Old Monastery and Pallet Road – Mark Etheridge

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The Great Roller Hunt continues! This afternoon Bryan and I revisited the area around the monastery behind La Marina, and also broke some new ground. We followed the track which is the first one on the left as you join the monastery road, past the olive tree farm called Viveros Villa-Molar. We went along it for about two miles, and it is an area worthy of further exploration, with rough areas and pine trees. We also followed the track which Andrew Lamb mentioned as a site where he had seen a Roller last week. The light wasn’t great for photography, but our sightings included Common Cuckoo (2), Little Owl, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Stone Curlew, Bee-eaters (20 at least), Kestrel, Jackdaw, Magpie, Serin and Linnet. We also heard at least 4 Great Spotted Cuckoos, but true to form they refused to show themselves! But what of the Rollers, I hear you cry…We got them at last, but it was just a quick sighting of a flyover pair on one of the tracks near the monastery. They are certainly present in the area, but due to the colder weather they don’t seem to have established any territories yet. Anyway, the star birds of the show were undoubtedly the six (yes, 6) Monk Parakeets along Pallet Road in exactly the same place where we saw a pair last week, They were on wires on the right just after the pallet factory as you go uphill, and were extremely approachable. When they weren’t on the wires, they were feeding in the field on the right and also flying to the trees behind the field. It looks like they may be a regular addition to our immediate area!