Friday afternoon, and I’m off walking with a mate, exploring the local patch again. A run up the outskirts of Granada proved to be a bit of a disappointment…we’d hoped for a stretch of mixed woodland, but found little more than a pine plantation that had about as much life in it as the commercial olive grove next to it. Undeterred, we moved on.
We decided to take a look at a local stretch of water in the Lecrin valley, a good oppurtunity to take a break from the dry scrub and rocky hillsides where inevitably I spend a lot of time. The short drive back brought Carrion Crows on the farmland and fields as we passed by, hardly worthy of note back home but a species I simply don’t see out here. We parked up in a small village, intending to drop down onto a riverbank and follow the flow down to a reservoir. Strangely, as we left the car I saw a Jackdaw, again not exactly unusual but my first ever in Spain this year.
Almost immediately the change of surroundings paid off…a Little Ringed Plover, possibly nesting on the stones and gravel of the riverbed before us, soon showed well as we walked downstream. A Cetti’s Warbler, familiar now since our trips to Padul, sang strongly from cover on the opposite bank, and the day was improving by the minute. A few Mallard on the side of the lake and White Wagtails flitting along the stream were, at least, a reminder of wetlands at home…but then something grabbed my attention.
A call at first…”zeet…zeet…zeet”. From cover near the lakeside, familiar only because the same call had troubled me at Padul, memorized as an “as yet unidentified warbler”. Surely a glimpse of the bird might offer a clue. Then, at last…a small, non-descript bird in a deeply undulating song-flight overhead, each bound punctuated with the same “zeet…zeet” call. Things started to take shape, we now had a little more to work with.
Finally, the view I needed. The same bird passed by again, streaky brown plumage but with its short rounded tail distinctively fanned out. Fan-tailed Warbler! Also gloriously known as the Zitting Cisticola, this Mediterranean resident is the only European representative of an African and south Asian genus…an unexpected life-first for me that turned the day into something really special. Absolutely fantastic.
The walk back upstream to the car gave us another great view of the Little Ringed Plover, close enough to see the characteristic yellow eye ring. Great to see a bird I’d not encountered since the middle of March in Salobrena. Just before we left the riverbed one more treat for the day…a Nightingale, singing beautifully from the opposite bank, just to wrap things up.
Another amazing day, and right on our doorstep…in fifteen minutes or so we were back in Lanjaron. Amazing what you can find in a spare hour or two in the Alpujarras…