Sunday, March 08, 2009

Costa Del Sol, Spain.
A short break for some winter sun to Benalmadena . By no means a birdwatching holiday, my bins were packed for anything that I stumbled upon. Some nice birds were seen from the hotel balcony and a roost of 300+ crag martin on the Hotel Balmoral opposite , red rumped swallow, hoopoe, spotless starling, yellow legged and med gull and black redstart kept me occupied whilst sipping a glass of red wine.
A visit to the lovely village of Mijas produced rock bunting,raven,serin,sardinian warbler, cattle egret,black redstart, a pair of stonechats and blackcap. Lots of unidentified butterflies including swallow tailed and hummingbird hawkmoth.
A trip to Marbella included kentish plover, 30 little stint, and it was interesting watching yellow legged gulls imitating gannets plunge diving for fish going compltely under and most times coming up with a good sized fish in thier bill.
Ronda is a beautiful place sitting astride of a 600ft gorge. A very windy day with a few showers and it was the first time I had seen rain going up vertical produced by the updraft off the cliff face. Lots of chough around the gorge and a couple of griffon vultures and a black kite over the town. A pod of 11 griffons were in a valley on the way to Ronda.
The only time I actually went birdwatching was on the last day when I left my wife at Plaza Mayor for a couple of hours shopping whilst I headed to a little nature reserve in Guadlarhar. A small piece of marshy land with pools and a couple of screen hides were a river enters the Med not far from Malaga airport.
The short time I was there produced white headed duck? (could be a hybrid), zitting cisticola, hoopoes,crested larks ,corn buntings, serins,black redstart, blackcap, black winged stilt, little ringed plover , marsh harrier and osprey.
This holiday was over all too quickly and what seemed like a blink of an eye I was back in the grey and cold UK.

Watercolour sketch of the Crag martins roosting on the Hotel Balmoral

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