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2018 Spring ABS Magazine

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A very warm welcome to the Andalucia Bird Society web site.
Here you will find information on birdwatching in Andalucia. A great resource for exchanging and or getting information on many aspects of birding here in southern Spain. If you intend visiting this area, then an open and FREE forum allows you to contact locals on specific site or species information. Contribute to our database & conservation efforts by submitting your vacation trip reports and sighting records to the society.
The main site and the forum also have areas restricted to members of the society. To get even more benefits from our web activities and also be entitled to receive newsletters, quarterly magazine and attend field trips please SUPPORT US!


Our latest field meeting itinerary can be viewed on our forum, find out more follow this link

We are not just about birds! Why not add your observations to the Other Wildlife Board on our forum follow this link

We have now published the March 2017 rarities and welcome any additions. To see the current list follow this link


Andalucia Bird Society in the News.  
The Andalucia Bird Society now has a regular article in the free newspaper The News.  Each article is about a different bird species that you will find in Andalucia.

Do you know of any county or national bird clubs
, societies, organisations that might want to exchange links with us? We think we can offer their members a great resource through mutual links and able to give their members a point of contact and reference if they intend visiting Spain. Thanks, The ABS team

Members info

As many will already know we were having problems with accepting payment for memberships using PayPal. The problems are now resolved and you can now follow the registration process and use PayPal to pay for membership. If you prefer there are alternative means by which to pay, for instance we are able to accept bank transfers, so if this is a suitable alternative for you, please contact us for further details. For clear instructions using PayPal please see ABS Forum.

Do any members have either articles they want published here on the main site and or photographs we can use in our gallery? If you can contribute please use the 'contact us' form. See main menu bar above.
Note: Members can now access their own area on the main site. See main menu bar above.


Do you own a Hotel, Guesthouse, Villa or Casa rural in Andalucia? We are able to offer a link and photograph, plus details of your accommodation if you become an affiliated member of the society. If you are interested in this offer please use the Contact ABS menu tab above.
Do you provide a service in Andalucia? Banner adverts appearing at the top of all pages available for a donation to the society.
Do you offer guiding services in Andalucia for walkers, birdwatchers, botanists, entomologists and or general nature tours? We can offer links on our web site for return links and a single free membership day tour guided by you each year. If you have an interest in this offer please use the Contact ABS menu tab above.

Where to go in Andalucía?
A list of bird watching sites for each province of Andalucia is provided by the Society together with their map reference, 10x10km grid location, altitude and habitat. 
The sites on our lists are those recommended by the Society for seeing birds.  New sites are continually added to the lists as the Society becomes aware of them and has carried out site surveys.
Some of the listed bird watching sites have full descriptions and It is our intention that eventually all the sites will have descriptions.
Next field meeting
Our next field meeting will be held on the 16th of June 2018. Field Meeting Peñon de Zaframagon, Olvera, Cádiz Province.  All actual information you can find on the forum.
We have available online many field meeting reports, which give a huge amount of information about the various sites we have visited earlier.

Dear Members

Well summer must be here if I am experience a little brightness and warmth back in the UK! Low twenties and the humidity stretches up and becomes almost unbearable, especially at night. Oh to be back in Andalucia where, I understand, you continue to have the prolonged heat with daily temperatures in the thirties and, I am sure, without the British humidity. But at least, between weddings of grand-daughters, I am able to get in some birding with visits to my local patch at Rutland Water along with a trip over to Norfolk and another to brother-in-law down on the Hamble River at Warsash, so able to drop in on Titchfield Haven. How different, for me, to see lots of Dunnocks and Blue Tits. Back in Mezquitilla I have to make a special journey if I want to see Wood Pigeon and Magpie but here the former are like plagues of locusts; they are simply everywhere from your back garden, to countryside and even towns.

201608 1The photographs in this issue come, once again, from members Michael Potts and Mark Green and I am most grateful for being permitted to use them along with the occasional shot taken by myself. My effort of a Common Whitethroat was taken at RSPB Lakenheath where a pair refused to move on till my cousin and I had taken copious shots from just about every conceivable angle. So please keep the photos coming in so that I can use them in future issues of the Monthly Mailings.

Whilst I have been over here, Derek Etherton and his quartet have had a touch of the “mad dogs and Englishmen who go out in the midday sun” by undertaking another “Top the Hundred” day in late July where, along with wife Barbara, Micky Smith and Luis Alberto Rodriguez, they managed to record 106 species. Mouth-watering looking at some of the birds recorded so, I suggest, a really good excuse for other ABS members to get out and about in their preferred Andalucian province, including Malaga as it is not a sole preserve of Derek and pals, and see if you, too, can bag a ton. Those who are able can read more of Derek’s exploits on the ABS Facebook page or even check out a brief summary on my personal blog at (CLICK HERE).


201608 2Male Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus (PHOTO: Michael Potts) How does Mike get these iconic photographs when, for the rest of us, they seem far too illusive?

