Lynx and Birdwatching in Andujar – 6-9th March – Barry Chambers

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On Tuesday 4th March Kathy, Rob, Carol and myself set off for a four day trip in search of the Iberian Lynx. As we approached the region of Jaen the weather started to deteriorate, but by the time we reached Andujar we had started our bird list which included Black Kite, Merlin and Griffon Vultures as well as many Azure Winged Magpies. After having lunch at the excellent Los Pinos, where we were staying, we drove to the river bank lynx lookout point, which drew a blank, we continued to the dam but weather worsened, and after 45 minutes the poor light and drizzle forced us to return to our accommodation.

Wednesday morning started with 8 Hawfinches in a tree above our accommodation, the first of many sightings of these lovely birds. Azure Winged Magpies were everywhere as we travelled towards the reservoir but thick mist closed in giving limited vision. By 11am the weather improved and whilst scanning for Lynx I turned to see a Lynx some 40 metres away by the road, we all managed to get a brief glimpse of it before it disappeared not to be relocated!!! We decided to drive up to the monastery for lunch as the mist had closed in again. The rest of the day brought further good birds including Raven, Red Billed Chough, Blue Tit, Short toed Treecreeper, Kingfisher, Blue Rock Thrush, Griffon Vulture and Cirl Bunting.

On Thursday morning in the grounds of Los Pinos I heard a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and managed to get a brief view of it before it flew off. Rob joined me and we heard a Greater Spotted Woodpecker drumming and saw it as it flew away. We retraced our steps from yesterday but we were unable to find the Lynx. We added some more good birds to our list including Black Vulture, Sparrowhawk and Corn Bunting.

For our last day the weather had improved so we drove to the mirador near the reservoir. On the way we saw an adult Wild Boar with 8 young who had no fear of us as we left the car to take photos. Throughout our 4 days we had great views of Red and Fallow deer. At the mirador we saw a Short Toed Eagle, large numbers of Griffon Vultures and another Black Vulture. On the way back from the mirador we stopped at the point where we had seen the Lynx and were happy to see a Spanish Imperial Eagle, a great addition to our bird list. We returned for lunch at Los Pinos before starting our journey home, although disappointed at not having good views of the Lynx we had all had a very enjoyable 4 days.