The GR7 is one of the major hiking paths crossing Europe, and the sections running through the Alpujarras and the Sierra Nevada mountains are a popular choice for Spanishhighs walkers throughout the year.
Kiersten took our birdwatching friend Emily and I out for a few hours today, where this well-established track passes through the local white villages. The stroll out of Canar, up past Soportujar and back round to Lanjaron took us through some nice stretches of mixed woodland, and gave us an interesting handful of typical species for the day-list.
Broken, open scrub below the tree-line gave us Stonechats and Crested Larks as always…
…and we swiftly picked up Great, Blue and Coal Tits as we walked into a mix of chestnut, oak and pine trees. A rather more intriguing prospect for a decent shot or two were the good numbers of Firecrest Regulus ignicapillus that showed well throughout the day, but remained frustratingly swift and hard to pin down as they foraged through fresh spring foliage on the trees.
Full marks to Kiersten, then, for snapping this individual as it briefly broke cover. This tiny bird is just above dead centre in the image we’ve shown above: look for the black stripe running through the eye, the bold, white stripe above the eye and the black cap that from this angle conceals the central, orange crest. A great tick for the day!
Another target species for the day – the Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla – soon made an appearance, its unique behaviour clearly identifying it long before it reached the range of our cameras. The view we’ve shown here is typical. Propped up on its tail, the bird works its way busily up the tree-trunk in the endless search for spiders and insects, before dropping to the base of the next tree and starting the whole process again.
With marauding Sparrowhawks patrolling ominously overhead, a pair of Nuthatches seemed completely distracted as they closely inspected what looked like an old woodpecker’s nest, before setting up home for the spring…
…and still found the time for the usual acrobatics as they searched for insects along dead branches nearby.
All in all an enjoyable few hours. If you would like more information on our birdwatching trips and holidays, all the details are only a click away…
and in our regular posts and trip reports, you’ll find all our latest birding news!