Andalucia Trip Part Two – Malcolm Palmer

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We arose to another fine morning, at the Cabo de Gata, and our little (4 car) convoy set out westwards along the coastal track. We soon found a pair of Raven in unlikely habitat, then doing a short seawatch, saw small groups of Balearic Shearwaters moving east, and several Gannets flying higher. We turned inland, and our poor old drivers had to have a little practice for next year’s Dakar rally until we found our way back to the village, where a Swallow or two was with the Crag Martins. On the Salinas we had the good fortune to find two Oystercatchers, always difficult birds to see in the Mediterranean.

We then set off inland to the northwest, and lunched in a nice little bar near Gergal before taking the high altitude route over the Sierra de Filabres. At its summit, we had ascended to a chilly 2,168 metres, and were immediately greeted by the sight of a fine male Brambling. But that was almost all we saw at high altitude, apart from a Crossbill or two, before we descended to book into our hotel, the Dama de Baza. We then took an evening ride around the big Negratín reservoir, and I decided we should look at some big crags to the south of the road. A huge raptor sailed forth, and, after some deliberation, and telescopes being employed, we realized that its orange underparts, orange head and longish tail could only mean one thing. A Lammergeier! And some way from its breeding area that we were due to visit the following day. Our day was made!