Sunday, September 13, 2015

Migration At Pace!

Stunning views from the terrace at 1000ft overlooking the Mediterranean and Africa beyond!
After the long day trip Saturday a Sunday morning lay in followed by a full English on the terrace and a few hours vismig! I must say, there's nothing to match watching the European autumn migration first hand and in such stunning surroundings. A constant stream of Barn and Red-rumped Swallows, House Martins, the occasional Sand Martin and endless Common Swifts with the odd Alpine and Pallid Swift in the mix. During breakfast alone (18) Bee-eaters passed through, (3) Booted Eagles, (1) Short-toed Eagle, (6) Honey Buzzards but the ultimate sighting was (42) White Storks passing high overhead heading further around the coast towards Gibraltar and Tarifa. A little later in the afternoon our first ever local sighting of Egyptian Vulture, as a single bird passed high over the sierras towards Mijas.

Conscious that Dave had lots of packing to do for his forthcoming trip to Canada I took a late afternoon drive the relatively short distance to Cantera los Arenales, a disused quarry towards the back of Mijas. The drive takes you to the lofty heights of nearly 3,000ft and offers amazing views (Video Above) of the surrounding sierras and paths that meander deep into pine forest. It's a great place to register species such as Crested Tit and Firecrest, both of which were duly recorded. This area has yielded both Rock Bunting and Black Wheatear on previous visits but sadly not today. At the top of the trail the pine trees diminish offering breathtaking views of the sierras and pastures below, a great place to just sit and observe. Once again migration continued, even this late in the day and along with Peregrine, (4) Short-toed Eagles, (2) Black Kite, (2) Sparrowhawk and (5) Booted Eagles I managed (4) Alpine Swifts and (6) Crag Martin among the passage birds. On the way back down to the parking area (2) Nuthatch and Short-toed Treecreeper.

More Images Of The Day

Woeful attempt of Crested Tit on the Canon SX50
Short-toed Eagle at Cantera los Areanales in the harsh setting sun!
Swallowtail butterfly in the villa garden
Several Red-veined Darter around the terrace