201608 3
Birds of Andalucia

The latest, July, issue of our quarterly magazine Birds of Andalucia is now out. For those attending the EGM in Ronda you will have received your copy “hot off the press” but for the rest of us it should be dropping through the letter box any day now, or indeed may already have arrived. Reports from friends confirm that Derek has produced yet another great issue albeit I am going to have to wait until the end of August before I can get my grubby little hands on my copy when I return home from my present stay in the UK. I can’t wait!

Cover photograph for the October issue.

Now would also be a good time to think about a photograph (in A4 format) that you could enter for the October edition. It is surprising how quickly the weeks pass and Editors Derek and Barbara Etherton will want entries in by 15 September if the magazine is be with the printer by 1 October. Please do make a note to send your entries (maximum of 5 per member) as soon as possible. I know that Derek is planning something special for October so we have a slightly different cover theme for the next issue. “Any raptor that is found in Andalucia”. Lots of opportunity here but you may have to hold back on Turkey Vulture, Condor and Gyr Falcon!!!

Latest news from our Inter-supportive Belgian Friends

I have recently received the latest quarterly Natuur.oriolus magazine from our friends at Natuurpunt, the recognised bird society for Flanders, Belgium. I have also a PDF version of the magazine should any of our Dutch-speaking, or others, want to receive a copy for their personal perusal. There are three very interesting articles in this issue with English, Dutch and French summaries and I have included the first two below. The third deals with the report of Rare birds in Belgium in 2014 and 2015. Report of the Belgian Rare Birds Committee (BRBC). This I will include in the September Monthly Mailing.

The impact of a land re-allotment project on numbers and distribution of Red-Backed Shrike in the Gaume, Belgian Lorraine (19832015).

201608 4After years of population decline throughout Europe the Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio has experienced a remarkable recovery since the 1980s. In some cases, this had to do with the improvement of the habitat, such as in the Dutch Bargerveen. In some agricultural areas such as the Gaume (Belgian Lorraine) a significant population increase was recorded despite an ongoing decline in landscape quality. This shows that even on a larger scale factors have an impact on the numbers and distribution of the species in its range. This research examines the population fluctuations in the long term in Gaume and pays particular attention to the long term impact of a land re-allotment project on the habitat suitability of Red-backed Shrike.





Notes on an extremely white Buzzard

The presence of an aberrant nearly white Buzzard Buteo buteo in Vollezele (VB) (30 March 2014 - 25 March 2015) yielded interesting behavioural observations. This remarkable Buzzard turned out to be a male and formed a pair with a normal colour morph- female. It was monitored throughout two breeding seasons, but there were no indications of successful breeding. The behaviour was normal, but the call was slightly different. The aberrant colour could be the result of either inherited leucism or a form of progressive greying. Although Buzzards have a very variable plumage, a Buzzard with such a light colour is a rare phenomenon.

201608 5
Pale Common Buzzard Buteo buteo (PHOTO: Langmass & Darlaston, Devon Birds, 2010)

British Bird Fair, Rutland Water (

For those of you in Britain in late August and able to reach the Midlands then please do and try to make a point of visiting the 26th Annual British Birdfair which, as usual, will be held on the third week-end of the month. Open from Friday to Sunday, 19-21 August at Rutland Water near Oakham in the country’s smallest (I think) county of Rutland, you will not be disappointed. Lots to see, hear and visit and it covers every conceivable aspect of biding from equipment to clothing to literature to tours and visits. If it’s anything to do with birding (and much more) then you can almost certainly guarantee you will find it. And you are almost certainly bound to bump into somebody you know. Chairman Peter Jones along with other ABS members will be present (most probably Manu Mojarro from Huelva and Jose Luis Ojeda from Jean) so pop into Marquee 1 and find them on Stand 30.

Where is Rutland Water? A bare fifteen minutes from the A1 coming off at the third Stamford exit if heading north and taking the road to Oakham. Free parking when you arrive. I was at the site, birding, earlier this week and all looked very encouraging with most of the marquees now erected and making good use of the present good weather; but today, 28 July, it is raining!

BTO Cuckoo-tracking Project

I suspect many, if not most, of you will be aware of the “Cuckoo Tracking” project by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) that has been underway now for about 5 years. 201608 6Fixing small trackers on the wings of fledgling Cuckoos has enable science to discover immeasurable data about the migration of our Cuckoos, both out-going and in-coming, along with their winter activities in sub-Sahara Africa. Some individuals have survived to make three or four return visits back to their “home” nesting sites whilst others have perished en-route or in their winter quarters before their first birthday. Each year new juveniles are tagged so as to maintain and confirm data already established. Individuals are sponsored and last week I received an email from my Belgian friend Marieke (ABS member) to inform me that her cuckoo “Dave” had perished. However, she has sponsored a new youngster and is already receiving information about its travels south. Her bird 161321 is still awaiting a sponsor to name the bird so until then Marieke’s new “baby” is more like an escaped convict on the run, or flight in this case!

