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Old Monday 23rd December 2013, 19:29   #1
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Birding on the Costa del Sol (Malaga)

2013.12.20 Birding at El Chorro with Ann and Ciaran

El Chorro provides a perfect opportunity for hiking and birdwatching in an impressive mountainous environment.

It was one of those few days here in Malaga when the wind blows strong from the North and one realizes that this is not only the Costa del Sol but the place of contrasts.

We started the climb to the vultures’ cliff with 7ºC through the North and shady face of the hill. Our hands were freezing when we got at the summit. By that time we had already spotted Crossbills, Ring Ouzels, Rock Buntings, Black Wheatears and the first Griffon Vultures soaring in the distance.

We stayed on top of the gorge in the sun for a while until our hands recovered their operating temperature. We got great views of the vultures, some of them carrying branches for their nests. We could spot an eagle for an instant, presumably a Bonelli’s one, nailed to the sky as a kite in the wind so far in the distance on top of one of the peaks, but I would say it was not enough to call it enjoyment.

We kept on climbing to the top of the cirque. The nasty weather deterred birds from calling and fluttering around. Nevertheless, we completed the walk through the mountains with Goldfinches and Chaffinches, Coal and Blue Tits, Blue Rock Thrushes, Crag Martins and nice views of Sardinian Warblers, Black Redstarts and Robins, with male Dartford Warbler which jumped on a bush for a nice moment.

We stopped at Rio Grande on our way back to the coast, where we could enjoy a much higher density of birds. Mallards, Snipes, Common and Green Sandpipers, Kestrels, Meadow Pipits, Black-winged Stilts, Cattle and Little Egrets, Greenshanks, Grey Herons, Stonechats, Cormorants, White and Grey Wagtails, Moorhens, Chiffchaffs and a wonderful Great Egret passed through the telescope to leave a good taste in our mouths.

Enjoy birding Malaga!!!
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Old Monday 13th January 2014, 21:26   #2
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2014.01.11 Birding at El Torcal

2014.01.11 Birding at El Torcal

It was a fresh (8ºC) cloudy morning with light east air which was pushing the sea humidity against the coast line.

I arrived at the cliff at 7:45 with the very first lights of dawn. I especially wanted to know about the Eagle Owls and the Peregrine there. Blackbirds, Crested Larks and Stonechats were the first to wake up.

At 8:00 some of the Griffon Vultures “growled” from the cliff when they were hardly visible to my telescope. It was then when I heard the Eagle Owls. First, one of them called from the east of the cliff and was immediately answered by the other, down to the west. I heard the call of the first one like moving towards the other until they met and hooted together. Unfortunately, it was impossible for me to spot them. I heard the last song by 8:37 at daylight.

Choughs, Spotless Starlings and Rock Sparrows in the cliff, and Red-legged Partridges and Corn Buntings in the lower farm land sounded very active as well. The first Griffon Vulture took off at 8:45, when I headed up to the Visitor’s Center. In my way to the car, I could see the Peregrine Falcon flying along the cliff, perching exactly on top of the crest I had just left, bad luck!

The views from the Mirador de las Ventanillas, near the Visitor’s Centre, were wonderful. There was a thick layer of clouds coming from the coast. Only the highest peaks were at sight over the fog. Some Griffon Vultures passed very close to the crest. I decided to slowly walk the green route, paying close attention to every moving or singing bird.

I was surprised for the big amount of Ring Ouzels on the rocks and flying in every direction. I could take some nice pictures of a Blue Rock Thrush and the Blue Tits called from every bush among the rocks. Wrens, Robins, Spotless Starlings, Sardinian Warblers, Black Redstarts, Rock Buntings... until the fog finished climbing the tall cliff and fell over the plateau, increasing the risk of getting lost in this marvelous forest of magic stones. It was time to go back.

