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Friday 25 July 2014, Gaucin, sunny, light W-SW wind, 33C

We are properly into summer, now; yesterday in Estepona the temperature was still 35C at 2030hrs, though thankfully the mornings remain cool, at around 18C. This morning I left at 0730hrs to bird a circular route through the Genal/Guadiaro valleys with some visitors to Gaucin. Our first stop, opposite Sierra Crestellina, produced little other than a couple of loafing Griffon Vulture as it was too early for the raptors to be up on thermals!

We carried on to the Casares-Secadero track down to the Rio Genal where there were good views of at least 4 Short-toed Eagle, all perched on their favoured pylons, and showing the full range of plumages, from very pale-chested, white-headed juvenile through to classic dark-headed adult. Also seen were Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle (dark and pale morphs), Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, 2 White Stork, 4 Little Egret, Grey Heron, at least 10 Turtle Dove, Common Swift, Pallid Swift and a single Alpine Swift, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, European Bee-eater, Little-ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper, Common Kingfisher, Spotless Starling, several juvenile Woodchat Shrike, Crested Lark, White Wagtail, Stonechat, Common Nightingale, Sardinian Warbler and many Corn Bunting; Cetti's Warbler was heard.

After a coffee and cake stop in San Martin de Tesorillo we drove on to the farmland area between San Pablo de Buceite and Marchenilla, stopping on the way to check out more Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle and a few high-drifting Griffon Vulture. It was now quite hot and generally fairly quiet but along the track we were rewarded with superb views of three Rufous Bush Robin; two juveniles and one adult, displaying and delivering short bursts of song, just 5m away (guess who left their camera in the car?!). Also seen were between 50-60 European Bee-eater, 3 Common Buzzard, one of which was giving a Short-toed Eagle a very hard time, more Booted Eagle, Peregrine, Lesser Kestrel, Woodchat Shrike and 5x Golden Oriole, including two colourful males. On the way back to San Pablo de Buceite we were treated to the lovely sight of a couple of White Stork that flew directly over the car at a height of just three or four metres.

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