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Wednesday 27 August 2014, Gaucin, sunny, light-fresh SE wind am, light W wind pm, 35C

Another hot day, particularly during the morning with the 'hairdryer' levante wind blowing. Late afternoon saw several small groups, 20-30 individuals, of Honey Buzzard heading NE-SW high up in front of Sierra Crestellina. There were also a few Swift sp. around the south of the village, including at least one Alpine Swift, but only a couple of Common Swift are now 'over-nighting' in Calle Convento.

I had a report of an Eagle Owl calling over Calle Convento at night earlier in the week and causing disquiet amongst the local cats and dogs!

Wildfire in Campo de Gibraltar this evening: taken from Gaucin, 35km away!

Tuesday 26 August 2014, Gaucin, sunny, calm air-light SE wind, 35C

Whilst walking near San Martin de Tesorillo at 1030hrs this morning a small group of 6 Honey Buzzard and 3 Black Kite were joined briefly by a male Montagu's Harrier. There were signs of autumn with flocks of 30+ Corn Bunting in the fields though there were still at least a couple of Common Nightingale calling from the denser shrubs.

Much quieter than yesterday in Gaucin during the, very hot, afternoon with just a couple of very high and distant groups of Honey Buzzard moving through in front of Sierra Crestellina at 1930hrs (100+) and 1945hrs (50+).

It's not always sunny in Andalucia in August - a misty start to our walk

Monday 25 August 2014, Gaucin, sunny, calm air-light SE wind, 31C

Lots of raptor passage this afternoon, the majority heading NE-SW but some on a N-S bearing. Observations as follows:
1645hrs: 21 Honey Buzzard, 2 Booted Eagle
1730hrs: 20 Honey Buzzard, 28 Black Kite
1745hrs: 14 Honey Buzzard
1800hrs: 9 Honey Buzzard, 28 Black Kite
1815hrs: 35 Honey Buzzard, 10 Black Kite
1840hrs: 2 Honey Buzzard
1850hrs: 1 adult Egyptian Vulture
1900hrs: 25 Black Kite, 1 Booted Eagle
1915hrs: 83 Honey Buzzard, 28 European Bee-eater (heading north!)
1930hrs: 15 Honey Buzzard - passing in front of Sierra Crestellina
1940hrs: 2 Booted Eagle
2000hrs: A mixed group of 60+ birds passing in front of Sierra Crestellina; mostly Honey Buzzard with 10+ Black Kite and a few Booted Eagle
2015hrs: 31 Honey Buzzard

Black Kite over Gaucin

Sunday 24 August 2014, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light SE wind, 32C

This morning Peter, Carey and I walked around the La Umbria route through the cork oaks at the Ronda end of the village. It was already quite warm by 1030hrs but we still managed to see Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, pale and dark morph Booted Eagle, 10 Honey Buzzard, Eurasian Jay, European Bee-eater, Great-spotted Woodpecker, European Nuthatch, Firecrest, Long-tailed Tit, Chiffchaff sp., Blackcap, Sardinian Warbler and Cirl Bunting; Green Woodpecker was heard.

There was a Willow Warbler in the Calle del Pino/Calle Convento gardens late afternoon.

Saturday 23 August 2014, Gaucin, sunny, light NW wind am, calm air-light SE wind pm, 34C

A couple of relaxing days away in Granada where, despite temperatures of 37C, the heat was dry and it felt quite pleasant out of the fierce sun; birding highlight was a pair of Red-rumped Swallow on the Rio Genil near the city centre.

On the coast at Sabinillas this morning it was very humid, though only 26C. A quick visit to the heath at Mesas de Chullera produced the first returning Northern Wheatear plus Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Common Kestrel, European Bee-eater, Common Swift, Barn Swallow, Woodchat Shrike, Stonechat, Crested Lark and Sardinian Warbler.

Back in the village at 1915hrs there was a small 'kettle' of raptors that included 20+ Honey Buzzard and a couple of Black Kite, then at 2030hrs and 2100hrs an adult Peregrine came right up into the village from the south.

Tuesday 19 August 2014, Gaucin, sunny, light W-NW wind, 28C

Some migration passage over Gaucin this evening with one Honey Buzzard at 1930hrs, also a single Red-rumped Swallow around calle del Pino, and at 2045hrs 8 Black Kite and 25+ Swift sp., including at least one Alpine Swift.

