Search This Blog

Monday 29 August 2016, Gaucin, partly cloudy, light W-NW wind, 36C

A change in wind direction to poniente produced a very warm and humid day.
Highlights of a morning walk around La Umbria were a male Pied Flycatcher and a second Monarch butterfly in two days, also a singing Iberian Chiffchaff.
Very little raptor migration with just a couple each of Short-toed Eagle and Booted Eagle mid-afternoon. There was a (local) Common Buzzard over Calle Convento during the morning. At 18:30hrs a flock of 50+ European Bee-eater headed south over the village - it's difficult to know if they were migrating as there is a group of about that size around most days at the moment.

Good news from Tim B who reported hearing an Eagle Owl at 06:00hrs this morning - I haven't seen nor heard one since 22 October last year!

Sunday 28 August 2016, Gaucin, hazy sunshine, light SE wind, 33C

A very warm and humid day, but plenty of raptor migration to see:
14:00-15:00hrs: 83 Honey Buzzard (groups of between 6 and 38 birds), 12 Booted Eagle, 2 Short-toed Eagle, 134 European Bee-eater (groups of 43, 39 and 52)
16:30-17:00hrs: one group of 50+ Booted Eagle (moving through in front of Sierra Crestellina, then heading west at the wind turbines, this was the biggest single group I've seen), 1 Honey Buzzard, 1 Short-toed Eagle, 2 Common Buzzard
Local birds included the usual dark morph Booted Eagle and its occasional pale morph companion, plus 3 Common Swift, a Barn Swallow, 20+ House Martin and a singing first summer Blue Rock Thrush on a roof in Barrio Alto.

An early evening walk along the paseo alongside the (Gaucin-Algeciras road) produced a further 2 Honey Buzzard, a very tame Thekla Lark, Stonechat and, a first in the village for me, a Monarch butterfly (one has been reported near the castle recently).

Observations from Tim B:
Hundreds of Honey Buzzard again today. They started early (1100h) - I counted 200 in an hour late afternoon, but most were high and distant.
A minimum of 6 Swifts over the village, a female Sparrowhawk and a Peregrine this evening.

Saturday 27 August 2016, Gaucin, sunny, calm air-light SE wind, 31C

Some good raptor passage from mid-afternoon today as follows:
15:00-16:00hrs: 76 Honey Buzzard, 140 Black Kite, 1 Booted Eagle
16:00-17:00hrs: 100 Black Kite
17:00-18:00hrs: 23 Honey Buzzard, 36 Black Kite, 1 Booted Eagle, 30 distant, unidentified raptors

At this point I had to go to a wedding so the count was over. I did, however, notice that there were still plenty of Honey Buzzard moving through during the (outdoor) ceremony at 19:00hrs!

The following observations from Tim B:
A Sparrowhawk on the Convento roof for 30 min early this morning (the female has been seen around in that area quite a bit lately per Chris D)
50+ Bee-eaters back and forth through the day
At least two swifts around
500 Honey Buzzard and 150 Black Kites heading south - spectacular mid-afternoon
One Peregrine, also heading south

Friday 26 August 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light SE wind, 30C

A pre-breakfast walk around La Umbria produced Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, 2 Turtle Dove, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Firecrest, Bonelli's Warbler, one, possibly two Iberian Chiffchaff still singing, and in one pine tree, Short-toed Treecreeper, Spotted Flycatcher, Crested Tit and Coal Tit.

Whilst I've been out elsewhere the last couple of mornings a Eurasian Hoopoe has been heard (Janys) and seen (Chris D) at the top of the Camino de Gibraltar.

On Thursday Tim B reported three Red-rumped Swallow at the far end of El Hacho, plus a flock of 20 Blue Tits; at 1500hrs 30 Honey Buzzard low over the village, that eventually went very high and then peeled off one by one, southwards and one Black Kite at Jimena in the afternoon.

Wednesday 24 August 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light-fresh SE wind, 30C

Having recently told someone I hadn't heard a Tawny Owl for some time, one promptly called for a few minutes in Calle del Pino in the early hours of this morning.

There were at least 2 female/imm Pied Flycatcher in the cork oaks behind El Hacho mountain above El Peso mid-morning; also Firecrest, Eurasian Nuthatch, Bonelli's Warbler and Chiffchaff sp.

There was a bit of Honey Buzzard migration this afternoon with groups of 4, 5 and 5 moving through between 17:00 and 17:25hrs; also 2 Short-toed Eagle. Tim B reported 30 European Bee-eater this morning, 2 Short-toed Eagle around lunch time, 2 or 3 Swift sp. during the afternoon and 30 Black Kite over the village at around 19:00hrs.

An interesting side-effect of the impact of Diclofenac on vulture population in India:

Zoroastrian tradition under threat

Sunday 21 August 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light SE wind, 31C

Yesterday there were 20 Honey Buzzard over the village at 13:30hrs.

Today there was a change of wind direction, now easterly or levante, so it's a bit cooler but there's less of a view and it's very humid! A quick run around El Hacho at 09:00hrs produced 20+ Griffon Vulture, 3 Honey Buzzard (low over the north side of the mountain), Peregrine, 2 Common Kestrel, 30+ European Bee-eater on overhead cables, Short-toed Treecreeper, female/imm Pied Flycatcher and Bonelli's Warbler.
Not a bad reward as you reach the top of the hill!

