It’s the start of another week, and we’re off out again with guests for the day. We hoped the sunny hillsides around the village would bring us a few summer favourites…and we were soon on our way up the mountain once more.
Black Wheatear showed well on rocky outcrops above the road as we headed on our way…jet black plumage and snow white tails. We had great views of Woodchat Shrikes, too: always striking with sharp, black and white plumage and chestnut caps. Fantastic too see the first of this year’s juveniles, and we had a good look at that beautiful, cryptic brown colouration…so very different from their parents bold markings!
Crested Larks and Stonechat lined the track uphill…joined by good numbers of Corn Buntings, perched on the tops of bushes and trees along the way. A flash of tropical colour soon brought us too a standstill, and despite the distance there was no mistake – the brilliant yellow plumage and jet black wings of a male Golden Oriole, a great tick for a summer day-list and a highlight of the trip!
Kiersten found a Little Owl roosting quietly only metres off the track, and the same bird gave terrific close views later on. A Kestrel or two did eventually make an appearance today, and a small, compact grey male Sparrowhawk dived and swerved along the road as we passed, but the star bird of prey for the day has to have been a dark-form Booted Eagle, which followed our progress up the mountainside and soared in lazy circles right over our heads.
A change in habitat brought a change in the birds. We drove through Conifers and then Holm Oak, and noisy Jays were soon flapping between the trees. Rock Bunting now called from the treetops, joined by the scratchy song of streaky, yellow Serin. Glimpses of a Nuthatch and a Short-toed Treecreeper gave us a couple of nice woodland species for the trip…but the drive back down the hillside still had another wonderful surprise in store!
Great views of a Hoopoe, perched in a tree just along the track, with its pink-tinged, light brown body and unmistakable black and white wings and crest. One of southern Europe’s truly exotic-looking species, and a superb way to wrap up the trip: a sweetly singing Nightingale ended the morning perfectly.
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