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Sunday 28 February 2016, Gaucin, partly cloudy, light W-SW wind, 13C

A chilly day, with a threat of rain/sleet during late afternoon when a visit to the Rio Genal below Gaucin was rewarded with 2 Eurasian Hoopoe; presumably they are moving through northwards as I haven't seen them at this location during the winter. Also seen were Short-toed Eagle, Great Cormorant, Green Woodpecker, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Chiffchaff and 3 Hawfinch.
Hawfinch
Eurasian Hoopoe

Eurasian Hoopoe

Saturday 27 February 2016, Gaucin, partly cloudy, light snow showers, fresh N-NW wind, 8C

Today was blustery and cold, with frequent snow, sleet and hail showers but there were still 3 Black Kite forging their way north above the Rio Genal mid-morning.

On Thursday, close to Marchenilla near Jimena de la Frontera, there was a Short-toed Eagle and the first Red-rumped Swallow of the year.
Gaucin castle partly obscured by falling snow!
Alpine scenes at the top of Los Reales, Sierra Bermeja

Wednesday 24 February 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, fresh N-NW wind, 16C

A visit to the west slope of El Hacho from 10:30-12:00hrs coincided with the wind gaining strength and the arrival of a band of ominous dark cloud! As the northerly wind threatened to weld my fingers to my binoculars, most birds were keeping themselves in deep cover. Reward came, however, in the form of the first returning Short-toed Eagle, as 3 battled northwards against the elements. Also seen were Griffon Vulture, a pair of displaying Peregrine, Common Kestrel, 3 Red-legged Partridge, Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Meadow Pipit, 10+ Black Redstart, Barn Swallow, Sardinian Warbler and Cirl Bunting.

 At 17:30hrs a single Black Kite moved through just east of Gaucin castle and a Booted Eagle was seen high over the Rio Genal (possibly an over-wintering individual judging by its behaviour).

Blue Rock Thrush

Spanish Festoon

Tuesday 23 February 2016, Gaucin, sunny, light NW wind, 16C

There were 2 Barn Swallow over Calle Convento yesterday mid-day.
At the Rio Genal this morning there were Common Kestrel, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Great Cormorant, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackcap, Sardinian Warbler, 6+ Common Chiffchaff with at least one singing, 2 Cettis Warbler, 1 Hawfinch (it sounded like more but I couldn't see them!) and Cirl Bunting.
Today's (possibly) lonesome Hawfinch

Sunday 21 February 2016, Gaucin, mostly hazy sunshine, light-fresh E-SE wind, 15C

After a cold, damp Friday, it was rather windy into Saturday with very strong easterly gusts throughout the night. The weekend has been quite mild, with a fair bit of sunshine today, though it was hazy as Saturday's overnight rain evaporated.
Siskin numbers along Camino de Avedin reached 7 yesterday evening as they continued to feed on the catkins of a couple of mature silver birch trees; also seen along the track were Great-spotted Woodpecker, Black Redstart, Short-toed Treecreeper, Firecrest, Common Chiffchaff and just a couple of Hawfinch. A resident pair of Common Buzzard took advantage of the strong winds to indulge in some spectacular display flights and Green Woodpecker are calling frequently.
Checking out the Rio Genal below Gaucin around mid-day today produced the first Barn Swallow of the year; also Common Kestrel, Grey Heron, Song Thrush, House Martin, Crag Martin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Sardinian Warbler and 10+ Common Chiffchaff (at least one singing).

'High seas' at Sabinillas beach on Saturday
A few Wall Brown butterflies around - this one not in the best of shape!
Misty sunshine - looking towards Sierra Crestellina
Rio Genal looking quite muddy after the recent rains


Friday 19 February 2016, Gaucin, cloudy, light rain showers, light E wind, 8C

After 12mm of overnight rain, today felt very chilly in the easterly wind with a persistent light drizzle. A damp early morning dog-walk along Camino de Avedin was rewarded with 13 Hawfinch in their usual haunt at the top of a huge poplar tree and 5 Siskin feeding on 'catkins'; also Common Chiffchaff and Black Redstart plus Song Thrush, Blackbird, European Robin and Blackcap all singing; Green Woodpecker was heard. A repeat walk at 18:00hrs produced no Hawfinch but there were 3 Siskin in the same tree as this morning.

Tuesday 16 February 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, calm air-light S-SE wind, 12C

After 5 consecutive wet days yesterday saw just a few spots of rain and today was fine and dry, if very chilly early on in the brisk northerly wind that had buffeted us throughout the night before the wind backed to S-SE and everything calmed down.

An early morning walk along Camino de Avedin produced 5 Hawfinch and a couple of Common Chiffchaff but nothing else of note. Following the same route early evening, there were at least 13 Hawfinch in the same tree as this morning, plus Common Buzzard, 80-100 House Martin around and about, Song Thrush, a couple of European Robin in full song, Short-toed Treecreeper and Common Chiffchaff.

I had thought that today might bring some more Black Kite, given that there must have been a fair few backed up in Morrocco after the recent wet and windy conditions, but regular scanning of the skies produced nothing but small groups of Griffon Vulture.

Saturday 13 February 2016, Gaucin, cloudy, light drizzle, light W wind, 15C

Pretty much nothing to report as a result of four days of frequent rain showers; though never heavy, the rain has been a constant factor against going out! One plus point of the warm, damp weather has been the emergence of many Fire Salamader Salamandra salamandra Unfortunately, I only had my phone with me so photos not great.......

Fire Salamander
Fire Salamander
Sierra Crestellina during a brief interlude in today's drizzle

Monday 09 February 2016, Gaucin, mostly cloudy, fresh W-NW wind, 15C

Despite feeling rather cold in the fresh northerly wind, today saw the first returning Black Kite; at 14:45hrs there were 2 heading against the wind, SSE-NNW, between Sierra Crestellina and El Hacho.

The past few days have been quiet. On Saturday morning there was a male Eurasian Sparrowhawk cruising above the bridge on the Ronda road before landing on a house roof adjacent to bar El Socorro and in the afternoon a Booted Eagle above Calle del Pino and three Common Crossbill near La Cruz. On Sunday afternoon there were 4 Common Raven just to the south of the village. At least a couple of Common Chiffchaff in the area have started singing.

Thursday 04 February 2016, Gaucin, partly cloudy, fresh E-SE wind, 14C

After a few days with temperatures in the late teens today felt distinctly chilly in the easterly breeze. A check of the west slope of El Hacho was, by recent standards, predictably quiet! There were still plenty of Black Redstart to brighten things up plus Griffon Vulture, 2 displaying Common Raven, Red-legged Partridge, Blue Rock Thrush, 8+ Song Thrush, a flock of at least 6 Meadow Pipit, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff and 4 Corn Bunting.
Spanish Ibex

Spanish Ibex
Cistus albidus


Monday 01 February 2016, Gaucin, sunny, light S-SE wind, 18C

The highlight of a walk along the tracks to the north of the village from 09:30-11:00hrs was 3 Eurasian Siskin in amongst a roving flock of mixed finches/tits. Also seen were Collared Dove, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Spotless Starling, Black Redstart, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, European Robin, Eurasian Wren, Firecrest, Eurasian Nuthatch, Crested Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff,  Sardinian Warbler, House Sparrow and Cirl Bunting; Green Woodpecker was heard.
Great-spotted Woodpecker