15 June : Sierra de María

This last Monday and Tuesday was definitely one that Mr. Coward could have used in his little ditty about 'Mad dogs and Englishmen going out in the midday sun' as temperatures were in the upper 30s to lower 40s. Not nice and my little teckel spent most of the day doing his impression of a hedgehog flattened on the road. However, Wednesday was positively cool, with only 29ºC in Torremolinos. I would caution against taking the street thermometers as being reliable, as if they are in full sunlight they can quite easily give 5º-7ºC more than the actual air temp..
Yes, I remember Gilly. How nice of you to take the lass out with you! Very decent.

46ºC in Arboleas on Monday, so Gilly....remember her?, Steve and myself headed up into the mountainous area of the Sierra de Maria. As we had a coffee at the Repsol garage cafe in Maria town we watched the House Martins nesting under the forecourt canopy. Adrian arrived as I spotted a distant Griffon Vulture gliding towards Vélez Blanco....yes, we were sitting outside!
We made our way towards the chapel, seeing a Corn Bunting on a chainlink fence. Very reminiscent of Extremadura!
Upon parking we immediately heard a European Cuckoo. I spotted a Linnet flying by and when we walked round to the water trough we had good but distant views of Linnet, Chaffinch, Rock Bunting, Subalpine and Bonelli's Warblers making use of the facilities. I then spotted an eagle flying low directly towards us and a Short-toed Eagle soared above us.
We made our way towards the Information Centre. A Raven showed well just as Jacky joined us. In the lower gardens we observed Coal and Great Tit, the latter using one of the nest boxes. A family group of Subalpine Warblers were seen. Adrian and Gilly hung around there as Jacky, Steve and I did the lower walk. We added Mistle Thrush and Blackbird plus fleeting glimpses of a Western Orphean Warbler. More Bonelli's Warblers were seen. 
Returning to Adrian and Gilly, they also had seen Crossbill and Robin and heard a distant Golden Oriole. We walked back down towards the chapel, leaving the energetic Jacky to do the middle walk. We spent some time trying to see the Golden Oriole in the trees near the chapel, but to no avail. 
At the farm buildings we added Carrion Crow and Barn Swallow. As we made our way to the sheep trough we spotted a Woodchat Shrike. The drive along the plain only produced Crested Lark. At the hamlet we saw Black-eared Wheatear and a pair of Lesser Kestrels.
We returned to the La Piza forest café for lunch where we were entertained by Crossbill, Chaffinch and Great Tit using the birdbath. An Iberian race squirrel also was thirsty. Jacky caught up with us. She'd added Great Spotted Woodpecker and Jay to the list. As we were eating all the birds took flight as a fast low flying Turtle Dove whizzed passed. I'm sure they thought it was a Sparrowhawk! Gilly spotted a Booted Eagle. We went our separate ways. We saw a group of ten Griffon Vultures soaring above the mountains before we got to Maria town.
 "Only" 35 species today, but great to be out of the heat! 
An update on Val's Rob. Operation went well and he is now back home.

2 comentarios:

Birdingscopestalk dijo...

must have been a nice experience ! thanks for sharing

Anónimo dijo...

A nice summer passed! And a good experience to share ! thanks