Yecla – Mark Etheridge

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Yecla was quite interesting today, but perhaps needs to be left for another few weeks to get the best out of the area. John, Bryan and myself arrived at our usual morning tea break site at about 9.15 and put in some hard hours working the area. Early highlights included a stunning male Greenfinch, Female Blackcap, Rock and Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch and Jackdaw, with Bee-eaters calling in the distance. Our first area speciality was soon found – Black-eared Wheatear, of which there were at least two males and a female in the same area. A scan of the nearby fields produced a lone Chough feeding in a distant stoney field and a Black Wheatear. Of course there were plenty of chances to compare and contrast Thekla and Crested Larks, which were everywhere, plus other larks in the shape of Calandras and Short-toed. Raptor-wise, things were a little disappointing, with just one Buzzard seen, but also several Kestrels, some of which were identified as Lesser Kestrel .Bryan quickly decided that one extremely common bird should never be mentioned again on pain of dire consequences, so I won’t tell you about a species of Emberiza which usually inhabits Corn fields…Speaking of which, the corn was growing very well after the recent rains, so we had to accept defeat in our search for Sandgrouse which were probably there but well hidden. There were just a few Barn Swallows around, but no sign of Swifts .

Thekla’s Lark was identified by Bryan, mostly due to the white eye-ring the Crested Lark, having a “dirtier” eye ring!