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Wednesday 28 September 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, fresh E wind, 26C

Feeling quite autumnal in the fresh E wind that, overnight into Thursday, was gusting up to gale force 8. Windy conditions are never good for birding and a mid-afternonn walk along the Camino de Gibraltar didn't yield much other than a Common Buzzard, a Firecrest in the cork oaks and White Wagtail, Common Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler around the water treatment station.
A couple of Short-toed Eagle braved the wind and moved through very high up early afternoon.

Yesterday afternoon a couple of Common Crossbill flew over Calle Convento and there was yet another Monarch butterfly in the village, this time up near the petrol station.

Monday 26 September 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light S-SE wind, 28C

An early afternoon walk along the tracks just to the north of Gaucin village produced 2 Pied Flycatcher, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Common Redstart and 2 Willow Warbler. There was a steady trickle of raptor migration early evening as follows:

18:00-18:30hrs: 7 Booted Eagle, 9 Short-toed Eagle
18:30-19:00hrs: 6 Short-toed Eagle, 1 Black Kite

Yesterday afternoon there were 2 Pied Flycatcher and 1 Common Redstart along the Camino de Gibraltar.

Gaucin and Sierra Bermeja from Camino de Gibraltar

Saturday 24 September 2016, Gaucin, sunny, light SE wind, 28C

As the warm, late summer weather continues, the following were seen:

Camino de Avedin area:
10:00hrs: 5 Booted Eagle, 3 Short-toed Eagle, 2 Honey Buzzard and 1 Eurasian Sparrowhawk, female Common Redstart. There were also a couple of Eurasian Jay, with one doing a pretty good mimic of a female Tawny Owl!

Calle Convento:
15:00-16:00hrs:  6 Short-toed Eagle, Barn Swallow, Common Swift (local)
17:15-18:15hrs: 3 Booted Eagle, 1 Short-toed Eagle, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Eurasian Sparrowhawk, 8 Barn Swallow (4+2+2)
18:45-19:15hrs: 2 Booted Eagle, 3 Short-toed Eagle, 10+ Barn Swallow

This afternoon there were not one, not two, but THREE Blue Rock Thrush squabbling over the rights to the Calle Convento roof are two of them:


Friday 23 September 2016, Gaucin, sunny, light SE wind, 28C

Along the Las Pilas track above Algatocin mid-morning the following were seen: 20+ Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, 2 Common Raven, Blue Rock Thrush, 2 Black Wheatear, 2 Common Redstart, Common Whitethroat and Cirl Bunting.

Back in the village over Camino de Avedin during the afternoon:

1630-17:30hrs: 1 Short-toed Eagle, 1 Booted Eagle, several Barn Swallow
18:00-19:00hrs: 1 Short-toed Eagle, 1 Booted Eagle, 1 Honey Buzzard, 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Eurasian Sparrowhawk, 1 Peregrine (local), 1 Common Swift

2 Pied Flycatcher and 1 Cirl Bunting in gardens and at least 2 Tawny Owl calling late evening along Camino de Avedin.

Janys spotted a Monarch butterfly near Gaucin bridge late morning.

Thursday 22 September 2016, Gaucin, sunny, light-fresh W wind, 28C

Some raptor movement over the village during the afternoon as follows:

1600-1630hrs: 2 Short-toed Eagle, 5 Marsh Harrier, 1 Common Buzzard
1700-1730hrs: 18 Black Kite, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Booted Eagle, 1 Short-toed Eagle

There were 2 female/imm Pied Flycatcher in gardens along Camino de Avedin and 60+ European Bee-eater over the same area late afternoon.

Tuesday 20 September 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, calm air-light SE wind am, light NW wind pm, 28C

Back to sunny, warm conditions after yesterday's 'blip'. There's still some raptor movement, albeit very high, with sightings as follows:
10:30hrs: 6 Booted Eagle (5 pale morph, 1 dark morph), 4 Short-toed Eagle
16:30-17:00hrs: 8 Short-toed Eagle, 3 Booted Eagle (all pale morph)
18:30: 2 Booted Eagle (1 pale morph, 1 dark morph), 2 Short-toed Eagle, 2 Honey Buzzard

Mid-morning along a 200m section of the Camino de los Molinos (from Portesuelo down under the castle) there were at least 4 Pied Flycatcher and 1 Spotted Flycatcher.

