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Wednesday 30 March 2016, Gaucin, sunny, light S-SE wind, 20C

An afternoon trip down to the Rio Genal produced the first Common Nightingale of the year with one singing from deep within a tangle of bamboo canes; also seen were Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, European Bee-eater (numbers there now in excess of 40 ), at least 4, possibly 6, Little-ringed Plover and a single Green Sandpiper, Barn Swallow, Chiffchaff sp., Cetti's Warbler and lots of noisy Serin.
Little-ringed Plover
Keeping a look-out!
European Bee-eater

Tuesday 29 March 2016, Gaucin, sunny, light S-SE wind, 20C

On Sunday morning, after some light rain, there was a reasonable passage of Black Kite (several small groups and at least a couple of groups of 30+) over Estacion de Cortes as we walked to the 'Puente de los Alemanes' to avoid the 'bull run'; there was a male Marsh Harrier and 6 European Bee-eater over Gaucin at 19:30hrs.
 
This morning there were 3 Black Kite low over the village at 09:00hrs, presumably they had spent the night locally before heading off north. An afternoon walk along the Camino de Gibraltar (another unsuccessful attempt to add Common Nightingale to this year's list!) produced Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Woodchat Shrike (pair), Short-toed Treecreeper and 100+ Swift sp., the majority of which seemed to be Pallid.
Woodchat Shrike
Woodchat Shrike


Saturday 26 March 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light-fresh S wind, 20C

There were at least 3 Booted Eagle around the village today and, along the Camino de Gibraltar, it was great to see a male Common Redstart that had stopped off on its way north. Lots of Serin singing now, too, adding to the Summery feel.

Common Redstart

Friday 25 March 2016, Gaucin, sunny, light W-NW wind, 19C

In stark contrast to the cold, wet start to the week the weather has gradually improved (we could still do with some more rain to top up the reservoirs, though). A walk along the Camino de Gibraltar late yesterday afternoon produced a Short-toed Treecreeper and the first Woodchat Shrike of the year.

This morning at the Rio Genal, where I thought I might hear the first Common Nightingale of the year, there was not one, but two year 'firsts', as a fly-over European Bee-eater and a Bonelli's Warbler showed up. Also seen were Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, 7 Black Kite, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, 7 Black Stork, Grey Heron and 3 Little-ringed Plover.

Back in the village in the afternoon a few Black Kite were moving through with a single and a group of 4 very low over the east of the village, just below the castle.

Woodchat Shrike

Monday 21 March 2016, Gaucin, frequent rain and hail showers, light W wind, 9C

The arrival of the Spring Equinox brought thunder, rain (43mm) and hailstorms, during which the temperature plunged as low as 1.3C. The only bright spot was at 07:00hrs when a Common Cuckoo could be heard calling from the valley to the south of the village.

Click here to see David Lindo's interesting short video about birding in Malaga city:

Urban Birding in Malaga

Hailstones on the terrace!

Sunday 20 March 2016, Gaucin, cloudy, rain showers, light W-NW wind, 12C

A dull, damp day that cleared late afternoon, much as it did yesterday. Emerging slow and low through the murk and rain at 12:30hrs were 25 Black Kite. A walk around La Umbria produced the first Common Cuckoo of the year - thanks to Janys who heard it first!

Black Kite

Saturday 19 March 2016, Gaucin, partly cloudy, light rain showers, light W-NW wind, 14C

In between the showers, some good migration sightings:

15:00hrs: 8 Black Kite, 1 Black Stork
15:15hrs: 15 Black Kite, Booted Eagle. Locally, Short-toed Eagle, Common Kestrel, 4 Common Raven (including the 'trumpeter')
15:30hrs: Booted Eagle
15:45hrs: Osprey, a few more Black Kite, 50+ Swift sp.

At the Rio Genal around 16:30hrs there was Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, 3 Green Sandpiper and 3 Little-ringed Plover.

This morning's view from Gaucin

Short-toed Eagle

Thursday 17 March 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, calm air-light W-NW wind, 19C

A lovely warm day today with some significant raptor movement. After seeing a wonderful male Siskin in trees beside Calle Convento at 07:30hrs, the highlights of a walk along the Camino de Gibraltar at 09:30hrs were 4 Booted Eagle, a Eurasian Hoopoe, Black Redstart, 3 pairs of Stonechat, Short-toed Treecreeper, Firecrest, Serin and Cirl Bunting.

Heading north over the village during the afternoon were:

13:30hrs: adult Egyptian Vulture, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, 6 Stork sp., (most likely Black Stork, but only seen in distant silhouette)
14:30hrs: 50+ Black Kite
15:00hrs: 200+ Black Kite
16:30hrs: 200+ Black Kite

The Black Kite 'kettles' may have held a few Booted Eagle but they were swirling at a distance of 1-2km so hard to be certain.
Of all the birds seen today, this Chaffinch was the only one I got a half-decent photo of!


