20/02 : Embalse de Negratín, Baza

The weather here was vile yesterday morning and the preceding night and as it was obviously moving eastwards, Dave and co. got it in the fullness of time. Brave chaps! Herewith Dave's report, but as he says, don't get too excited.

After Gilly and I joined forces with Alan at Arboleas we headed north towards Baza and onward to the Embalse de Negratin. As we passed Hijate we were driving through a rain shower. Being hardy....or foolhardy ... birdwatchers we carried on, only to be rewarded with overcast skies and no rain or drizzle as we pulled into the Cafe/Hostal near to the dam. We were joined by Heather and Jack. After a coffee, and no sign of any others, we headed down towards the dam, parking just prior to it.
     Gilly was first to spot Crossbills on top of leafless poplar trees. On the reservoir itself we saw more than usual....don't get too excited in anticipation! There were a total of 12 Cormorants, 4 Yellow-legged Gulls, 3 Great Crested Grebes and a pair of Mallards. From the roadway looking down to the valley below we did manage to see Blackbird, Black Redstart, Black Wheatear, Sardinian Warbler and a lovely male Blue Rock Thrush on the cliff face near to the water outlet pool.
     We then drove down to the valley, parking up at the junction and walking towards the above mentioned pool. I immediately saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker atop a poplar tree. As we got closer we saw that there were in fact a pair of the birds in that copse. Only added Great Tit to the list on the walk to the pool. Was hoping to see Redwing as in previous years, but alas no sign of them. Above the pool we saw a pair of Rock Doves. In the bushes adjacent to the babbling rivulet we added both Blue and Long-tailed Tit. Down the valley and high up on the steep slope Heather spotted movement. There was talk of Ibex, deer  and  Mouflon. I plumped for deer as they didn't have the large horns, but now back here in front of the computer looking at  photos of hornless Mouflon, I'm convinced that they were one and the same.
     As we walked back to the vehicle a light drizzle started to come down. Only 26 species for the day. It was a close run thing with the weather!

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