Monday 19 September 2016, Gaucin, mostly cloudy, light SE wind, 24C

An odd, overcast, cooler day today with several 'singles' of Booted Eagle, Short-toed eagle and Honey Buzzard moving through during the morning. There were 2 Common Crossbill over the petrol station late morning.
Between 16:15-16:30hrs 10 Booted Eagle, 1Short-toed Eagle, 1 probable Marsh Harrier and 1 imm Egyptian Vulture were seen over the village. There was a Blue Rock Thrush around the castle for much of the afternoon and 2 first summer male Blue Rock Thrush having a singing contest on the roofs of Calle Convento. Late afternoon there were 3 Pallid Swift and a Barn Swallow above Camino de Avedin and 100+ House Martin over Paseo Jacobo Real.

Saturday 17 September 2016, Gaucin, sunny, light SE wind, 28C

There's a lot of passerine movement at the moment with flycatchers seemingly everywhere - there was even a Pied Flycatcher in the Calle Convento/del Pino gardens on Friday.
On Thursday in the El Peso/La Herriza area there were Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, a lovely, confiding male Common Redstart (didn't have my camera...), Chiffchaff sp. and Bonelli's Warbler.
Today over Camino de Avedin there was some raptor migration with 17:00-18:00hrs  with 6 Booted Eagle, 5 Short-toed Eagle, 2 Honey Buzzard and a Peregrine, and 70+ European Bee-eater. Also in the Avedin area over the past few days have been Eurasian Hoopoe, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, female Common Redstart, Short-toed Treecreeper, Eurasian Nuthatch and Crested Tit.

Pied Flycatcher

Gaucin castle from Jaraqueque

Full moon rising over Sierra Bermeja - Fri 16 Sep

Full moon

Wednesday 14 September 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light-fresh NW wind, 23C

There was a female Pied Flycatcher near the Salto de Cura around La Umbria early this morning.

A short walk down to the water treatment works below Gaucin at 17:30hrs produced some nice sightings with at least 3 Pied Flycatcher and 2 Spotted Flycatcher, plus Willow Warbler and Iberian and Common Chiffchaff.
Spotted Flycatcher
Booted Eagle - very close to the houses!

Booted Eagle

Pied Flycatcher
There are some lovely sunsets at the moment.....

Tuesday 13 September 2016, Gaucin, mostly cloudy, light rain pm, light W-SW wind, 20C

An 08:00hrs visit to the cork/chestnut woods at Salto de Cura was rather quiet; fortunately, the thick mist of yesterday evening had dissipated but it remained cool and there was only 60+ European Bee-eater high up, half-a-dozen passing Honey Buzzard and a couple of Long-tailed Tit of note.

Next was the Las Pilas track (the old Ronda road) above Algatocin and, despite it also being quiet, we did log some good species including:
Montagu's Harrier, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, 70+ Alpine Swift, Blue Rock Thrush, Spotless Starling, Stonechat, Black Redstart, Melodious Warbler, Common Whitethroat and Serin.

A light breeze brought a chill to the air at Encinas Borrachas and T-shirts were barely sufficient - the temperature having dropped by 12C since the same time yesterday! Some nice species were seen though, which made up for the discomfort:
20+ Griffon Vulture, female Marsh Harrier, 10+ Honey Buzzard, superb views of Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Peregrine, Southern Grey Shrike, Thekla Lark, Tawny Pipit, female/1st summer Whinchat and several passing Barn Swallow; Bonelli's Warbler was heard. Interestingly, there was no sign of Northern or Black-eared Wheatear, nor Subalpine, Spectacled or Dartford Warbler all of which had been seen here just a week ago.

By early afternoon the clouds had rolled in we had the first rain of the autumn - a total of 5mm.
The Casares wind turbines shrouded in cloud after the rain

Sunday 11 September 2016, Gaucin, partly cloudy, light SE wind, 31C

A short morning walk around the northern section of La Umbria (collecting pine cones for the coming winter fires!) produced Firecrest, Eurasian Nuthatch and Crested Tit; Short-toed Treecreeper and Pied Flycatcher were heard. During the afternoon there was a trickle of raptor migration with 2 Honey Buzzard and 1 Booted Eagle at 16:00hrs and 5+ singles of Honey Buzzard and Booted Eagle through between 17:00-18:00hrs.

Saturday 10 September 2016, Gaucin, sunny, calm air-light W-NW wind, 33C

Despite a change in wind direction, the warm, sunny weather continues. Locally there's been little to report with no raptor migration to speak of. The vocal pair of Booted Eagle (plus a third - juvenile?) are still around above the south of the village as is the first year Blue Rock Thrush which is now singing regularly from roofs in Calle Convento, also at least one Common Swift and 25+ House Martin remain in the area.
Whilst in Ronda (where it was a steamy 36C) to escape the noise of Gaucin's Santo Niño festival (two nights of 'music' until 07:30hrs is just too much!) there were still 20+ Alpine Swift noisily careering around the Tajo as well as 20+ Red-billed Chough; a female Tawny Owl was calling late evening.

