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Friday 28 October 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, fresh-gusting to gale force, E-SE wind, 20C

There have been more recent reports of Booted Eagle around the village, so still clearly at least one hanging around.
There was a House Martin over Salitre again on Wednesday, a noticeable increase in the number of Black Redstart and Song Thrush in the area and 2 Bonelli's Eagle there early Friday evening; also Peregrine, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel, Crag Martin, Woodlark, Thekla Lark, small flocks (5-10) of Meadow Pipit, several Chiffchaff sp., Corn Bunting and Cirl Bunting. At least 30 Griffon Vulture were showing interest in a dead sheep on Thursday morning but they didn't stay around long so presumably it wasn't quite right for some reason or other.....
male Stonechat

Monday 24 October 2016, Gaucin, light rain am, mostly cloudy pm, light SE wind, 20C

Some steady rain over the past couple of days, it rained most of Sunday and also today until mid-morning, with a total of 39mm falling.

On Friday 21st there was a Griffon Vulture spectacle with up to 300 present just SW of Casares (per P. Hale). This number is far in excess of anything I or the observer have seen in over 15 years. Quite something:

Some of the 300 or so Griffon Vulture seen near Casares (photo P. Hale)
Also on Friday, but rather more mundane was a single House Martin amongst a small group of Crag Martin between Salitre and Gaucin.

Today at 16:00hrs there was a Common Crossbill singing in Calle del Pino.

Thursday 20 October 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light SE wind, 21C

Janys reported a Booted Eagle just south of the village yesterday afternoon and today there was a pale morph just below the turning to Cortes de la Frontera on the Gaucin-Ronda road (same bird?); also in the Salitre area were Short-toed Eagle, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Southern Grey Shrike, 10+ Song Thrush flying over around 18:30hrs, Thekla Lark, Woodlark, Meadow Pipit, Stonechat and Rock Sparrow.

An interesting report of the first record for a Sardinian/Subalpine Warbler cross found in Casares, Extremadura:


Tuesday 18 October 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light SE wind, 23C

Some 'highlights' from the past couple of days during which the weather has been settled and quite warm:
On Sunday there was a group of 18 Common Raven over the Las Pilas track above Algatocin; also Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel and Blue Rock Thrush.
Yesterday there were 50+ Griffon Vulture and a Short-toed Eagle over Salitre - given its direction of flight (SE) and height (quite low) I'd imagine this was a 'local' bird that has either yet to leave or is a candidate for over-wintering; also a Song Thrush (first of the autumn). Today in the same area there were Common Kestrel, Common Raven, Stonechat, 10+ Meadow Pipit, at least 2 Woodlark, Thekla Lark, Chiffchaff sp., Cirl Bunting, as a flock of 20+ Rock Sparrow.
El Hacho and the Alcornocales national park from Las Pilas

Rock Sparrow - even at a distance the stripey head stands out

Thekla Lark - short, stubby bill and strong chest markings differentiate from Crested Lark

El Hacho from Salitre at dusk

Saturday 15 October 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light S-SE wind, 20C

The highlights of a morning walk around El Hacho mountain were Peregrine, Common Kestrel, Southern Grey Shrike and Black Redstart; also seen were at least 3 Monarch butterflies (all in the vicinity of the spring between the Brenaverde and the turning to Estacion de Gaucin) and, on the top of the mountain, a couple of Spanish Ibex.
There was a pale morph Booted Eagle low over Calle Convento late afternoon.

Friday 14 October 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light W-NW wind, 20C

Well, the weather finally broke on Wednesday when it rained steadily for most of the day with 39mm falling. Thursday was more showery, though some heavy cloudbursts in the early hours helped deliver a healthy 26mm. Today a light overnight shower or two totalled 3mm.

Whilst waiting for the car to be fixed in San Pablo de Buceite yesterday afternoon there were 100+ House Martin, 4 Barn Swallow and a single Common Swift around the Guadiaro river and adjacent orange groves.

In Gaucin around 18:00hrs this evening there was a Common Buzzard just south of the village, a female Eurasian Sparrowhawk very close to houses in Calle Convento and at least one Blue Rock Thrush in the same area. From our terrace a Spanish Ibex was visible on the summit of El Hacho mountain.

Monday 10 October 2016, Gaucin, sunny, light W-NW wind, 28C

Having written off the 'local' Booted Eagles yesterday, this morning I had one of my best views of the species as a pale morph bird dived from some height into a fig tree, presumably targeting one of the House Sparrows that were messing around in it, just 15m from the house; luckily for the sparrows it came up empty-talloned.

Whilst enjoying a lunchtime beer at the Kabilas restaurant in Benarraba around 13:00hrs we were treated to an juvenile Golden Eagle that flew over then circled for a couple of minutes before drifting off NW; also seen were Common Buzzard and Eurasian Sparrowhawk.

Sunday 09 October 2016, Gaucin, sunny, calm air-light W wind, 30C

It's a week since my last post and a succession of easterly levante winds have held the temperature in the high 20s centigrade throughout. Today the wind backed to westerly and the mercury hit 30C.
Although the weather hasn't changed much recently the avian landscape has with no sightings of Booted Eagle, Swift or Barn Swallow in the village for a couple of weeks whilst raptor migration is more or less over.
The highlights of a walk along the Camino de Gibraltar this morning from 08:00-09:30hrs were a female/1st summer Northern Wheatear, a female/1st summer Pied Flycatcher, Hawfinch and Firecrest. Also seen were 50+ Griffon Vulture over Sierra Crestellina, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Thekla/Crested Lark, Black Redstart (first returning bird in the 'village' area), European Robin, Grey Wagtail, Stonechat, 5+ Chiffchaff sp., Sardinian Warbler, 5+ Blackcap, a flock of 25+ Goldfinch, 5+ Cirl Bunting and Corn Bunting.

Whilst having a late morning coffee at Bodeguita Chaparro there were a couple of Firecrest in an adjacent oak tree and at least one Common Crossbill flew overhead.
Northern Wheatear - adopting an uncharacteristic pose on a telephone cable

Sunday 02 October 2016, Gaucin, sunny, calm air-light SE wind, 28C

A rather warm walk to the Buitreras Gorge near Estacion de Gaucin produced a good sighting in the form of an adult Bonelli's Eagle; also great close-up views of Griffon Vulture, plus Blue Rock Thrush and Crag Martin.
Back in the village mid-afternoon there was local Booted Eagle (pale and dark morph), Eurasian Sparrowhawk and Common Kestrel. One Short-toed Eagle was seen moving through very high up. Blue Rock Thrush still singing around the Calle Convento rooftops.

The Spanish flag at the top of El Hacho mountain has suffered in the recent strong levante wind!

Approaching the Buitreras Gorge