Monday, November 13, 2017

πŸ“– Diary Update #72 ~ πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ SPAIN 2017

Back aboard the boat after returning home from my final visit to Spain in 2017 I can now reflect on some excellent birding experiences! Beginning with a visit in April for Spring Migration, a visit in September, taking in the incredible raptor migration down in the Straits of Gibraltar and my latest visit, some early winter birding high up in the Sierra de Loja region.

Black Storks ~ Gaining height for the crossing from Gibraltar to Morrocco!
Birds in Spain are diverse and abundant, due to a combination of factors: its geographical location, great variation in the local geography and topography, and a wide range of microclimates present in many regions. The proximity of many habitats, especially on migration corridors leads to a rich mixture of species. If you think of Southern Spain as a bridge to the African continent, where birds from Central & Western Europe can easily access the wintering grounds of the tropical rich zones in Western Africa. The Pyrenees to the north, a door to Europe and many coastal regions as a stop off point for 1000s of migrating shorebirds, not to mention less than a three-hour flight from the UK, you can understand what draws me here!

Rock Bunting ~ Smart little birds..
During my visits, I've enjoyed walking the gravel tracks of Zapata in pitch darkness searching for roosting Red-necked Nightjars ~ Dawn walks at the Rio Guadalhorce Nature Reserve, which lyes on the perimeter of Malaga airport, one of my favourite coastal locations, where anything from Bluethroats to Greater Flamingos can be found ~ Observing the spectacle of 1000s of raptors migrating through the Straits of Gibraltar ~ Scouring the lowland fields and plains for Bustard, Harriers, and Stone Curlews ~ Or simply sitting on my buddy's terrace just after sunset, beer in hand, listening to NightingalesEagle Owls and Scops Owls calling.

View at Sierra de Loja
However, my favourite has to be birding at almost 5,000ft with species such as Alpine Accentor, Black Wheater, Ring Ouzel, Rock Buntings, Vultures, Eagles, Larks and Choughs for company!

Of course, this is all made possible due to the patience of my incredible wife Dee, a cracking birder and great companion and my buddy Dave, a non-birder, who I drag endlessly around the country in the pursuit of wildlife! For this, I'm eternally grateful!! Here's to my first trip of 2018 and a return to the Pyrenees and Northern Spain in May!

Some of my favourite images of  Spain 2017...
The Zitting Cisticola or streaked Fantail Warbler (Cisticola juncidis)
Ring Ouzel ~ Sierra de Loja

Slender-billed Gull

Iberian Grey Shrike

Black Wheatear
Black Redstart

Thekla Lark
Plain Tiger ~ Nothing plain about this!

Short-toed Snake Eagle

Glossy Ibis 
Birds Recorded in 2017...

Shelduck, Mallard, Gadwall, Pintail, Shoveler, Wigeon, Marbled Duck, Teal, Pochard, Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, White-headed Duck, Red-legged Partridge, Black-necked Grebe, Little Grebe, Balearic Shearwater, Gannet, Cormorant, Little Bittern, Night Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great Egret, Grey Heron, White Stork, Black Stork, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Greater Flamingo, Griffon Vulture, Osprey, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Black Kite, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Common Buzzard, Honey Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Black-winged Kite, Kestrel, Lesser Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Purple Swamphen, Little Bustard, Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Stone Curlew, Collared Pratincole, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Turnstone, Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Redshank, Greenshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Snipe, Ruff, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Common Tern, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, Eagle Owl (h), Tawny Owl (h), Scops Owl (h), Little Owl, Red-necked Nightjar, Swift, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, Hoopoe, Kingfisher, Bee-eater, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Woodlark, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Sand Martin, Crag Martin, House Martin, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, White Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Alpine Accentor, Robin, Nightingale, Bluethroat, Redstart, Black Redstart, Wheatear, Black Wheatear, Whinchat, Stonechat, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Blackbird, Ring Ouzel, Blue Rock Thrush, Sardinian Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Moustached Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Firecrest, Wren, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Crested Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Iberian Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Jay, Jackdaw, Chough, Raven, Spotless Starling, Rock Sparrow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, Linnet, Greenfinch, Siskin, Goldfinch, Serin, Common Crossbill, Rock Bunting, Corn Bunting