´10 June: Sierra de María

With  good memories of our trip to the Pyrenées with Brian and Mary, together with the Lammergeier (quebrantahuesos), Citril Finch (verderón serrano), Dipper (mirlo acuático), Dunnock (acentor común), Yellowhammer (escribano cerillo) and Red-backed Shrike (alcaudón dorsirrojo) firmly behind us, Gilly and I headed to the Sierra de Maria where we met up with John, Rod and Linda. After a cup of coffee and a quick clothing change for Gilly, as we'd come straight from a nursing job, we made our way to the chapel area. I quickly spotted a Booted Eagle (águila calzada) up on the ridge. Probably the same adult seen by John as he approached María town. A single Griffon Vulture (buitre leonado) glided by. 
Not a lot round the chapel. There were a couple of White Wagtails (lavanderas blancas) on the farmed area below the fuente. Our best bird, possibly only one as I remember, round the water trough was Bonelli's Warbler (mosquitero papialbo). We sauntered up to the Botanical Gardens without adding any further ticks. 
We were met by one of the rangers. I asked him about any birds and he said it was best around the small pools. Sure enough, we hung around there and saw Blue Tit (herrerillo común), Crossbill (piquituerto) and Subalpine Warbler (curruca carrasqueña). Short-toed Treecreepers (agateador común) made an appearance as did Coal (carbonero garrapino) and Crested Tits (herrerillo capuchino). We did the lower walk only adding a noisy, but distant Raven (cuervo).
It was then back to the vehicles for the short drive to the farm buildings. On the way, apart from a Carrion Crow (corneja común), there were a number of low flying Griffon Vultures (buitres leonados) over the disused Visitor Centre. After a slow start we eventually saw Corn Bunting (triguero), Hoopoe (abubilla), Great Tit (carbonero común), Rock Sparrow (gorrión chillón) and Serin (verdecillo). We next stopped at the water trough area. We added Turtle Dove (tórtola europea), Wood Pigeon (paloma torcaz), Goldfinch (jilguero) and Crested Lark (cogujada común). More Rock Sparrows (gorriónes chillones) were heard.
A slow drive down the plain added Little Owl (mochuelo) and an obliging Short-toed Lark (terrera común). Apart from further Crested Larks (cogujadas comunes) birds were few and very far between. Had slightly more luck at the hamlet. 
Two pairs of Northern Wheatears (collalbas grises) appeared to be having some sort of boundary dispute. I spotted some distant Calandra Larks (calandrías), but by this time heat haze was a problem as well as empty stomachs!
We made our way to the La Piza forest cafe where we enjoyed watching Chaffinch (pinzón común), Crossbill (piquituerto) and a Jay (arrendajo) whilst eating our lunch. A thirsty Spanish subspecies Red Squirrel (ardilla) came for a drink.
Nice to be back on our local patch. 34 species seen. How long can we and the birds stand the heat?

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