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Thursday 20 December, Gaucin, partly cloudy, light N-NE wind, 17C: During a morning dog walk around La Umbria I saw Griffon Vulture, 2 Song Thrush, Black Redstart, Eurasian Nuthatch, female Siskin, Crested Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Firecrest and 4 Chiffchaff sp., 2 Wren heard.
Wednesday 19 December, Gaucin, light breeze from S-SW, mostly sunny, 16C: A morning trip to Ronda for the car ITV (MOT) gave me an opportunity to see what was around on the Encinas Borrachas track between Atajate and Ronda. It felt a little strange to be in this, usually rather cold, place in the middle of December in a t-shirt! The first stop, on the way to Ronda, was fairly quiet with 20 Red-billed Chough, a flock of 6-8 Thekla Lark, a pair of Southern Grey Shrike, Blue Rock Thrush, Woodlark (heard) and Dartford Warbler (heard) the highlights. On the return trip at 1200hrs I stopped in the lay-by at the entrance to the track and with my binoculars picked up a large eagle perched on a rock at the top of the escarpment; once I got the 'scope out of the car I could see a golden head and nape and the white 'shoulder patches' that are diagnostic for Spanish Imperial Eagle. I watched this wonderful bird for a minute or two before it took off and flew SW along, and frustratingly often, behind, the limestone ridge - limited views of the underbelly suggested a 2-3CY bird. Shortly afterwards, possibly spooked by their big cousin, a pair of adult Bonelli's Eagle drifted up from behind the ridge and wheeled away almost directly overhead. Add to the eagles 3 more Blue Rock Thrush and a couple of Black Wheatear and the fact that the car passed the ITV; and to think I wasn't looking forward to going to Ronda today!
Tuesday 18 December, Gaucin, mostly sunny, calm air-light NW wind, 15C: A female Siskin feeding on seeds of a cypress tree along the Camino de Avedin at about 1200hrs.
Thursday 13 December, Gaucin, partly cloudy, calm air-light W-SW wind, 12C: At 1000hrs there were two female Crossbill on a dead pine tree next to the old convent in Calle Convento.
Wednesday 12 December, Gaucin, mostly cloudy, calm air-light SE wind, 11C: 1030-1200hrs - the highlights of a visit to the Salto de Cura just outside Gaucin were a female Crossbill, Crested Tit and Eurasian Nuthatch. Moving on to a track leading to the Salitre area just off the road to Estacion de Cortes I pulled over to check a thrush on a distant small tree - I'm glad I did as it was a Redwing, a good record for this area. Along the Salitre track I added Common Kestrel, several Collard Dove, Southern Grey Shrike, Hawfinch, Meadow Pipit, Thekla Lark, Woodlark, Corn Bunting, Cirl Bunting, Black Redstart, Stonechat, small flocks of Chaffinch and several Chiffchaff sp.

Yesterday there were 20-30 Griffon Vulture very low over the village just above Plaza Santo Nino - it was great to sit there in the warm winter sunshine watching their beautifully languid wingbeats as they worked on getting some height.

Woodlark - look at the length of those hind claws!

Collared Dove

Friday 07 December, Gaucin, rain, light-fresh W-SW wind, 11C: Plenty of Song Thrush around at the moment; they seem to be bursting out of every other shrub or small tree. Today there were 100+ White Stork at Estacion de San Roque where the over-wintering population is getting bigger each year.


Monday 03 December, Gaucin, sunny, light-fresh NW wind, 13C: A morning walk along Camino de Gibraltar, 0930-1130hrs, didn't start well as one of the fresh gusts of wind blew my scope over on the steep concrete section of the track; the objective casing was dented, the eyepiece housing cracked and the body fell into two parts but such is the build quality of Kowa optics once I got it home and glued it all back together it was as if nothing had happened! Anyway, apart from the scope disaster it was a quiet morning with a party of 5 Siskin (see photo of one), a nice close view of a male Blue Rock Thrush and at least 15 Song Thrush the highlights.
Sunday 02 December, Gaucin, sunny, light N wind, 11C (but feeling colder in the shade or in the wind!): Dog-walking has its advantages...hard on the heels of yesterday's Siskin I saw my first Brambling of the winter this morning on the concrete section of the Camino de Gibraltar just 50m from the nearest houses; also a possible Redwing but it disappeared into the middle of a large olive tree before I could get my bins on it. This afternoon whilst having a coffee and gazing out of our patio window I saw 11 species in 20min in the Walnut tree in the garden, including three good 'garden ticks': Common Starling, Spotless Starling, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Crested Tit, Blackcap, Chiffchaff sp., House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Siskin.
Saturday 01 December, Gaucin, sunny, light N-NW wind, 6C: A morning walk along the Camino de Gibraltar produced the following of note: Raven, Blue Rock Thrush (in Calle del Pino), 3 Song Thrush, at least 10 Black Redstart, Rock Bunting, Serin, 6 Chiffchaff sp. including 4 feeding together around a shallow drainage ditch; it was interesting to note the colour variations, two were very green/yellow and two very dull grey/brown. Also my first Siskin of the winter, a female.