An unexpected break in the hot spell made this day out much more enjoyable than anticipated, plenty of birds were on show.......
It doesn't get much hotter than July in Southern Spain but if you get up early enough you can enjoy 6 or seven hours before it gets unbearable and that is exactly what we did today.
I left home at 6:30am in the dark and drove down to Casares to collect Penny before driving to the coast to collect my client for the day, Richard. Once on board all three of us set off to Soto Grande to have a look at the Laguna Torreguadiaro. The reeds around the pool have grown to a riduculous hieght so it is almost impossible to see anything there. A single Mallard and a Purple Swamphen (heard calling) was all we got. Around and over the pool we saw Crested Lark, Stonechat, Barn & Red-rumped Swallows, House Martin and Yellow-legged Gulls.
From the laguna we drove to San Enrique Woods where we had a little better birding with sightings of Iberian Chiffchaff, Serin, Spotted Flycatcher, Jay, Blackcap, Tree Sparrow, Booted Eagle and Common Buzzard. We viewed the river Guadiaro from the woods and found several Little Ringed Plover, Grey Heron and not much else.
We saw a few butterflies along the approach track outside the woods, Small White, Holly Blue, SpeckledcWood and a couple of beautiful Monarchs.
WOODCHAT SHRIKE - juvenile
Next we drove through San Martin to the start of the Marchenilla Track, along the way we stopped to look at Bee-eaters, Woodchat Shrike, Short-toed Eagle and Little Owl. Along the track we were very lucky to see a pair of Rufous Bush Robins, also Melodious Warblers, more Bee-eaters, Woodchat Shrikes, Booted Eagles and lots of finches. But the best sight by far was the Griffon Vulture, wevsaw over 110 hundred of them circling and dropping down onto the side of a hill up ahead of us.
GRIFFON VULTURES - above - on the hillside gathering around a carcass
the 'bloody' mass, you can see blood stains on most of these 'lovely' birds!
We discovered that a fresh Cow carcass was the reason for the high concentration of vultures, we had great views of these massive scavengers, many of them had bloody heads and blood-covered feathers, yuk!
After our vulture extravaganza we drove down to the river to eat our own lunch, as we sat in comfortable deck chairs we watched bird activity over a pool where Spotted Flycatcher, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Bonelli's Warbler, Melodious Warbler and Golden Oriole all showed well.
poor record shot of a Bee-eater
Gastropoda - species of air-breathing land Snails, in aestivation - summer dormancy similar to hibernation
Our walk along a track at the river didn't produced many more species but we enjoyed views of Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Golden Oriole (fleeting views), Hawfinch (in flight seen by me only), Turtle Dove (ditto), Stonechat, Woodchat Shrike and again lots of Finches.
Saddleback Bush Cricket (male) - Ephipigger ephipigger
We retraced our route over the Marchenilla track stopping to look at more Bee-eaters before arriving at a bridge over the Rio Hozgargante, from the bridge we had very brief views of Western Olivaceous Warbler and Cetti's Warbler. We concluded the day by driving back across country-tracks to Casares where we dropped Penny off before continuing to the coast where I said goodbye to Richard at 4pm.