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Saturday 11 October 2014, Gaucin, mostly sunny, calm air-light SE wind, 25C

After a stormy day yesterday, during which 12mm of rain fell and many houses suffered from a violent lightning strike, today was much calmer. (Tip: during an electrical storm, don't have a shower then stand holding a metal shower head whilst standing on the floor with wet feet - unless you want a bit of ECT and a numb arm for a couple of hours!).

This morning Julie, Pete and I walked the circular route around El Hacho mountain and recorded some good birds. In the cork oaks we had good views of Crested Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Chiffchaff sp., and Bonelli's Warbler; in one Hawthorn tree there were at least 6 Firecrest and, later, one individual with a superb red crest. Also seen in this area were Eurasian Jay, Song Thrush (my first of the autumn), House Martin, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, European Robin, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Chaffinch and Cirl Bunting; Great-spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Nuthatch and Eurasian Wren were heard.
Around the west slope, above the road to Estacion de Gaucin, we saw Griffon Vulture, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Redstart (first of the winter), Stonechat, Serin and Linnet; Red-legged Partridge was heard. An unusual call had us all scanning the trees for the 'culprit' and Julie promptly picked out a Southern Grey Shrike; I was especially pleased to see it as I hadn't seen it here for some weeks and thought it had probably left for another location. After getting good views of a perching Common Kestrel we were also treated to a pair of Spanish Ibex up on the limestone rocks above the Gaucin-Algeciras road.

Back at home during the afternoon a Blue Rock Thrush perched on a nearby roof in the late afternoon sun and there were several House Martin still in the vicinity. There was a possible Booted Eagle high above the village but by the time I grabbed my 'scope it had melted into the high white cloud!

Common Kestrel
Female and Male Spanish Ibex

Female Spanish Ibex

Blue Rock Thrush

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