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Sunday 29 June 2014, Gaucin, sunny, light-fresh W-SW wind, 28C

At 1000hrs we set off around La Umbria on this year's 'semana cultural' bidwatching walk; despite the inclusion of two very enthusiastic kids and a dog amongst our number we still saw, or heard, all of our target species except Short-toed Eagle!

The Common Nightingale in the garden is still there and calling, often for long periods, throughout the day; here's a video/recording of its has been behaving like this for several weeks; there are cats in the area but to be alarm calling continually for so long seems a bit strange.

Friday 27 June 2014, Gaucin, sunny, light SE wind, 26C

At the Rio Genal from 0930-1100hrs the following of note were seen:

Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, 4x Little-ringed Plover, 4x Turtle Dove, Eurasian Jay, 80-100x European Bee-eater, Golden Oriole (at least one male plus two or three female/juvenile), Eurasian Hoopoe, Woodchat Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Grey Wagtail, Sardinian Warbler and Serin.

Still a reasonable amount of water in the river

European Terrapin

Wednesday 25 June 2014, Gaucin, partly cloudy, light W wind, 22C

After the unexpected rain (31mm) and cool temperature (16C) of yesterday, today was a little more summery. A walk from Estacion de Gaucin to the Buitreras gorge from 1030-1300hrs produced the following of note:

Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel, Great-spotted Woodpecker, European Bee-eater, Common Kingfisher, Blue Rock Thrush, lots of Alpine Swift, Red-rumped Swallow, Crag Martin, Serin and Rock Bunting. Green Woodpecker and Golden Oriole were heard.

View along the Rio Guadiaro towards Estacion de Gaucin

Approaching the entrance to the gorge

Not a bad place to be on a Wednesday morning!

A Griffon Vulture keeping cool in the shade
There were quite a few Damselflies and Dragonflies around, too, including these two (I'm no expert so hope I'm right!):

Copper Demoiselle Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis

Small Pincertail Onychogomphus forcipatus

Sunday 22 June 2014, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light W-NW wind, 23C

A circular walk from Puerto de Espina to Algatocin and back from 1030-1200hrs produced the following of note:
Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Peregrine, Red-rumped Swallow, Woodchat Shrike, 3x Bonelli's Warbler (heard) and Serin.

Juvenile Woodchat Shrike

Pale juvenile Short-toed Eagle
View towards Sierra de las Nieves

Friday 20 June 2014, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light S-SW wind, 27C

A walk aroundLa Umbria from 1030-1200hrs produced a good record in the form of my first Turtle Dove for the village proper (I've seen them down on the river but never up here) which was 'purrring' from the dense canopy of the cork oaks; also seen were Booted Eagle, Eurasian Jay, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Nuthatch, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap and Firecrest. At least 5x Bonelli's Warbler were heard plus one Iberian Chiffchaff.

There were a great number of butterflies around, most of which appeared to be Iberian Marbled White and also evidence of a fair few Funnel-web Spider Macrothele calpeiana.....the Sweet Chestnut Castanea satvia trees were looking good, too.


Thursday 19 June 2014, Gaucin, cloudy am, mostly sunny pm, light S-SE wind, 24C

For some reason the Common Nightingale, that has been hiding deep within the cover of the garden foliage, decided to go walkabout along the callejón (alleyway) this afternoon; Janys spotted it and I grabbed my camera!

Some Pallid Swifts from yesterday......

And this one......
Pallid or Common?!

Tuesday 17 June 2014, Gaucin, sunny, light-fresh SE wind, 27C

I'm happy to report that the Sierra Crestellina Bonelli's Eagle chick is alive and well and looking close to fledging. A stop at the roadside opposite the west slope of El Hacho from 1800-1900hrs produced, as well as a plague of tiny biting flies, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Peregrine, Crag Martin, Thekla/Crested Lark, Stonechat, Corn Bunting, Sardinian Warbler and Melodious Warbler.

Monday 16 June 2014, Gaucin, partly cloudy, light SE wind, 28C

The weekend was hot and sunny with the temperature reaching 34C on Saturday. Sunday afternoon the three Short-toed Eagle were close to the southern edge of the village, an occasional Booted Eagle drifted by high above and I heard the first European Bee-eater for some time.