Monday 18 August 2014, Gaucin, mist early am then sunny, light-fresh SE wind, 27C

At 1630hrs there were 11 Black Kite and 9 Honey Buzzard heading NE-SW over the village. Starting to hear Blackcap calling from the gardens between Calle Convento and Calle del Pino as they start to disperse from their breeding areas.

Sunday 17 August 2014, Gaucin, partly cloudy, light-fresh E-SE wind, 28C

No more Honey Buzzard since the first few moving through on Friday. Swift numbers around Calle Convento/Calle del Pino are now down to less than 10, including one pair of Pallid Swift; there are approx. 20 House Martin and 4 Barn Swallow.

At 2045hrs a female Eurasian Sparrowhawk made a sortie into the House Sparrow flock that was getting ready to roost in the trees in the Parque de la Alameda next to the old convent building; I'm not sure if it was successful but 100+ House Sparrow took to the air, splitting up into several smaller groups, as they took evasive action.

Saturday 16th August 2014


Some news of Black Kite passage this afternoon.

At 4pm we drove past the rubbish dump on the outskirts of Estepona heading towards Casares and saw a 'cloud' of Kites. We estimated the number at 100-150 Black Kites and several Booted Eagles in tow. They had probably been feeding all day at the tip and were now off to travel to the coast or to find a roost in nearby woods.

Friday 15 August 2014, Gaucin, light-fresh S-SE wind, 28C

At the summit of El Hacho this morning, great views, down to just 4m, of Griffon Vulture; also Booted Eagle, European Bee-eater, Crag Martin and Bonelli's Warbler. A new 'terrace tick' this afternoon as 4 Red-rumped Swallow paid a brief visit at 1715hrs. Today also saw the first Honey Buzzard returning southwards, with a single bird at 1725hrs, this was followed by two groups of 10 each at 1730hrs and 1735hrs. At 1830hrs a walk along the track that runs behind the petrol station and down to Venta Socorro produced Booted Eagle, Common Raven, Red-legged Partridge, Eurasian Jay, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Firecrest, lots of Blackcap, Iberian Chiffchaff and a return passage Willow Warbler.

Well-camouflaged Red-legged Partridge

Thursday 14 August 2014, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light-fresh SE wind, 29C

A change in wind direction from poniente to levante brought about a muggy, humid day. Down on the, now dry, Rio Genal from 0830-1030hrs I logged the following:
Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle (at least 3 individuals), Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Grey Heron, a single Turtle Dove, several Wood Pigeon heading north, Eurasian Jay, 20+ European Bee-eater, at least 5 Golden Oriole (inc. one male), Common Kingfisher, Woodchat Shrike, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Common Swift, House Martin, Grey Wagtail, Sardinian Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Chaffinch.

The Eurasian Sparrowhawk was a female, esconced in a tree directly above a small pool of water, the only one in the area, it let me approach to within 3m no doubt waiting for its breakfast to arrive; at this point the battery on my camera ran out, and the spare was at home.

This Blue Rock Thrush was in the centre of the village on Tuesday  morning, a sure sign that autumn is around the corner.....

Rio Genal - dry for the first time in 3 summers

Woodchat Shrike

El Hacho from the Rio Genal
 A couple of distant Short-toed Eagle, not the same individual.....

Monday 11 August 2014, Gaucin, sunny, light-fresh W wind, 32C

A visit to the west slope of El Hacho from 1100-1200hrs produced the following:
Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, at least 3 Common Kestrel, hawking around the old cement works, Thekla Lark and Spotted Flycatcher. No sign of the Southern Grey Shrike. It was all very quiet, with just the occasional rattling call of a Sardinian Warbler punctuating the pervasive buzz of the cicadas. It's all looking very dry and 'mid-summery, too. A small water trough, a magnet for passerines in the summer, had been taken over by goats!

View west to the Alcornocales

El Hacho

No birds at the water trough today!

Checking the skies above the village on and off throughout the afternoon there wasn't much to see, with just local pale and dark morph Booted Eagle and a few Griffon Vulture drifting about. At 1830hrs there was a single Alpine Swift over the village, at 1835hrs 34 Black Kite, taking the E-NE-W-SW route to the north of the village, and at 1840hrs a very high-flying Common Raven and 4 Black Kite.

Sunday 10 August 2014, Gaucin, sunny, light W wind, 34C

A very warm weekend for the annual feria; the wind on Saturday switched from SE to SW during the afternoon with a temperature of 32C. Just a flock of 94 Black Kite at 1900hrs to report.

