Sunday, April 05, 2015

'Never on a Sunday' Spain Day 3

Talk to any birder whether Spanish or Expat and they'll tell you 'never on a Sunday' and this was Easter Sunday. With that in mind and knowing everywhere would be mobbed once more I decided to stay put and bird from the patio! At least for the morning and early afternoon anyway.

Painted Lady - several appeared this morning around the villa.
It was a good choice as the visible migration seemed to continued at pace. First it would be a group of Barn Swallows, then House Martins, followed by Common Swift! In fact with so many Swift coming through I'm astonished I've not managed to pick out any Pallid or Alpine thus far. Bee-eaters come through in dribs and drabs but today a marked increase in raptor numbers with four Booted Eagle and a brace of Short-toed Eagle. Another migrant, although I'm unsure as to whether these migrate through Spain, were several Painted Lady butterflies. These along with Wall Brown, Small White, Spanish Festoon and Clouded Yellow.

Record shot of a passing Short-toed Eagle in the morning haze!
Also of note before lunch were a half dozen Crossbill, Serin, Sardinian Warbler and my first Blackcap of the visit, when one suddenly broke into song.

Black Redstart
After lunch we decided to head up above Mijas to a disused quarry, Cantera los Arenales, an area which overlooks the surrounding sierras and meanders deep into pine forest. Amazingly it wasn't as busy as we anticipated but low cloud did hamper the visit for a short while. The first birds of note were, Black Redstart, Kestrel and a very stunning ♂Stonechat, I always feel the Mediterranean birds look more vivid than those at home. Eventually the cloud cover dissipated and the sun shone allowing several butterfly species to take flight and these included: Clouded Yellow, Moroccan Orange Tip and Black-eyed Blue. Although heard on several occasions we never managed to connect with either Firecrest or Crested Tit, birds we've seen here regularly but Coal Tit were plentiful, plus the odd Crossbill.
Managed a slightly closer view in the failing light of the Turtle Dove
This evening the local Turtle Dove was in his favoured spot and just after dusk not one but two Scops Owls calling. It's also the first time I've seen the ISS pass over outside of the UK. From our position here it passed almost directly overhead, Dave was most impressed!