Enjoy birdwatching on the Costa del Sol!!!
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Old Sunday 19th January 2014, 16:48   #3
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2014.01.18 Andalucia Bird Society January Field Meeting At Fuente Piedra

2014.01.18 ANDALUCIA BIRD SOCIETY JANUARY FIELD MEETING AT FUENTE PIEDRA

At least three Little Owls called me from the Visitors’ Centre on my way to the Laguneto hide at 7:45 in the “boiling” atmosphere of the lake. The silhouettes of Black-headed, Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, as well as those of Shovelers, Mallards and Pochards stood out against the dawn reflection on the water. Moorhens mixed with rabbits running around the bushes out the banks of the pond.

The lake shows a wonderful aspect from the Visitors’ Centre and there are thousands of Flamingos in it. Gadwalls, Teals and Black-winged Stilts fed in the ponds that the last rains have formed along the path down the Cerro del Palo. I could also spot a Green Sandpiper and a Ruff in the little islands. A Marsh harrier was tearing to pieces what I think it was a poor Black-winged Stilt.

The group arrived at 9:00 and started a walk through the wooden bridge from which we could see Snipes, a nice courtship dance by four male Teals around a female, Kestrels (with very long hoverings), a Common Buzzard on a pylon and a Marsh Harrier on top of a tamarisk. There were big flocks of Rock Buntings and we could take some time in comparing them with the more scarce Reed Buntings.

We could observe five young flamingos in the distance which were significantly smaller than the adults around them. Their bills were not the Lesser Flamingo’s solid dark, then, why are they so small?

We then celebrated the annual ordinary meeting of the Society in the comfortable conference room of the Visitors’ Centre, which ended up with a nice friendly lunch in Fuente Piedra.

I took the road around the lake in my way back to Malaga. There was a wonderful flock of Cranes in Cantarranas but the Laguna Dulce did not show the ordinary amount of waterfowl, despite a great number of Coots in the water. I called on the Peñarrubia cliff to see the Griffon Vultures and Rio Grande for a nice shot of a Kingfisher.

Enjoy birdwatching Malaga!!!
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Old Sunday 19th January 2014, 18:40   #4
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Any sign of Stone Curlew around Fuente De Piedra? Where were the Rock Buntings exactly? We'll be there next Thursday.
Muchas Gracias!
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Old Monday 20th January 2014, 22:41   #5
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Any sign of Stone Curlew around Fuente De Piedra? Where were the Rock Buntings exactly? We'll be there next Thursday.
Muchas Gracias!
So sorry, Jon, I meant CORN Buntings!!! I'll correct it straightaway.

El Torcal, which is not far from Fuente Piedra, is a great place for ROCK Buntings.

Stone Curlews use to be in the farmland near the wooden bridge. They were not over there last Saturday, but have a look when you are there.

Have a nice time over here!
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Old Monday 20th January 2014, 22:44   #6
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Originally Posted by Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP View Post
So sorry, Jon, I meant CORN Buntings!!! I'll correct it straightaway.

El Torcal, which is not far from Fuente Piedra, is a great place for ROCK Buntings.

Stone Curlews use to be in the farmland near the wooden bridge. They were not over there last Saturday, but have a look when you are there.

Have a nice time over here!
Ok thanks Luis We'll have a good look around.
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Old Monday 20th January 2014, 22:55   #7
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I'm afraid in am not on time for corrections!!
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Old Wednesday 22nd January 2014, 14:45   #8
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Hi Jon, for Rock Bunting as Luis say El Torcal, just walk past the visitors centre/café and down the path for about 100 mts, we had cracking views of Rock Bunting in there.

Good luck!

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Old Wednesday 22nd January 2014, 18:23   #9
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Jon.I have seen up to 12 stone curlews at one time in the marismas de Barbate,the old refuse tip site on the Barbate/ Zahara road,,regards Eddy
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Old Wednesday 22nd January 2014, 18:36   #10
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Thanks folks!!!
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Old Friday 24th January 2014, 01:54   #11
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We could observe five young flamingos in the distance which were significantly smaller than the adults around them. Their bills were not the Lesser Flamingo’s solid dark, then, why are they so small?
Hasn't Chilean Flamingo and possibly other new world flamingos been observed as feral in Europe? might that be the explanation?

