My final day with Chris and Pete - from tomorrow Bill will be joining us and the Tarifa 7-day Migration Tour officially begins!!
We are getting lazy! Our breakfast was taken at 8am and it wasn't until 9am that we left the house. We had a clear blue sky, no wind and 20C. A short drive of 3km aling the Ronda road found us at the entrance gate to Gaucin's Sweet Chestnut Wood, we had a great time there.
As soon as we entered the wood we found two Eurasian Nuthatches and a Chaffinch, then as we made our way down the slope and to an open area we found a small party of Crested Tits, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and another Eurasian Nuthatch.
Then we had a great piece of luck as we found a large mixed flock foraging in some Holm Oaks and Pine Trees, it was fantastic, birds were everywhere, we must have seen fifty or more in this single flock. Blue, Great, Crested and Long-tailed Tits, Iberian Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Firecrests (6), Chaffinch, Short-toed Treecreeper and three very nice migrant species - Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Pipit and Common Redstart.
Whilst we were watching the feeding flock we noticed a passage of raptors above us. They drifted over the nearest ridge in small groups but we soon counted over 100 Honey Buzzards, a single Black Kite, 4 Booted Eagles and half-a-dozen Griffon Vultures. Groups of European Bee-eaters passed over us too, they were very high up but could still be heard.
On the way back up the hill to the car we found more Crested Tits, Firecrests and Long-tailed Tits.
For the rest of our excursion we visited the River Guadiaro down at Estacion de Cortes where we had an equally enjoyable time. With a completely contrasting habitat we found a set of contrasting birds. Both Grey and White Wagtails, Common Kingfisher, Green Sandpipers, Cetti's Warbler (H), Barn Swallows, House Martins, Booted Eagle and more Honey Buzzards. Both Chris and Pete saw a male Golden Oriole whilst I was looking in another direction, bah!
Common Toad - female
We watched a small inlet where several species were coming down to drink, we noted European Goldfinch, Eurasian Linnet, Hawfinch, Blue & Great Tits. A small flock of Cirl Buntings were feeding on the ground beneath some Holm Oaks as we passed by during our return walk to the car, Pete also found a European Robin and a low flying Booted Eagle was calling on and off as it drifted past.