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Thursday 31 January, Gaucin, sunny, calm air, 20C: A fantastic Spring-like day; House Martins already nest-building in the centre of the village and a constant buzz of birdsong in the countryside. Other than that, just a pair of Common Buzzard and a female Sparrowhawk to report. A couple of photos from my last visit to El Hacho, a Southern Grey Shrike (note the much warmer pink breast than that seen in the UK Great Grey Shrike) and a female Blue Rock Thrush.



Tuesday 29 January, Gaucin, mostly sunny, calm air-light N wind, 17C: At least a dozen House Martin around the southern fringes of the village today and at 1500hrs two Bonelli's Eagle were drifting around in front of Sierra Crestellina before heading away to the west monitored closely by a Eurasian Sparrowhawk.

Sunday 27 January, Gaucin, mostly cloudy, light W wind, 14C: A midday walk around Cerro del Galgo near San Martin de Tesorillo produced the usual range of winter species such as White Stork (along the Gaucin-Estacion San Roque road), Little Egret, 6 Common Buzzard, Kestrel sp.,  Corn Bunting, Crag Martin,  Zitting Cisticola, White Wagtail, Chiffchaff sp., 20+ Song Thrush, Robin, Chaffinch, Linnet and Serin. The best was saved till last, though, when a Black-winged Kite was spotted hovering less than 5m above a grassy field just 50m away; it hung around for a few minutes and Janys and I got some great views. This location is approximately 10km from the site on the Rio Genal, off the Casares-Secadero track, where my other 'local' sighting of this species was so it's quite possible that this is another individual, so possibly two local pairs, which would be great news.
Saturday 26 January, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light W-NW wind, 14C: After a couple of days of persistent light-moderate rain, back to sunshine today. At 0900hrs the first House Martin of the year appeared in the village with two over Callejon del Pino and later one flying along Calle Convento! A visit to the west slope of El Hacho produced the usual suspects Griffon Vulture, Common Kestrel, Southern Grey Shrike (further west than normal, towards El Puerto del Negro), Blue Rock Thrush, Black Redstart, Cirl Bunting, Stonechat, Blackcap, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Greenfinch. Also seen were a Red Fox (cubs heard, too) and two female Spanish Ibex.
Thursday 24 January, Gaucin, mostly cloudy, occasional light rain, light W-NW wind, 9C: Interesting sighting of a flock of 15-20 Yellow-legged Gull directly over the village at noon today - this is the first time I've seen them here.
Wednesday 23 January, Gaucin, mostly cloudy, light-fresh W-NW wind, 9C: A rather chilly wintry day, by Gaucin standards, anyway. A morning visit to tracks/fields near Algatocin wasn't too productive but good views of a flock of about 10 Siskin was a nice reward. Also seen were Griffon Vulture, a distant Peregrine, Common Kestrel, Song Thrush, Robin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Chiffchaff sp., Serin, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch.

Just a dusting of snow on the aptly-named Sierra de las Nieves

Sunday 20 January, Gaucin, mostly cloudy, occasional light rain, fresh W-NW wind, 9C: With the change in the weather it's no longer so Spring-like, despite there being two House Martin in Sabinillas this morning (like those in Manilva last week, they are probably part of the small coastal over-wintering population). There was a male Sparrowhawk around the south of Gaucin this morning but quiet apart from that. I saw a very pale bird, presuambly a House Sparrow, a couple of days ago in with the local House Sparrows as they prepared to roost in the Calle del Pino/Calle Convento gardens but haven't been able to pick it up since; I'll keep looking just in case it's something interesting!

I meant to post this photo of a prehistoric tomb (no reliable estimate of age; possibly bronze age?), located near to Castellar de la Frontera, that we saw on our walk on Friday. There are a few examples of these anthropomorphic depressions in the rock in the surrounding areas but these are the closest I know to Gaucin:

Friday 18 January, Gaucin, cloudy, light rain, fresh W-NW wind, 13C: Been walking in the Castellar de la Frontera area for the last couple of days; lovely walks but little time for serious birding. The highlight was great close views of a group of 70 Griffon Vulture flying above, below and around us at the top of Cerro Gordo; also seen were several Common Buzzard, Grey Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Red-legged Partridge, Lesser Kestrel, Crested  Lark, Meadow Pipit, Song Thrush, large mixed flocks, 200+, of Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Linnet in the cotton fields, lots of Stonechat, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Chiffchaff sp., Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Corn Bunting and Cirl Bunting.

