20 April, embalse de Negratín (Baza)

Cor, wish I could get out as often as Dave and Gilly! I draw readers' attention to the note on the cliff nesting House Martins and the accompanying photo, which is how they used to breed before Homo not very sapiens started building houses with roof overhangs (also known as eaves) and other tall buildings under which they could build their nests. It sounds spectacular. I remember when I first saw them nesting on the cliffs at North Landing, Flamborough, with water underneath for any adventurous chick to fall into. I guess you can say the same for several species such as Barn Swallows, Common and Pallid Swifts, Lesser Kestrels and so on, man has been of some use at times, which makes a change!

Gilly and I met up with Brian and Mary just before the dam at the Embalse de Negratin near Baza. It started as a grey day, but by mid morning the sun had broken through. On the approach to the dam we saw a Yellow-legged Gull, but on the water there was nothing. Checking around the carpark there were Greenfinches, Goldfinches and Serins. A Rock Bunting was seen down below as was a Stonechat. We could hear Nightingales from the valley below. I spotted a large bird of prey in the distance. Another Golden Eagle for the year. Either we've been lucky in seeing them or there seem to be more of them this year.

We then drove down to the valley. Nightingales were singing all along the babbling brook and we managed to spot 3-4 of them. Great Tits and Long-tailed Tits were also seen. Walking down towards the gorge we also heard Cetti's and Reed Warblers. Only saw one Crag Martin, but there were 100s of House Martins nesting on the cliff face. On the way back to the vehicles Mary claimed a sitting Peregrine Falcon on the grass bank in front of the dam, but alas it was a water sprinkler head!
An enjoyable day. 31 species. Braving Sierra Maria tomorrow. Hope the weather holds.
Dave & Gilly

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