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Friday 26 December 2014, Gaucin, sunny, calm air-light W-SW wind, 18C

Super conditions down on the Rio Genal this morning but sadly, few birds! A handful of Griffon Vulture drifted over and there was a single Grey Heron, Great-spotted Woodpecker, a couple of Common Chiffchaff, several Blackcap and Black Redstart.

Back in the village at 1500hrs a scan of the Genal valley towards Sierra Crestellina produced 20+ Griffon Vulture and 2 adult Bonelli's Eagle; over the next hour there were a couple of Common Raven and the Griffon numbers built up to a total of 200+, with at least 120 directly over the village and another 80+ between here and Sierra Crestellina. This was the largest number I've seen here in over 10 years, really quite impressive.

Some shots of the 200+ Griffon Vulture:

Tuesday 23 December 2014, Gaucin, mostly sunny, calm air-light S-SE wind, 16C

Walking along the Camino de Casares and the Camino Las Piedras below Gaucin this morning produced 50+ Griffon Vulture (more or less split evenly between two groups), a single, very high Black Stork, Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Black Redstart, lots of Blackcap; also Sardinian Warbler and Serin. Fantastic to see lots of delicate Paperwhite Narcissus around, too.

El Hacho from Camino de Casares

Paperwhite Narcissus narcissus papyraceue

Click on the link to read about some good news regarding Black Vultures in Mallorca......

Black Vulture success

GPS trackers are providing more evidence that some Booted Eagles remain in Spain rather than making the autumn crossing to Africa.....interesting that one flew from the Montes de Malaga to just south of Valencia. It reads better in the original Spanish version than the  translation!

Booted Eagles over-wintering in Southern Spain

Sunday 21 December 2014, Gaucin, partly cloudy, light E-SE wind, 15C

A warm day in the sun but chilly in the shade when facing the easterly wind. Whilst walking from Puerto de Espino to Algatocin at 1200hrs we were treated to the sight of two Common Raven mobbing a pair of adult Bonelli's Eagle; the ravens didn't give up until they had forced the eagles a good kilometre away! Also along the route were Griffon Vulture, Common Kestrel, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Meadow Pipit and Rock Bunting. Several butterflies were on the wing enjoying the relatively warm weather, including Clouded Yellow.

Friday 19 December 2014, Gaucin, sunny, calm air, 19C

Stunning winter days at the moment with the temperature reaching 20C yesterday and today a degree or so cooler. Despite the balmy weather conditions, the west slope of El Hacho was surprisingly quiet from 1600-1730hrs but I did see 3 Griffon Vulture, Common Kestrel, 3 Red-legged Partridge, one Southern Grey Shrike (quite mobile at the moment and usually picked up by call or song), 2 Song Thrush, 10+ Black Redstart, 20+ Crag Martin, Meadow Pipit and Sardinian Warbler.

Distant Griffon Vulture on the ridge of El Hacho

Wednesday 17 December 2014, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light-fresh N-NW wind, 17C

After two cool days, 11C Tuesday and just 8C on Monday, today was much warmer. Whilst walking on the northern side of El Hacho yesterday morning there were 80-100 Griffon Vulture and a Green Woodpecker; driving to the coast at 1600hrs there was a Harrier sp., most likely Hen Harrier, just east of Sierra Crestellina.

Today there were 3 Common Crossbill in a pine tree alongside Cafe/Bar El Hacho at 1200hrs - hearing these birds flying over or seeing them in the pines near the petrol station is almost a daily occurance at the moment. In the Calle Convento/Calle del Pino Gardens there are at least 2 Common Chiffchaff and 2 Black Redstart, including one very smart male, plus several Blackcap.

Saturday 13 December 2014, Gaucin, cloudy, light rain, heavy late pm, light SW wind, 12C

Despite the rain there were 45+ Griffon Vulture over the Genal valley at 1600hrs; also Firecrest, Crested Tit and Eurasian Nuthatch along the Camino de Avedin at 0900hrs.

Some good news concerning the use of Diclofenac for veterinary purposes as the European Medicines Agency lodges its concerns over the potential threat to European vultures. Click on the link for more information:

Hope for vultures

A couple of photos from last Tuesday when there were very clear skies.....snow was visible in several areas of the Rif mountains in Morocco.

Friday 12 December 2014, Gaucin, sunny, light SW wind, 15C

It's hard to believe that there's rain forecast for the weekend after such a beautiful winter's day today. Stuck in Estepona, where the temperature was pushing 20C, sorting out the car, I checked out the gull flock on the beach. It was tricky with just binoculars and regular rampaging dogs putting the birds up, but there was just a mix of Yellow-legged and Black-headed with a handful of Lesser-black backed. Along the shoreline there was a group of 10 Sanderling. At the port in the afternoon there were more Yellow-legged Gull and in the small garden area near the lighthouse 2 Meadow Pipit, 2 Common Chiffchaff and a Black Restart.

Wednesday 10 December 2014, Gaucin, mostly sunny, calm air-light SE wind, 15C

The west slope of El Hacho from 0930-1030hrs was pretty quiet but there was a suprise when I spotted not one but 2 Southern Grey Shrike; assuming they are male and female it could be interesting if they pair up and hang on into spring. Also seen were 6 Griffon Vulture, 2 Song Thrush, 10+ Black Redstart, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Cirl Bunting and Corn Bunting; Common Raven, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Red-legged Partridge were heard.

Southern Grey Shrike

The same bird

Monday 08 December 2014, Gaucin, sunny, calm air-light W-SW wind, 17C

Not a great deal to report.....the warm days belie cold starts; this morning it was just 4C at 0900hrs.  There were a couple of Common Crossbill in the pines opposite the petrol station at 1200hrs today, including a male in full song. There were a fair number of both Common Buzzard and Corn Bunting around near San Martin/Castellar last week as well as several Common Chiffchaff, but little else of note.

Tuesday 02 December 2014, Gaucin, sunny, light-fresh NW wind, 17C

Although reaching a pleasant 17C, out of the sun and in the northerly wind it felt a bit cooler. A walk up the east slope of El Hacho from 0930-1100hrs started well with 3 Common Crossbill in pine trees opposite the petrol station; also seen were 45+ Griffon Vulture, Common Kestrel, Common Raven, Eurasian Jay, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 2 Song Thrush, Meadow Pipit, Stonechat, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap and Common Chiffchaff; Green Woodpecker and Eurasian Nuthatch were heard.

Gaucin and Sierra Bermeja from El Hacho