Guadalentin and Sierra Espuna – Rex Walker

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On Thursday, Jeannet, Eddie, David Roe and I went to the Guadalentín valley; the reserve at Salinas de Alhama de Murcia; and the Sierra de Espuña. Highlights were as follows:-

At Guadalentín – at least 19 Little Bustard in a cropped cabbage field, and 2 Black bellied Sandgrouse, but no Spectacled Warbler.

Salinas de Alhama de Murcia (a new site for me, best accessed via the Las Salinas Industrial Estate off the RM2 coming towards Alhama, just before the junction with the A7) – Kingfisher, White headed Duck.

Sierra de Espuña – at the visitor centre, Firecrest and Short toed Treecreeper; at the Mirador Collado Bermejo, a fine male and several female Crossbill; at the Pozos de Nieve (icehouses) at least 15 Ring Ouzel, and 3 Redwing; plus 2 separate groups of 13 and 27 “mouflon” (strictly, these are I think arruí or barbary sheep, a species introduced for hunting).

As a bonus, at dusk near the new Corvera airport we saw an Eagle Owl fly across and were able to watch it perched on the bare rock till it got dark.

Species list (compiled by Jeannet) – Mallard, Shoveller, Pochard, White headed Duck, Red legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Cattle Egret, Booted Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Western Swamphen, Little Bustard, Yellow legged Gull, Black bellied Sandgrouse, Rock dove, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Eagle Owl, Little Owl, Hoopoe, Kingfisher, Skylark, Calandra Lark, Crested Lark, Water Pipit, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Ring Ouzel, Blackcap, Sardinian Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Chiffchaff, Firecrest, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Crested Tit, Short toed Treecreeper, Southern Grey Shrike, Magpie, Jackdaw, Chough, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Serin, Crossbill. Total 64 species.