Wednesday 16 March 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light W-NW wind, 17C

Some Black Kite movement today with 30+ through at 13:30hrs and 50+ at 15:30hrs; also two reports of Eurasian Hoopoe in and around the village.

Monday 14 March 2016, Gaucin, sunny am, cloudy pm, light-fresh SE wind, 15C

Raptor migration is beginning to hot up with 2 Marsh Harrier (1 male, 1 female), 2 Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle and 8 Common Kestrel moving through during the afternoon. There were also 3 Common Raven around, with at least one performing some quite spectacular displays.

The skies have suddenly exploded with House Martin, Swallow and 20+ Swift sp., including at least one Pallid Swift.


Sunday 13 March 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light S-SE wind, 15C

An afternoon walk around La Umbria produced the first Iberian Chiffchaff of the year with one singing from the cork oaks; there were also three Short-toed Eagle, which I assume are the same three that have been hanging around the village together for a couple of weeks.

Saturday 12 March 2016, Gaucin, sunny, calm air-light S-SE wind, 15C

Despite what seemed ideal conditions, I didn't see a single migrating raptor today! On Wednesday lunchtime there was a first winter Blue Rock Thrush singing from a rooftop in Calle Convento and in the evening there was a Common Swift in with a small group of House Martin around the old convent building. At 08:00hrs on Thursday there was a Common Crossbill calling from cypresses just along from the petrol station.

An afternoon visit to the Rio Genal on Friday produced Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Common Buzzard, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, 2 Green Sandpiper, Little-ringed Plover, Common Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Blackcap and Common Chiffchaff.

This afternoon, in calm, warm conditions for once, I checked out the west slope of El Hacho. No exciting migrants to report but I did see 20+ Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Peregrine, Common Kestrel, Red-legged Partridge (heard), Southern Grey Shrike (not seen for some time so glad to know it's still around), Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Black Redstart (still a few around, but numbers are noticeably down on winter peaks), Meadow Pipit, Stonechat, Sardinian Warbler, Dartford Warbler (heard), Linnet and Cirl Bunting.

A good find was a Bumble Bee Ophrys - not the rarest orchid but quite hard to see here.

Gaucin and the Sierra Bermeja

Bumble Bee Ophrys Ophrys bombyliflora


Tuesday 08 March 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light-fresh N-NE wind, 15C

After a bitterly cold day yesterday, just 8C and raining at lunchtime, a keen northerly wind once again helped to make it feel cooler than the temperature suggested but it didn't deter a good number of Short-toed Eagle from heading north with 18+ seen moving through between 13:45-15:45hrs, at least 10 in a loose 'flock' at 14:45; also a single Black Kite.

On Sunday at 18:50hrs 2 adult Egyptian Vulture were heading north over the village.

Still no further Swift sightings since the early arrival on 03 March but there are now several Barn Swallow complementing the dozens of House Martin cruising the southern edge of the village. Blackbirds are revving up, too, with at least two in full song around Calle Convento/Calle del Pino. There's still an occasional Black Redstart in the village so we've not yet moved to full 'summer mode'!

There are a few early orchids around, such as Dull Ophrys and Mirror Ophrys:
Dull Ophrys Ophrys fusca

Mirror Ophrys Ophrys ciliata



Saturday 05 March 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light-fresh NW wind, 13C

A check of the Rio Genal in chilly conditions at 11:00hrs produced the first Little-ringed Plover of the year, with a single bird feeding along the water's edge. Also seen were Griffon Vulture, Green Sandpiper, House Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Spotless Starling (doing a fair impression of European Bee-eater call), Meadow Pipit, Black Redstart, White Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Common Chiffchaff, Blackcap, the usual small flock of ~10 House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Serin; Cetti's Warbler and Great-spotted Woodpecker were heard. Sadly, no sign of last week's two Eurasian Hoopoe.
Back in the village there was an adult Egyptian Vulture with a small group of Griffons over Camino de Avedin this afternoon; also Common Buzzard and a Common Kestrel in the area.
Greenfinch
Little-ringed Plover

Little-ringed Plover

Friday 04 March 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light NW wind, 20C

A quiet few days with the temperature gradually rising to a balmy 20C, though with cool northerly winds persisting for the most part, it's remained chilly in the shade.

On Monday afternoon there was at least one Eurasian Hoopoe still around beside the Rio Genal; also Green Sandpiper.

On Wednesday I was very privileged to see a display, that included an aerial food transfer, between two Peregrine over Sierra del Hacho; also there a Dartford Warbler but, as has been the case recently, little else in the face of fresh northerly winds. At least 3 Siskin still feeding on Silver Birch catkins along Camino de Avedin.

Yesterday saw the first returning Swift sp. of the year; it arrived over Camino de Avedin around 14:30hrs but by the time I'd grabbed my bins it was long gone so no chance to see if it was Common or Pallid! I kept a lookout today but it didn't reappear.

This afternoon at 15:45hrs 9 Black Kite moved through and there have been one or two Short-toed Eagle consorting with the local Griffon Vulture flocks. 3 Kestrel sp. flew through high over Camino de Avedin at 18:00hrs.