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Friday 27 February 2015, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light-fresh W-NW wind, 17C

Just a single adult Egyptian Vulture to report today, heading north up the Genal valley at 1200hrs.
The warmer weather has brought out quite a few butterflies, including the wonderful Spanish Festoon and the Silver-studded Blue.

Spanish Festoon Zerynthia rumina

Silver-studded Blue Plebejus argos

Silver-studded Blue Plebejus argos

Thursday 26 February 2015, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light W-NW wind, 16C

A beautiful, warm Spring day today. A couple of good sightings over Camino de Avedin during the afternoon, of migrants heading further north, with an Osprey heading S-N at 1530hrs and a flock of 10 Common Crane following the course of the Rio Genal at 1730hrs.

Still some Almond blossom around

The fragile beauty of the scarce Rush-leaf Jonquil Narcissus assoanus

Iberian Wall Lizard Podarcis hispanica enjoying the sunshine

Wednesday 25 February 2015, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light-fresh NW wind, 14C

Despite today and yesterday being sunnier and warmer than of late the northerly winds persist, lending a chilly feel to the air. During the mornings the Camino de Gibraltar has been alive with birdsong with Song Thrush, Blackcap, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Serin battling it out to be heard. The field below the old convent has been crawling with Black Redstart (at least 10 yesterday, including a couple of fine-looking males), Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Meadow Pipit.
As a consequence of the northerly winds, migrant raptors have been absent but above Camino de Avedin there have been Griffon Vulture, Peregrine, Common Buzzard, Eurasian Sparrowhawk and Common Kestrel.
In the village this morning there were 2 Barn Swallow over Calle del Pino.

Monday 23 February 2015, Gaucin, partly cloudy, fresh-strong NW wind, 12C

Any significant migrant action was once again kept at bay by the fierce, cold, northerly winds; just a single Black Kite to report, struggling over the village at 1745hrs. At 0930hrs there was a Barn Swallow just on the southern edge of the village and 3 Hawfinch along Camino de Gibraltar.

Sunday 22 February 2015, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light-fresh W-NW wind, 12C

Saturday 21 February saw light rain am and a bit of sunshine pm; a good sighting for the village was a Redwing along Camino de Gibraltar around 0900hrs.

Today, feeling nice and warm in the sun but once again chilly in the fresh northerly wind, there was a hint of Spring migration with 3 Black Kite over El Peso at 1300hrs and 2 Black Stork over the village at 1445hrs. Along the Camino de Gibraltar this morning there were still at least 5 Black Redstart, also 2 Meadow Pipit in the field below the convent ruins and a Firecrest in the oaks. Down beside the Arroyo de Las Pallas there were lots of Large Tortoiseshell butterflies.

An addition to Friday 20 February....2 Mistle Thrush seen in the El Peso area to the north of El Hacho.

The Almond blossom is looking good at the moment
Common Raven

Common Raven displaying over Camino de Avedin

View from El Peso towards Sierra de Libar

View from El Peso towards Salitre

Large Tortoiseshell on Cork Oak

Some goats

Arroyo de Las Pallas

Friday 20 February 2015, Gaucin, mostly sunny, calm air-light S-SE wind, 15C

Taking advantage of the calm weather conditions, the first Short-toed Eagle of the year was seen at 1600hrs flying upstream high over the Rio Genal.

Thursday 19 February 2015, Gaucin, mostly sunny, fresh E wind, 14C

At last some respite from the northerly winds and a consequent slight improvement in the temperature! This morning along the Camino de Avedin there were Griffon Vulture, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Raven, Crag Martin, Great-spotted Woodpecker, 3 Song Thrush, Black Redstart, Eurasian Nuthatch, Firecrest, Crested Tit, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap and Common Chiffchaff.

Also several butterflies in flight, including Clouded Yellow and Large Tortoiseshell.

Large Tortoiseshell

Nice to see the Gorse Ulex europaeus out

Foliose lichen

Bermuda Buttercup Oxalis pes-caprae

Tuesday 17 February 2015, Gaucin, mostly cloudy, frequent light rain/sleet showers, light-fresh NE wind, 8C

There's been no encouragement for incoming migrants with the continuance of the cold weather and fresh northerly winds. Today was no exception with sleet falling on and off throughout the day, again falling as snow further up the valley towards Ronda. Of note, just a single Hawfinch to report from the Camino de Gibraltar this morning.