Short-toed Eagle at El Puerto del Negro on Friday

A few Swift sp. photos from the weekend......

Thursday 12 June 2014, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light-fresh E-SE wind, 31C

A stroll through the mixed woodlands just NW of Gaucin from 0900-1000hrs produced a similar list to Tuesday with the notable exceptions of Northern Goshawk and Mistle Thrush; but today I did see Firecrest and a party of 6-8 Long-tailed Tit. Other species seen were Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Eurasian Jay, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Nuthatch and Serin; Iberian Chiffchaff and Bonelli's Warbler were heard.

Tuesday 10 June 2014, Gaucin, mostly cloudy, light SE wind, 26C

After a hot and sunny day yesterday, today was cloudy with the constant threat of rain which, apart from a few big drops mid-afternoon, never arrived. From 0900-1030hrs I took a walk through the mixed woodland just to the north-west of Gaucin and logged the following:

Griffon Vulture, dark and pale morph Booted Eagle, 3x Short-toed Eagle (together), Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Jay, Great-spotted Woodpecker, an unusual sighting of a flock of at least 12x Mistle Thrush, Eurasian Nuthatch, Crested Tit, Bonelli's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap and Serin. Green Woodpecker, Woodlark, Iberian Chiffchaff and Firecrest were all heard.

Sunday 08 June 2014, Gaucin, sunny, light W-NW wind, 29C

Driving down to San Martin de Tesorillo on Friday there was a Little Owl just before, and a Black Kite over, San Pablo de Buceite. Driving the same route today there was another Black Kite at Jimena de la Frontera.

In Castellar de la Frontera there were several Lesser Kestrel and a couple of Crag Martin around the castle. There were plenty of Griffon Vulture around, also a few Booted Eagle and, towards Jimena, five or six European Bee-eater. Interestingly there was a flock of 150+ Spotless Starling in the fields below Castellar.

Back in Gaucin, whilst scanning Sierra Crestellina at 1900hrs, I picked up one of the adult Bonelli's Eagle that are nesting there.

Red Palm Weevil Rhynchophorous ferrugineus in our house on Friday

Wednesday 04 June 2014, Gaucin, sunny, calm air-light W-NW wind, 29C

A very similar day to yesterday, hot and sunny. Little to report today other than large numbers of Swift sp., flying just south of the village for most of the day, feasting on the clouds of small flying insects brought out by the increased temperature. A Common Nightingale is back in the gardens between Calle Convento and Calle del Pino and last night at 2215hrs a Red-Necked Nightjar made a couple of sorties over the garden below our house; good to see them back in the village, if only briefly.

Sunday 01 June 2014, Gaucin, partly cloudy, light SE wind, 19C

A strange day weather-wise with brooding dark clouds building up throughout the morning and culminating in a short but violent thunder and lightning storm at around 1300hrs; 20mm of rain falling in 30min. Calle Convento was completely under water from the Ferreteria to Callejon de Capitan and there was a hailstorm with 1cm hailstones during which the temperature plummeted from 19C to just 6C within 5min!

Luckily I managed to get in a walk in the dry around El Hacho from 0930-1200hrs during which there were some good sightings including an adult Golden Eagle over the Rio Guadiaro valley towards Jimena de la Frontera, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Peregrine Falcon (the three chicks appear to have fledged), Common Raven, Blue Rock Thrush, Bonelli's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Rock Bunting, Cirl Bunting and Corn Bunting.

At 2230hrs there was a Tawny Owl singing from the area below the old convent.

Saturday 31 May 2014, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light SE wind, 23C

A morning walk through the cork oaks alongside the Garganta de las Palas produced Griffon Vulture, Common Buzzard, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Jay, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Nuthatch, Firecrest, at least 6 Bonelli's Warbler, 3 Iberian Chiffchaff and Sardinian Warbler; Common Cuckoo was heard.

Friday evening there was a Melodious Warbler singing just outside the village next to the 'Parque de los Chinos' on the Gaucin-Algeciras road.

Cork Oak Quercus suber