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Old Saturday 25th January 2014, 23:14   #12
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Hasn't Chilean Flamingo and possibly other new world flamingos been observed as feral in Europe? might that be the explanation?

Niels
I have been talking about that with some ornithologists. Their opinion is that the five young Flamingos might all be females which are slightly smaller tan males.

Quite convincing...
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Old Saturday 25th January 2014, 23:27   #13
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2014.01.25 Birding At Rio Grande

I have spent an amusing morning walking, watching birds and taking photographs, and it is the first time I have seen Hose Martins and Barn Swallows this season.

These are the birds I photographed (for all pictures see http://www.birdaytrip.es/en/blog-2/item/185-2014-01-25-birding-at-rio-grande-bird-watching-costa-del-sol.html or www.facebook.com/Birdaytrip): Mallard, Wigeon, Cormorant, Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Black-winged Stilt, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Greenshank, Snipe, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Crag Martin, House Martin, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Stonechat, Spotless Starling, Goldfinch

And the birds not photographed: Kestrel, Collared Dove, Hoopoe, Barn Swallow, Robin, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Jay, Raven, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Serin.

Total: 39 species.

Enjoy bird watching Malaga!!!
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Old Monday 27th January 2014, 21:58   #14
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2014.01.26 Birding in the Sierra del Jobo

2014.01.26 Birding in the Sierra del Jobo

We were lucky to find a couple of Golden Eagles soaring near a flock of Griffon Vultures.

This sweet weekend gave us the opportunity for some hiking before temperatures fall to the winter standards again.

Besides the big raptors, we could also spot Red-legged Partridges, Kestrels, Meadow Pipits, Robins, Song and Mistle Thrushes, Blackbirds, Blackcaps, Sardinian Warblers, Great, Coal, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Nuthatches, Short-toed Treecreepers, Iberian Grey Shrikes, Choughs, Spotless Starlings, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Common Crossbills and Cirl Buntings.

Enjoy birding Spain!!!
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Old Monday 27th January 2014, 22:08   #15
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We did find about 20 Stone Curlews on the shore of the laguna in the North East corner from the lay by with the raised viewing platform.

We saw loads of Rock Buntings at Montejaque thanks all!
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Old Tuesday 28th January 2014, 06:08   #16
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Sounds like an interesting day. Yes I have noticed from the weather forecast that there appears to be some wet wether moving into the area.

How do you access the Sierra del Jobo, is it from Villnueva Del Rosario?

Thanks BillD
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Old Wednesday 29th January 2014, 07:58   #17
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Yes, Bill, Villanueva del Rosario is a good way to access.
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Old Wednesday 29th January 2014, 07:59   #18
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We did find about 20 Stone Curlews on the shore of the laguna in the North East corner from the lay by with the raised viewing platform.

We saw loads of Rock Buntings at Montejaque thanks all!
Good!!
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Old Wednesday 29th January 2014, 08:49   #19
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There is a track which runs across the sierra del Jobo from Villanueva del Rosario southwards, so access is possible from either end of the track. At one time the track was just passable in a normal car.
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Old Thursday 30th January 2014, 22:40   #20
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2014.01.30 Birding with Sarah at Fuente Piedra

2014.01.30 Birding with Sarah at Fuente Piedra

We had decided to call on the cliff of El Torcal before getting to Fuente Piedra to try and, at least, hear the Eagle Owls hooting.

And we did only hear them indeed, just for a moment, in the middle of a freezing strong wind that pushed a thick fog against the wall. As Sarah said at the end of our trip, it was a “dramatic” atmosphere.

