05 January, embalse de Negratín

Cor, don't these folks from Almería get around? There's me with my left knee wondering if it's going to self-destruct in the next 10 seconds, stops me going birding with Bob (tho' I did stagger out with the dog to the mouth of the Guadalhorce this afternoon and whilst she sniffed around I watched a dark phase Pomarine Skua frighten the living daylights out of the gulls - very tastey!) and with more stuff in from Dave on behalf of the Arboleas Group. Apologies for the delay, Dave!

As we approached the Negratin reservoir near Baza, I was thinking I'm glad I didn't chose this weeks birding location. The cars outside temperature gauge was registering zero degrees and the view in front of us revealed that the valley in which contained the dam was shrouded in fog. Yes, Brian, this is down to you!
We parked at the dam side carpark. Some Blue Tits made an appearance. I managed to spot a Cormorant through the gloom. The only good sign was the noise of birds coming from below the dam. So this is where we headed.

Having parked at the T junction at the bottom we began to walk towards the dam along the road. Blackbirds warned of our approach, sending Redwings up into the poplar trees (no, not Eucalyptus trees, Mary!) Blue Tits, Great Tits and Blackcaps were flitting around. Brian and I came across a small flock of Long-tailed Tits. A Robin, Stonechat, Black Redstart and Blue Rock Thrush were seen. The girls stayed on the bridge as we walked further on. I reached the narrow bridge over the fast flowing rivulet first. Spotting movement to my right in the bushes, I was delighted to see a Dunnock. Only the second one I'd seen in Southern Spain in 9 years! The first one not 400 yards from where I was standing. This is obviously "THE" place to see them!! It luckily stayed for Brian and Dave to see. A Green Sandpiper flew downstream. A Grey Wagtail landed on a gravel bank. Brian spotted a Ring Ouzel disappearing into the scrub and reeds further down.
We were glad to get back into the warming cars and head out of the valley into bright sunshine. 29 species for the day. Brians' reputation had survived....just! Heading back towards Arboleas we saw the Observatory was surrounded by snow. No one had the nerve to suggest we went there next week!

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