After a day off following the 7-day tour of Coto Donana & Extremadura I was back at 'work' leading a day tour locally to our home base here in Gaucin.
It was quite cloudy to start with and quite chilly but by lunch time it was hot with a clear blue sky. David & Olga & I set off at 9am after breakfast at our home in Gaucin, we drove directly northward towards Ronda. We picked up Rock Sparrow, Griffon Vulture, Sparrowhawk & Blue Rock Thrush before stopping at a roadside pull-in just north of Atajate. We walked along a walled section of the road which overlooked a valley of scrub and rugged-rocky outcrops. There were many birds flitting around which included; Black Wheatear, Black Redstart (7), Chiffchaff, Blue Rock Thrush, Red-legged Partridge, our first Ring Ouzel of the winter, Rock Sparrow & Red-billed Chough.
Next we stopped at the Dolmen's Encinas de la Borrachas where a track leads across a large open valley. the whole area is strewn with rocks, scrub and a couple of man-made pools. It was full of birds, large flocks of Linnets, Goldfinches and Corn Buntings were joined by Meadow Pipits and Stonechats.
Further down the track we watched Thekla Larks, a Little Owl and we heard a Woodlark singing in the morning sunshine. Scanning the high limestone ridges we found Peregrine Falcon, Griffon Vulture (5), Blue Rock Thrush & Black Wheatear.
We spent the next two hours walking the streets of Ronda doing the tourist bit (finding Red-billed Chough, Blue Rock Thrush, Crag Martin and Common Kestrel). By 2 pm we were back in Gaucin enjoying a tapas lunch.
For the afternoon I took Pam out, she is also staying with us at Gaucin and wanted to visit a couple of coastal sites. We stopped at Sierra Crestellina on the way down to the coast. Up to 40 Griffon Vultures were in the sky as were Crag Martins, Kestrels and small flocks of Goldfinch & Corn Buntings. We failed to find Bonelli's Eagle or Cirl Bunting both of which were on our target list.
At the coat we spent a couple of hours walking around the reserve at Torreguadiaro. It was a lovely time, many Crag martins and Barn swallows were hunting insects over the water as Little Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Little Egret. Kingfisher, Mallard and a single Teal messed about near the water. Two good sightings were of a Purple Swamphen and a Little Bittern, it will be interesting to see if the bittern decides to spend the winter here?
Walking around the boardwalk to the beach we found Stonechat, Crested Lark, Chiffchaff, Spotless Starling, a flock of Monk Parakeets flew over us whilst we were watching Northern Gannets diving for fish and Balearic Shearwaters shearing the water just offshore.
On the return journey we stopped to scan a gull flock on the beach which contained 500+ birds, mainly Yellow-legged but also Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls. Another stop at Crestellina on the way up to Gaucin gave us a very brief view of Bonelli's Eagle but it disappeared over the ridge and failed to return. It was now 7pm, the sun was still warm and bright but we had to get back to join the others for dinner.
THIS DAY TOUR CONCLUDED THE 'WINGSPAN' 2010 SEASON IN SPAIN (UNLESS NEW WORK COMES IN OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS). WE ARE TRAVELING BACK TO THE UK ON 6TH NOVEMBER IN PREPARATION FOR THE TWO TOURS TO THE GAMBIA COMMENCING ON 16TH NOVEMBER.
OCTOBER 25TH - SERRANIA DE RONDA (am) - SIERRA CRESTELLINA & SOTO GRANDE (pm)
Posted by WINGSPANNER at 15:16
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