Friday, May 06, 2016

Birding Spain - Cap de Creus

Dee and I decided to revisit Cap de Creus today after last Sundays birding attempt was thwarted by 70/80Km winds. The Cap de Creus forms the most eastern part of the Iberian peninsula as it juts out towards the sea and offers excellent varied habit. The weather today had deteriorated a little with overcast conditions and temperatures varying from 18/20C.

Dee managed to snap this Nightingale, for once out in the open!
We began the day after a ninety minute drive at Vilajuïga, Red Kite on route and just after passing through the village stopped for a while to investigate the olive groves and bushy areas. Sardinian Warbler and Nightingale were the first species of note but a walk further into cover revealed Orphean Warbler, found by a song I've now managed to memorise. Distant Golden Oriole singing and Common Swift, House Martin and Barn Swallow constantly overhead.

Woodchat Shrike - Quite common to the area with at least a half dozen seen today!
A second stop instantly revealed a Woodchat Shrike, which came up off the ground into a nearby oak. A calling Wryneck had us searching for a little while before we finally connected, but then disappeared into the undergrowth. While we were trying to relocate a couple of Spotted Flycatchers entertained us, along with Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Serin. Corn Buntings seemed to be everywhere!

Corn Buntings in abundance
Further up the valley the landscape becomes more open with rockier terrain and more bushes. A ruined house was home to a pair of Stonechat and here too, House Sparrow and Sardinian Warbler. Hoopoe could be heard calling and after a short while one revealed itself as it flew through. Our second ♂Rufous-Tailed Rock Thrush of the holiday was perched up on a distant rock formation and a Thekla Lark was found not far away, revealed by the song. Another search of the terrain produced Tawny Pipit and Linnet. Having already visited and recorded Peregrine,  Black Redstart and Common Redstart on Sundays visit we bypassed the Benedictine monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, although its well worth a visit if your ever in the area. Get high enough and Alpine Swift are a certainty.

Blue Rock Thrush at Cap de Creus
After lunch in Cadaqués we made the final ascent up to the light house at Cap de Creus, stopping on route in known areas for Spectacled Warbler, but not today. Having been surprised at how busy the whole area had been with cyclists, ramblers and sightseers, it came as no shock to find the lighthouse mobbed! Still the intrepid two completed a walk out to the headland for a sea-watch. Yellow-legged Gull, Crag Martin and only a few distant and indistinguishable Shearwater Sp. to be found on a quiet sea. However, we did manage our first Blue Rock Thrush of the visit. A few butterflies while enjoying the scenery included Painted Lady, Scarce Swallowtail and Swallowtail. While enjoying a Café con leche, or beer if your not driving at the lighthouse hostelry two Pallid Swift were among the stream of Common Swift overhead.

A real mystery as to why no raptors were noted today but on route home a White Stork was circling over the town of Figueres, almost causing me to ram the car in front!

A few of the wife images of the day!



Wall Brown