before someone got shot! Anyway, despite the gunshots there were still lots of Black Redstart, Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Stonechat; also Griffon Vulture, Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Serin, Linnet, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Spotless Starling and Cirl Bunting.
Saturday 05 November, after a couple of days of heavy rain today was partly cloudy, light-fresh NW wind, cool: On the way back from Ronda stopped at the entrance to the Encinas Borrachas track and saw Griffon Vulture, Red-billed Chough, Green Sandpiper (see photo), Thekla Lark, Meadow Pipit, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush and a mixed flock of more than 60 Serin, Linnet and Goldfinch.

Wednesday 02 November, 0700hrs, Gaucin, mostly cloudy, light-fresh S-SE wind: Had an early morning look for the Eagle Owl at Gaucin castle but the was no sign of it, just a few Crag Martin, Sardinian Warbler, Chiffchaff, Song Thrush and the inevitable posse of Black Redstart! Nice sunrise; see not very good photo, but it gives the general idea! This afternoon went to the west slope of El Hacho but the rain started before I could get out of the car so only managed Griffon Vulture, Southern Grey Shrike, Stonechat, Black Redstart, Corn Bunting, Greenfinch, Blackcap and Sardinian Warbler.