Sue and Colin arrive on time from their flight to Málaga. After greetings and lunch we set off to Fuente de Piedra for a short birding stop. There we find a good number of Greater Flamingos, Gulls (Black-backed, Black-headed and Yellow legged) and small parties of Cranes. Along the track we see large flocks of Goldfinches and Linnets feeding in the ploughed fields. On the surroundings of a large ’cortijo’ we find numerous Spotless Starlings taking advantage of the insects on a pile of manure.
We continue our journey to our Rural Hotel in Sierra de Andújar seeing on the way Red Kites and White Storks. We get to our accommodation on time to rest before enjoying a nice meal cooked by Ron.
We set out to the viewing point at the break of dawn seeing on the way our first Iberian Magpie party dashing around. Along the fences of the ‘bulls state’ we see a group of 10 Corn Buntings perched on the wire. Once we get to the viewing point and start scanning the surroundings, we get a beautiful Dartford Warbler flicking around in a lavender bush just in front of us.
Before lunch Pau gets news that a Lynx has been spotted at the end of the track and we dash for it. Pau sets up quickly the scope to see this magnificent cat sunbathing on a big rock. After seeing it for 30-40 minutes it stands up and walks off. We walk for 1 km to relocate it again but soon it is lost. We end up exploring a small patch of forest with eucalyptus where we see a Nuthatch and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Around 4:00 p.m. o’clock we decide to move to other part of the park to try to see the Otter. There are quite a lot of (noisy!) people around but soon they leave as it gets dark. Later, Pau gets a glimpse of an Otter approaching and for few seconds it leaves the water and poses for us on a rock. Wonderful views! Finally, we drive back to our accommodation to celebrate our sightings and warm up with a glass of red wine in front of the fireplace.
On the way to the viewpoint we get nice views of a Hawfinch perched on the top of an ash tree. Soon we find a couple of Iberian Green Woodpeckers drumming on a telephone pole. The morning is quiet, although we get some good views of a Wild Boar and Griffon’s Vultures. By midday it gets very warm (22ºC in December!) so we decide to drive down the track to look for some birds. While we sunbathe in the warm winter sun, we find a family of 3 Spanish Ibex moving from shade to shade. Later, Pau catches up with some colleagues who have just spotted a large Eagle which turns to be a pair of displaying Golden Eagle. This sight is followed by one Black Vulture. Marvellous!
Then, we get back to the viewpoint for a last Lynx surveillance. Finally, on the way back to the accommodation we get close views of a large Wild Boar rooting, which seems not be bothered by our presence.
We spend the morning walking along the track and getting fantastic views of Vultures; Griffon’s and Black, a Booted Eagle and a stunning male Blue Rock Thrush. After lunch we move farther along the track spotting the pair of Golden Eagles we spotted the day before on its usual perch. In addition, we get nice views of Daubenton bats at their roost. Soon after we hear the ‘crock’ call of the Spanish Imperial Eagle as the pair display in the middle of a flock of Vultures. So, from the same spot we get views of 4 different raptors!
As temperature cools off, we go back to the view point for our last Lynx stakeout. Out of nowhere, 2 Lynx are spotted walking along the track which crosses the state. We follow them for few minutes until they split and disappear in the forest, so we decide to change position and that proves to be a good decision as we join a group of people watching one of the Lynx resting in a meadow. The light is fading so we walk back to the car but before getting in it, we see the other Lynx crossing the road. What an end of the trip! It couldn’t have been any better!
After breakfast we make our way to Málaga airport and after farewell, Pau sets off to Granada. Many thanks to Sue and Colin for being such wonderful companions. It has been another fabulous short break, with some incredible sightings of the rarest cat in the world and amazing raptors! More information at www.birdwatchingspain.net
Spanish Imperial Eagle
Western Yellow-legged Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Common Wood Pigeon
Eurasian Collared Dove
Tawny Owl (heard)
Little Owl (heard)
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Iberian Green Woodpecker
Eurasian Crag Martin
Crested Tit (heard)
Short-toed Treecreeper (heard)
Iberian Grey Sgrike