But at least we also heard some Blackbirds, Choughs, Red-legged Partriges and Corn Buntings singing and saw some Crested Larks, Stonechats, Goldfinches, Chaffinches, House Sparrows and one Dartford warbler.

After a tonic breakfast, we headed to Fuente Piedra. A nice Song Thrush just jumped down to the ground from an olive tree near the Visitors’ Centre. We first went to the Laguneto where we spotted Moorhens, Coots, Common Sandpipers, Lapwings, Mallards, Shovelers, Gadwalls, Pochards, Little and Black-necked Grebes, Black-headed Gulls and Snipes.

We had very nice views of a couple of Sardinian Warblers, Black Redstarts, Chiffchaffs, Greenfinches and Linnets, and heard the Cetti’s Warblers in the bushes around the Visitors’ Centre. A wonderful adult female Marsh Harrier caused some panic among the waterfowl in the big lake.

After having a general view of the lake from the Cerro del Palo, from where we saw the big amount of Flamingos feeding at the site and huge flocks of Lesser Black-backed and Yellow-legged Gulls, we could also find a Black-tailed Godwit, Black-winged Stilts and Teals in the ponds around the lake.

We were lucky to spot a nice Bluethroat in the path to the wooden bridge, where Sarah very much celebrated the presence of a Hoopoe on the handrail. We could also see a Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipits and Cattle Egrets in our way to the tower. A big flock of Jackdaws flew towards the lake from the farmland.

It was time for lunch in the village. In the afternoon, we started a tour around the lake. We saw the first big flock of Cranes near the Vicaria hide, from which we had very close views of the Flamingos and also a Kestrel hovering over the bushes.

We discovered a nice Common Buzzard soaring just before arriving to Cantarranas, where Sarah spotted a nice female Hen Harrier flying over the reeds and we could hear a Great Tit singing. Three more friends to the list!

We saw a couple of Ravens and some Spotless Starlings before getting to the Laguna Dulce in Campillos. This lake is not showing the ordinary diversity and amount of waterfowl of the last years. There were just some Gadwalls in the middle of the lake with lots of gulls, a huge flock of Coots, a big amount of Crag Martins feeding over the water, Little and Black-necked Grebes. There was also a pair of Ringed Plovers in the shore.

We decided to have a look around Las Latas for more Cranes but they had not arrived yet. After finding some Shelducks in the shore, we saw a very pink Flamingo feeding apart from another flock. After the tale of the little young Flamingos two weeks ago, I pay a lot of attention to them in search for Lesser Flamingos. And this time we found it. This Lesser Flamingo showed a solid dark bill when taking the head out of the water. I am sorry that the testimonial photos are so far off (www.facebook.com/Birdaytrip).

We stopped aside the road to watch a wonderful Iberian Grey Shrike, our last friend on the list.

51 species in total!

So we did not find the Purple Swamphen nor the Black-winged Kite but, as I use to say, there always has to be a reason to come back!

Enjoy bird watching Spain!!!
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Old Friday 31st January 2014, 12:28   #21
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We had lots of red-crested pochard at Laguna dulce. Not sure you have lesser flamingo there, don't they have all dark bills? Sounds like a good day out though, thanks for sharing.
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Old Friday 31st January 2014, 12:54   #22
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Great reports and photos Luis.
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Old Friday 31st January 2014, 13:02   #23
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I love reading this but have not got a clue where these places listed are. Do you have a map so I can see how far they are away from Nerja as i am heading that way next month.

Keep the reports coming
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Old Friday 31st January 2014, 14:52   #24
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Did a google search on the place names

I now know where they are - LONG way from Nerja
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Old Friday 31st January 2014, 21:44   #25
Luis Alberto BIRDAYTRIP
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Did a google search on the place names

I now know where they are - LONG way from Nerja
The road from Nerja to Fuente Piedra is a very comfortable highway. It'll take you less than one and a half hour to get there.

Come on! This little trip is worthwhile!
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