Today was even warmer, with less of a cooling breeze; watching from 1800-1900hrs two groups of Black Kite were seen, one of 224 at 1805hrs and one of 40 at 1830hrs. As with most of the recent Black Kite movement, it was very high and following a NE-SW route to the north of Gaucin.

In the absence of any bird photos, here are a couple from the feria....!

Thursday 07 August 2014, Gaucin, sunny, light-fresh S-SE wind, 30C

Coming back from Estepona at 1230hrs there was some Black Kite movement E-W along the coast just north of Manilva.

Back in Gaucin, watching from 1600-1730hrs, Black Kite numbers as follows:

1635hrs: 1
1640hrs: 4
1655hrs: 115
1700hrs: 5
1705hrs: 6

Nowhere near the numbers of yesterday despite virtually identical local weather conditions; also, most individuals were very high to the NW of the village.

At 1730hrs 130+ Swift sp. moved through.

Wednesday 06 August 2014, Gaucin, sunny, light-fresh SE wind, 30C

Over 1000 Black Kite moving through this afternoon, the majority heading NE-SW. Watching for less than 2hrs, the numbers were as follows;

1600hrs: 44
1610hrs: 49
1635hrs: 132
1655hrs: 411
1710hrs: 296
1725hrs: 102, + 2 Griffon Vulture and 2 Booted Eagle
1735hrs: 50
1740hrs: 1 adult Egyptian Vulture

There was also some significant movement of Swift sp., with several groups of 50+ seen.

Tuesday 05 August 2014, Gaucin, sunny, light W-SW wind, 32C

This afternoon I had a 'first' for the garden as a Eurasian Hoopoe flew low over the terrace (heading north!) at 1330hrs; fifteen minutes later 30+ European Bee-eater flew past. Between 1840-1850hrs 62 Black Kite moved through to the north of the village; I hadn't seen any all day during frequent short observations but these were only visible from the 'top terrace' so maybe more had been sneaking through out of sight!

Sunday 03 August 2014, Gaucin, sunny, fresh SE wind, 28C

After westerly winds yesterday once again the easterly levante is back; I can't remember a summer when the wind changed direction with such frequency. Today just a couple of Black Kite observations, with 14 moving through at 1500hrs and 12 at 1910hrs.

It was interesting to note that the Black Kites that were coming over a couple of days ago appeared to be using Gaucin as a geographical landmark as they were flying more or less E-W then kettling above the village before heading off due south.
There are a few House Martin chicks still being fed around the village and a family of Barn Swallow are busy flying up and down Calle Convento towards the taxi rank.

House Martin chick

And another....

Friday 01 August 2014, Gaucin, partly cloudy, light-fresh W-NW wind, 24C

A cool, autumnal morning and a sunny afternoon; after the excitement of yesterday's Black Kite passage there were just 7 moving through today at 1630hrs. There was a well-marked adult Short-toed Eagle close to the village late afternoon with both pale and dark morph Booted Eagle, Common Buzzard and a small flock of European Bee-eater making appearances throughout the day.

Thursday 31 July 2014, Gaucin, sunny, light W-SW wind, 28C

Yesterday was an odd day with a cool, cloudy morning but clearing to be 30C and sunny by mid-afternoon. Following the big Swift passage seen over the village on Sunday, the local population has reduced significantly with perhaps only 10-20 around Calle del Pino/Calle Convento.

A misty morning in Gaucin

This morning at 0900hrs I went to look for a pair of Short-toed Eagle that were seen feeding young on Monday along Sierra Espartina, but they had moved on. Whilst there I did see small numbers of Common Swift, and a couple each of Pallid Swift and Alpine Swift. Opposite Sierra del Hacho on the road to Estacion de Gaucin a 5min watch of a 30x60cm water trough produced adult and juvenile Cirl Bunting, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Sardinian Warbler and a very nice-looking Bonelli's Warbler. Also in the area were Griffon Vulture, Common Buzzard, Common Raven and Southern Grey Shrike.

This afternoon there was a noticeable passage of Black Kite over Gaucin with observations as folows:

1345-1400hrs: 413
1630hrs: 13
1745hrs: 60 + 1 pale morph Booted Eagle
1810hrs: 19 + 44 European Bee-eater

Griffon Vulture