Blue Rock Thrush - it may be in silhouette but there's no mistaking that bill!

Monday 05 September 2016, Gaucin, sunny, calm air-light SE wind, 38C

Officially the hottest day of the year (so far!) and another afternoon of mostly Honey Buzzard movement with limited observations as follows:

16:15 -16:30hrs:: groups of 10 and 15 Honey Buzzard
18:00h -18:30hrs: groups of 2, 56 and 12 Honey Buzzard, 1 Booted Eagle
19:00hrs: groups of 8 and 11 Honey Buzzard low over the eastern edge of the village

Throughout the day, two local Booted Eagle (both dark morph birds) were very active and vocal over the Calle del Pino/Calle Convento area. At least two Common Swift and 20 or so House Martin remain on the southern edge of the village.

Sunday 04 September 2016, Gaucin, sunny, calm air-light SE wind, 35C

Getting very warm now, so migration watching is both sporadic and uncomfortable! Still, here's what was seen today:

12:00hrs: 40 Honey Buzzard - distant towards Algeciras
18:15hrs: 20 Honey Buzzard
18:40hrs: 30 Honey Buzzard
19:00hrs: 19 Honey Buzzard
19:30hrs: 2 Booted Eagle

Mid-morning there was a Blue Rock Thrush singing on the top of the old Convent and early evening a male Eurasian Sparrowhawk cruising around the same area.

Friday 02 September 2016, Gaucin, sunny, light -fresh SE wind, 30C

A visit today to the wonderful Caminito del Rey....see photos below. There wasn't much opportunity for birding, but there were plenty of Griffon Vulture, also Black-crowned Night Heron by the river and Rock Dove on the cliffs....
Black-crowned Night Heron

Rock Dove



Back in Gaucin there were just 45 Honey Buzzard moving through at 18:00hrs. Tim B reported many Egyptian Vulture accumulating near Tarifa, also good numbers of Honey Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Black Kite, Eurasian Sparrowhawk and Peregrine.

Thursday 01 September 2016, Gaucin, cloudy am, sunny pm, calm air-light E-SE wind, 30C

At around 08:00hrs several groups of European Bee-eater, totalling 200+ individuals, flew over the village.
Afternoon raptor movement as follows:
17:45hrs: 5 Honey Buzzard, 1 Booted Eagle
18:00hrs: 43 Honey Buzzard
18:15hrs: 20 then 18 Honey Buzzard, 1 Black Kite, 1 Booted Eagle

Still 2 or 3 Common Swift around Calle Convento.

Wednesday 31 August 2016, Gaucin, mostly sunny, light SE wind, 30C

Tim B, Rob and I headed out at 08:00hrs on quite a cool morning to see what we could find along the Serrania de Ronda.

First, in almost misty conditions, we visited the Salto de Cura where we saw: Wood Pigeon, Firecrest, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit and  Chiffchaff sp.; Great-spotted Woodpecker and Eurasian Nuthatch were heard.

Next up was the Las Pilas track above Algatocin, where we logged: Griffon Vulture, 2 Black Kite, a dozen or so Honey Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Common Kestrel, Common Raven, Eurasian Jay, European Bee-eater, Common Swift, Crag Martin, House Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Spotless Starling, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Spotted Flycatcher, a stunning male Common Redstart, 2 Black Redstart, Stonechat, Black-eared Wheatear, Black Wheatear, Crested Tit, Sardinian Warbler, Common Whitethroat, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Cirl Bunting.

Our final stop, it was now rather warm, was the Encinas Borrachas track between Atajate and Ronda. Here we were treated to: Griffon Vulture, Common Kestrel, Red-legged Partridge, European Bee-eater, Southern Grey ShrikeNorthern Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Thekla Lark, Stonechat, Great Tit, Melodious Warbler, Blackcap, Spectacled Warbler and Serin; Bonelli's Warbler was heard.

In all, 44 Species seen and 3 heard.

Back in the village there was a third Monarch butterfly in three days, with one over Calle Convento around 14:00hrs, also 7 Booted Eagle and 2 Honey Buzzard moving through at 18:00hrs and 3 Honey Buzzard at 19:15hrs.

Yesterday there was a Eurasian Hoopoe in the woods above the La Umbria route (R Gordon).

A couple of photos of the tame Thekla Lark seen along the Gaucin paseo over the past few days.....