14 January : Sierra María

The second offering from Dave in two days. Leaving aside any other comments about spp., a Striped Crake (polluela culirroja) was found wandering around a village in Córdoba on Tuesday, taken into care and released at a suitable site on Wednesday. This is a rare subSaharan species and there are only three good European records, the first also being in Spain. Like the Allen's Gallinule (calamoncillo africano) of which most European records occur during the winter months, it is forced to move by drought situations. A French birding friend saw one from his office window one snowy January morning when he was based in Vendée!
By the way, the Striped Crake appears to have fled as it was not seen today, Thursday.

With Paul Groves and daughter Sara​ being over on their hols, it gave me an opportunity to have another days birding. Today was Sara's ??th birthday and Paul asked if we could go to the Sierra de Maria as a treat. Well wrapped up against the cold I took them up there. We met up with Brian and Mary at the Repsol Garage cafe. Brian suggested we did the plain first to give the shaded Botanical Gardens a chance to warm up a bit! We first stopped at the farm buildings. 
I immediately spotted a Rock Sparrow (gorrión moruno) on a roof ridge. Some Carrion Crows (corneja) were seen before Sara spotted a Green Woodpecker (pito real) feeding under the pine trees. Obviously it was an Iberian race. Are they separated now from the rest of the Green Woodpeckers in Europe? (Don't know; Andy) We also saw a Jay (arrendajo), some Mistle Thrushes (zorzal charlo) and a Blackbird (mirlo). I spotted a male Cirl Bunting (escribano soteño) atop a tree. He was joined by numerous Crossbills (piquituertos) and some Chaffinches (pinzones comunes). Paul spotted a Robin (petirrojo) and we heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker (pico picapinos) drumming.
We made our way to the farmyard trough where, in the surrounding trees, we saw reasonable numbers of Linnet (pardillo), Rock Sparrow (gorrión chillón) and Corn Buntings (trigueros). Brian spotted a pair of Hoopoes (abubillas) and Goldfinch (jilguero) and Crested Lark (cogujada comun) were also observed. 
We convoyed slowly down the straight plain road. We struggled to see any birds till I spotted a Calandra Lark (calandría)perched on a rock. A bit further down we found a pair of Little Owls (mochuelo)on a pile of rocks. We stopped at the hamlet. We heard a strange bird call coming from the rough field on the opposite side of the road. I checked out the call of a Black-bellied Sandgrouse (ganga ortega) on my phone and we were pretty certain that was the culprit. We search for ages with a negative result. We did see an extraordinary flock of 30+ White Wagtails (lavanderas blancas). 
We headed for the Botanical Gardens. The wind had got up and it had clouded over. We only saw a Great Tit (carbonero común) and Chaffinch (pinzón común) by the chapel and nothing by the water trough. On the ploughed fields we did see a single Rock Bunting (escribano montesino). In the garden Mary identified the call of Crested Tits (herrerillo capuchino). These were joined by Short-toed Treecreepers (agateador común) and Long-tailed Tits (mito). We decided that due to the weather we'd adjourn to the La Piza forest cafe for an early lunch. We were met by a chorus of Crossbill (piquituerto) calls from the tree tops.
As we'd not seen a raptor all day we diverted to the Velez Blanco Vulture Feeding Centre on the way home. The enclosure was empty but we did see up to 18 Griffon Vultures (buitre leonado) soaring above the "Grandmother's molar" mountain to conclude a reasonably successful days birding.
If you include the two "heard" observations, we ended up with a total of 30 species for the day.

1 comentario:

Roger Morris dijo...

An interesting blog, have you further information on the location of the vulture feeding station?
Sounds well worth a visit.