Sierra El Hacho, Gaucin, and Sierra Crestellina from Cerro de Galgo
Thursday 17 January, Gaucin, mostly cloudy, light-fresh W-NW wind, 15C: A group of 3 House Martin spotted this morning in Manilva but I suspect they were 'over-wintering' birds; also a Raven between Manilva and Casares.
Tuesday 15 January, Gaucin, mostly sunny, fresh W-NW wind, 11C but feeling colder in the wind. The past couple of days have been so sunny and warm it's hard to believe it's not yet Spring; I keep looking to the skies expecting to see some Summer migrants then remind myself that it's still too early, even for southern Spain! It will only be two or three weeks, though, before the first arrivals are here such as House Martin, Barn Swallow and the beautiful Black Kite.
Saturday 12 January, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light W-NW wind, 16C: Thursday and Friday spent around San Martin de Tesorillo checking out walking routes; sunny with temperatures up to 21C. Logged a male Hen Harrier and a Goshawk on Thursday morning and a female Hen Harrier on Friday morning. Today spotted a Dunnock just below the Mirador de Africa opposite the turning to Benarraba.
Wednesday 09 January, Gaucin, light air from N-NW, mostly sunny, 15C: Not much to report but yesterday I spent a morning between Jimena de la Frontera and San Martin de Tesorillo looking for new walking routes - superb weather, clear skies and 19C. Although not really birding I did see Griffon Vuture, 3x Common Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, 2x Common Snipe, 2x Green Sandpiper, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron, Song Thrush, Blue Rock Thrush, Crested Lark, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff sp., Zitting Cisticola, Cirl Bunting, Serin, Goldfinch, Linnet, Greenfinch and a couple of fields 'full' of Chaffinch (and probably a few Brambling, too, but didn't see any!).
Sunday 06 January, Gaucin, sunny, light-fresh NW wind, 16C, 1030-1130hrs: Today's breakfast sightings were a Blue Rock Thrush on the roof a nearby house and a male Black Redstart in the walnut tree. A visit to El Hacho wasn't very productive, mainly due to the gusting winds, but there was more activity along the tracks behind the petrol station and it was great to see the pink and white Almond blossom breaking out across the area. Highlights were 20+ Griffon Vulture, Song Thrush, two colourful male Serin, one in full song, 2x Black Redstart, a Chiffchaff sp., female Cirl Bunting and a flock of 20+ Chaffinch. Photo is a Meadow Pipit taking refuge from the wind in a leafless fig tree.



Saturday 05 January, Gaucin, sunny, calm air-light N-NW wind, 17C: Walked along the 'smugglers trail' along the Sierra Espartina ridge from 1130-1230hrs. As often seems to be the case here there were few birds around, 6 Griffon Vulture, Crested Tit, Eurasian Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker; but a female Common Crossbill in amongst a small flock of Chaffinch was a good sighting and the views back to Gaucin are worth it!


Friday 21 December, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light SW wind, 17C: A group of 60+ Grifffon Vulture over the southern end of Sierra Crestellina at 1700hrs and a lone female Sparrowhawk cruising the vast blue skies above Camino de Avedin during the afternoon.
Crestellina, Rif mountains and Penitentes rocks leading to Gaucin castle

Sierra Crestellina
Friday 04 January, Gaucin, partly cloudy, light-fresh E-NE wind, 14C: Breakfast sightings on the Walnut tree in the garden were a Siskin and a female Cirl Bunting. A walk along Camino de Gibraltar from 0930-1130hrs produced 2 Song Thrush, Eurasian Nuthatch, 5 Black Redstart, 2 Chiffchaff sp., Blackcap, Sardinian Warbler, Hawfinch, Cirl Bunting, 2 pairs of Stonechat, 30+ Goldfinch, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Meadow Pipit and 50+ Griffon Vulture flying west from El Hacho towards Sierra Crestellina.
Grey Wagtail on unusual high-wire perch!