It’s the start of a new week, and the birdwatchalpujarras team are off on a day-trip to Sierra de Lugar. It’s been a while since we visited this productive local patch and with our friend Andreas on board for the day we’re hoping to add a few interesting species to his holiday tick-list!
The secluded, craggy gorge at the foot of the mountain gave us a good start to the morning and we soon had a bright male Blue Rock Thrush, watching us suspiciously from its look-out post on a rocky outcrop. Crag Martins and Red-rumped Swallows floated overhead, and we had good views of Black Wheatear in no time at all.
Serin, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Blackbirds were quickly added to the day-list, as were Great Tits, Blue Tits, Coal Tits and a party of Long-tailed Tits, passing characteristically one after another between the trees. A Red-legged Partridge ran across the track with maybe a dozen chicks in tow…and then the churring, clicking calls of a Sylvia warbler stopped us in our tracks.
A Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata showed first – we thought a pair, in fact – the sombre grey body and very long tail giving us the ID we were looking for but they were a difficult spot as they flicked their tails and disappeared into cover. Next up, one of the highlights of the trip…equally elusive as the previous species, but the surprisingly bright red chest left us in no doubt. A Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans, our first ever sighting of this Mediterranean speciality and a wonderful addition to the day. Fantastic.
We could have waited for a another glimpse of this beautiful bird all day, but we needed to move on…however, not before a Kestrel and then a Golden Eagle soared past over the cliff tops. The drive uphill brought us Chaffinch, Stonechat and the usual Common Sifts and hirundines, and a Woodchat Shrike.
A stop at the ruined mining buildings higher up the mountainside often proves worthwhile, and so it was today…we found both Northern Wheatear, including the juvenile we’ve posted here, and Black Redstart. An old tunnel entrance provided the nest-site for a pair of Red-rumped Swallows, and we watched them swooping busily in and out, with chicks clearly still in need of feeding quite late on in the year.
We had more views of a Dartford Warbler here, and a Golden Eagle patrolled hillside above us…then, the third Sylvia species of the day. A Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata, perched deep in a bush and defying all attempts at photography, but a terrific way to end the day nonetheless.
Another great birdwatching outing, and with a brand new species on the list for the month as well! Great stuff. We’ll keep updating the reports as the summer progresses, so please keep checking the posts…
Andalucia has some of the best birding southern Spain has to offer, and joining us for birdwatching trips and holidays couldn’t be easier. Click on the link for all the details!