25 May 2016

Galera and Spanish Lynx in the Sierra Morena

We spent three months in Spain, through the winter from the end of November to the end of February. One of the best things was seeing the wintering birds, many of which could have come straight from Wales. Hen Harrier, Merlin, Meadow Pipit, Linnet even maybe Dartford Warbler though not Blue Rock Thrush; all of which winter here. We thought we'd found a wintering Subalpine Warbler when we came upon a sylvia Warbler right up in the trees but no it was a Dartford and this turned out to be a commonplace, like the one below picking at old fruit. It was a bit surreal.

Couldn't resist this Rock Bunting, even though they are one of the commonest birds around the village.

The highlight of birding around Galera was finding our Trumpeter Finches are still here and looking well settled in at the Water Tower. Hopefully another successful breeding season to come.

One of the things we definitely wanted to do this winter was get off to Andujar for a couple of days looking for Spanish Lynx. We failed in the summer but January is supposed to be the best time to look for them and so we went. The first day was cold and drew a blank but we did get superb views of Black Vultures. This is an excellent site for them.

The Fighting Bulls were much in evidence and the granite carved Commedores for food.

Being mainly an area of hunting estates Fallow Deer (as here) and Red Deer are common, as are Mouflon and Wild Boar. We found four or five Wild Boar and maybe a dozen stripy piglets right in the village when we arrived late back in Galera from the airport. You don't have to go as far as the Sierra Morena looking for them.

Azure-winged Magpies are incredibly common around Andujar, even feeding around the edge of town.

Pretty much everywhere but Griffon Vultures are still impressive.

As are Hoopoes.

And then it appeared, a crap picture because I was just too excited. What a brilliant, arrogant beast; stalking around, sitting a while and continuing on its way. Absolutely amazing. What a beast!

So of course the trip was  a success but we'll still be back next year I think.