Darkening skies behind Sierra Crestellina

Friday 13 February 2015, Gaucin, partly cloudy, light-fresh NW wind, 13C

Quite a warm feel to the day as long as you were out of the wind - a late afternoon visit to the SW slope of El Hacho was a bit bracing! Highlights were a Peregrine and Southern Grey Shrike with prey (looked like a European Wood Mouse); also seen were Griffon Vulture, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Serin and Cirl Bunting.

In the village there were at least 3 pairs of House Martin checking out potential nesting sites.

Griffon Vulture
Griffon Vulture

Thursday 12 February 2015, Gaucin, cloudy, frequent light rain, light NE wind, 10C

A day spent mostly in the clouds with 11mm rain falling and the temperature nearer to 5C than the afternoon 'high' of 10C. This morning in the mist along Camino de Avedin there were 9 Hawfinch; also along the camino the last couple of mornings were Common Buzzard, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel, Common Raven, Eurasian Jay, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Black Redstart, Firecrest, Short-toed Treecreeper, Eurasian Nuthatch, Blackcap, Serin and Cirl Bunting.

Yesterday saw the first House Martin in the village this year with one seen over Calle Convento at 1845hrs.

A brief interlude during the 'whiteout'

Monday 09 February 2015, Gaucin, partly cloudy, force 7 E-SE wind, 10C

Feeling very cold today in the strong easterly wind but at least the daytime air temperature is back to a more usual double-digit figure! Just a Peregrine and a displaying Common Buzzard above Camino de Avedin to report today. Yesterday was cold, 6C, and mostly cloudy; down on the Rio Genal below Gaucin there were 150+ Crag Martin at 1130hrs. I've never seen so many there before so perhaps they were avoiding the freezing weather further upstream. Also seen at the river were Griffon Vulture, Grey Heron, Eurasian Jay, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, 5+ Common Chiffchaff, 5+ Blackcap and a single Hawfinch.

Saturday 07 February 2015, Gaucin, mostly cloudy, snow showers am, light W-SW wind, 5C

The cold spell continued today with some decent snow showers in Gaucin itself. Along Camino de Avedin mid-morning there were 4 Hawfinch.

Looking towards Sierra Bermeja

Gaucin castle

Even a dusting of snow on Sierra Crestellina

Thursday 05 February 2015, Gaucin, mostly sunny, fresh NW wind, 10C

The 'mostly sunny' weather description only tells part of the story as today it SNOWED in Gaucin as for most of the day the temperature struggled to reach 6C. Admittedly, it was only a couple of short showers but it was most definitely snow, the local children were beside themselves, and I got to hear one of my favourite Spanish verbs, flipar - to go mad for - me flipa la nieve! Driving back from Ronda at 1100hrs it was practically blizzard conditions at Encinas Borrachas, so much so that I gave up trying to see any birds, but on the way back to Gaucin I did see two Black Wheatear on roadside stone walls.

Since the early appearances of single Black Kite, House Martin and Barn Swallow I haven't seen any further migrant arrivals but given the strong headwinds and the current icy blasts that's not surprising. Winter continues with Blue Rock Thrush and Black Redstart still in the village but signs of Spring are there with a lot more bird song and fractious Blackbirds squabbling over territories.

Sunday 01 February 2015, Gaucin, sunny, fresh NW wind, 12C

After a largely damp Saturday, today was dry, but rather cold in the north-westerly wind. A morning attempt to explore the Utrera gorge near Manilva was aborted as I arrived at the same time as a large group of noisy walkers were heading the same way! Before leaving, a quick scan above the limestone ridge produced a Blue Rock Thrush and a Short-toed Eagle - presumably an over-wintering bird and probably the same individual that was there on 01 Nov last year.

On the drive back to Gaucin I stopped to check out the Bonelli's Eagle nest on Sierra Crestellina but there was no sign of any eagle action, just a dozen or so Griffon Vulture and a Common Kestrel. The surrounding fields were full of birdsong, most prominent of which were a couple of Crested Lark.

Crested Lark