A ‘non birding’ trip around Andalucia – 4th to 11th October.

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We are just back from a week visiting Ronda, Seville and Cordoba. Driving around Andalucia was brilliant, and although we weren’t there to look for birds, a few birds found us. On our way down south we had a drive round the Sierra Espuna where we saw 3 Crossbills and about 6 Griffon Vultures. We stayed overnight in a cave house near Guadix and then set off past Granada to Ronda. Somewhere along this route I spotted a Golden Eagle perched on a rock in a field. We also saw Magpie, Kestrel, Crow, Spotless Starling and Crested Lark. At Ronda we set off to look at the famous New Bridge and were delighted to see several Chough flying around by the bridge! We saw them a number of times when we were out and about, along with a Blue Rock Thrush down in the rocky area below the bridge. During a visit to Casa de San Juan Bosco we could hear a Blackcap singing and after peering into a bush of orange berries for a while we eventually caught sight of the bird.

In Seville we could see and hear plenty of Monk Parakeets in the park and around the Plaza Espana, they were everywhere! On our way from Cordoba towards Guadix we travelled east on a very scenic N road where, not far out of Cordoba, we saw a White Stork flying and shortly afterwards we saw another 2 White Storks perched on top of a nest. I was surprised to see these birds as I would have expected them to have left Spain and flown south on migration by this time. On Saturday night we stayed at Cortijo La Estrella, a lovely countryside apartment complex near Velez Rubio. As we arrived we spotted a Lesser Kestrel on a wire and I believe there is a small colony of these birds somewhere near here. On Sunday we travelled home and as we passed Murcia we saw another White Stork perched on top of an aviary at Terra Natura. I don’t know whether it was an escapee of whether it had just stopped to look at the captive birds in the aviary! All in all not a bad set of species for a ‘non birding’ trip.