Friday 19 August 2016, Gaucin, sunny, calm air-light W-NW wind, 36C

Continuing westerly winds means continuing high temperatures with both yesterday and today recording 36C in the village. Yesterday there was a Eurasian Hoopoe on the Las Pilas track above Algatocin. The upside of the westerlies is that the autumn migration is getting going with sightings of 21 Black Kite, 52 Honey Buzzard and an adult Egyptian Vulture between 18:30-19:00hrs this afternoon. Just a handful of Swifts around now, 20+ House Martin, and I haven't seen a Barn Swallow in the village for a couple of days.

 A mating pair of Praying Mantis Mantis religiosa - poor hymenoptera!

Wednesday 17 August 2016, Gaucin, sunny, light W-NW wind, 35C

A morning visit, with Chris who is on holiday in Gaucin, to the cork oaks just outside the village, the old Ronda Road above Algatocin and the Encinas Borrachas track between Atajate and Ronda produced a good list of species, including a great set of warblers, despite the heat brought about by the change to westerly winds!

The cork oaks were fairly quiet, a friendly ginger cat patrolling probably didn't help, but we did see Great-spotted Woodpecker, Spotted Flycatcher and Eurasian Nuthatch.

Along the The Las Pilas track we saw 20+ Griffon Vulture, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel, Common Raven, 50+ Alpine Swift, Crag Martin, Eurasian Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, Blue Rock Thrush, at least 3 Black Wheatear, Spotless Starling, Stonechat, Firecrest, Sardinian Warbler and Cirl Bunting; Bonelli's Warbler was heard.

By the time we reached Encinas Borachas it was getting rather warm but our persistance was rewarded with some great sightings:
Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, Southern Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Red-rumped Swallow, Barn Swallow, Thekla Lark, Black Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Dartford Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Orphean Warbler, Willow Warbler and Melodious Warbler.

Tuesday 16 August 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light S-SE wind, 31C

Hurrah! The first significant (seen by me) Black Kite movement today with 250+ south-west of the village at 15:00hrs. They were in a 'kettle', high and distant (close to the confluence of the Genal and Guadiaro rivers), and there may have been a few Booted Eagle in there, too. Locally, there was a pale morph Booted Eagle around as well as the dark morph that has been around and about all summer. Also, 40+ European Bee-eater heading north-west over El Hacho at 20:00hrs - clearly not on their way south just yet.

Sunday 14 August 2016, Gaucin, hazy sunshine, light SE wind, 29C

A short morning walk along what was the old Ronda road above Benarraba and Algatocin produced some good sightings including:
Griffon Vulture, Common Kestrel, Common Raven, European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe, Black Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Stonechat and Cirl Bunting.

Late in the afternoon a quick stop at Encinas Borrachas on the way back from Ronda produced Southern Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike and Spectacled Warbler!

Friday 12 August 2016, Gaucin, sunny, light-fresh E-SE wind, 30C

The last few days have seen a repeating pattern of light-fresh, occasionally gusting to gale force 8, easterly winds and temperatures between 30C and 34C. No significant raptor movement to report with just regular sightings of local Short-toed Eagle (at least 3, maybe 4, just to the east of El Hacho early this morning may have been moving through) and Booted Eagle plus Common Buzzard, 3 juvenile Common Kestrel at the back of El Hacho and a juvenile Eurasian Sparrowhawk in the mixed woodland just north of the village.

On Thursday a single cork oak tree along the La Umbria route produced Blue Tit, Eurasian Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Firecrest, Chiffchaff sp. and Bonelli's Warbler! A little further on a Crested Tit was added to the list.

In addition to the Short-toed Eagles this morning there were 80+ Griffon Vulture pouring over the summit of El Hacho at 08:00hrs before milling around low over the Ronda-Algeciras road and 50+ European Bee-eater in the same area a couple of hours later.

In lieu of any bird photos, here are some photos of the recent cork harvesting that remains an important part of the local economy:

Saturday 06 August 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light-fresh SE wind, 32C

Thankfully a little cooler today which allowed plenty of scanning for raptors - I saw nothing. Others have reported 'several hundred' Black Kite over the village in the last few days (per R. Gordon), but the one probable group of 15-20 is all I've managed to conjour up! There was a Bonelli's Warbler moving through gardens in Calle Convento early this morning and 50+ Swift sp. (mostly/all Common Swift from what I could see) feeding south of the village and returning to the Calle Convento area around 20:30hrs.

Friday 05 August 2016, Gaucin, sunny, light SW wind am, light SE wind pm, 37C

A couple of rather warm days as both Thursday and today reached 37C.
Scanning on and off for raptor migration today produced just a small group of 15-20 probable Black Kite (they were too far and high to get a good view with binoculars and by the time I got the 'scope out they had melted away into the haze). Local birds included Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Eurasian Sparrowhawk (giving the Swifts around Calle Convento a scare late pm), Common Kestrel and 30+ Swift sp. including at least one Alpine Swift.

Wednesday 03 August 2016, Gaucin, hazy sunshine, light SE wind, 31C

Back in Spain after 10 days in a cooler, damper UK. Best of the birds seen in the gloom were Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, Goosander, Curlew, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Sand Martin, Marsh Tit and Bullfinch at Leighton Moss RSPB bird reserve and Arnside, then many Red Kite, groups of 10+ at times, in Earley near Reading.

Today in Gaucin I saw the first Willow Warbler heading south with one in the Calle Convento/Calle del Pino gardens.
Grey Heron

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

Distant Black-tailed Godwit in summer plumage

Red Kite

Red Kite