You can find out more about this project from the BTO at: or CLICK HERE.


201608 7
Jay Garralus glandarius (PHOTO: Mike Potts)

Please do give a warm introduction to the following who have joined the Society since I sent out the last Monthly Mailing and make them feel most welcome: Chris and Tessa Holdroyde from Newport Pagnell, Bucks back in the UK, Ian and Jacky Robbins from Barx in Valencia Region and Adrian Day and his partner Mark, address yet to be notified but they were able to join fellow members at the July EGM in Ronda.

Membership Renewals

I think I will use this as a monthly reminder as the new renewal system comes into place over time. Commencing April this year, we will no longer be replacing Membership Cards, rather a reminder letter will now come via an email. Given that the card, other than as a confirmation of your membership of the Society, serves no other purpose it was felt by the committee that the annual postage involved, approaching 200 Euros, could be put to better use in maintaining the present high standard of our quarterly magazine and supporting other initiatives proposed by the membership. I have typed in a replicate of the membership card on the renewal email to act as a reminder and receipt.

201608 8
Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cyanus (PHOTO: Mike Potts)

Accommodation help required

Our American member, Peggy Eppig from Pennsylvania, is returning to Sevilla in May next year (2017) and wants to know of a recommended B&B, hostal/hotel, etc for maybe a week. Or, indeed, the possibility of staying with a member in their home. Anyone able to help or offer advice please drop me an email for further details, etc.

ABC of Birding Collective Nouns

Continuing with our collection of birding collective nouns, this Issue covers quails to swans. Ever heard of a “doading” of sheldrakes? Me neither. And, as with the Monk Parakeets, we now have a “clamour” of rooks – but you will probably need to go to the far north of Spain to find (hear!) them.

quail - a bevy of quail
quail - a covey of quail

ravens - an unkindness of ravens
rooks - a building of rooks
rooks - a clamour of rooks
rooks - a parliament of rooks
ruffs - a hill of ruffs

sandpipers - a fling of sandpipers
sea fowl - a cloud of sea fowl
seagulls - a flock of seagulls
sheldrakes - a doading of sheldrakes
skylarks - an exultation of skylarks
snipe - a walk of snipe
snipe - a wisp of snipe
sparrows - a host of sparrows
sparrows - a quarrel of sparrows
sparrows - an ubiquity of sparrows
starlings - a murmuration of starlings
storks - a muster of storks
storks - a phalanx of storks
swallows - a flight of swallows
swallows - a gulp of swallows
swans - a gaggle of swans
swans (flying) - a wedge of swans
swans - a bank of swans
swans - a bevy of swans
swans - a whiteness of swans
swans - a herd of swans
swans - an eyrar of swans
swans - a gargle of swans


I note that Derek Etherton came across a single Quail at Zapata.  Shame he could find no more and then record a “covey of quail.”

Now this certainly looks like a “phalanx of a stork!”


201608 9

White Stork Ciconia ciconia at nest (Mark Green)

From the road approaching Rutland Water I could certainly see a “whiteness of swans” but closer to hand they had more the appearance of a bevy of swans; they certainly looked very beautiful.

Attendance and help at Field Visits

Finally, without apology, I continue to include the following paragraph from previous Monthly Mailings re the importance of letting the organisers know who might be attending future field visits. Whilst we arrange these monthly field visits to be enjoyed by as many as possible, many locations are better visited in smaller groups or, at least, well spread-out groups. In order to help you get the most from your visits, it is important that you let the organisers know if you hope to attend. This can be done by leaving a message on the Forum. If late, you could also contact either Frank or myself on the following numbers: Frank at 956122001 (Mobile 652 552 956) or myself at (Mobile) 669 649 529.

As our Society increases in membership and more and more participate in the Monthly Field Visits we could do with some help from the more experienced members of the Society. Would you please consider re helping the organiser by, perhaps, taking under your wing some of the newer and potentially less experienced members? You could also volunteer to lead a smaller group when numbers suggest splitting up the main body of participants; it all helps to give those attending a better birding experience.

Field Visits in General

With increasing participants it will be obvious to all that these days cannot be directly compared to a private day out with your local guide or even friend. Rather, they offer an opportunity for members to get to know each other, experience different sites and areas within our region where, perhaps otherwise, individuals may not have ventured before. This is a great way to find a new site, hear what’s on offer from the local expert and then look forward to a return visit at a later date either on your own or in very limited company. That, of course, is not to say that many, if not most, will have a tremendous time and find lots of new birds that might otherwise not have been seen.

This Month’s Meeting

Very early in the month due to other commitments, the August field visit is to the Bay of Cadiz to visit our La Covacha project under the guidance of Juan Martin. Full details of the how, why and when are on the Forum (CLICK HERE) but please make a note of the date; Saturday 6 August. Please also note especially that this is likely to be a hot day so bring plenty of fluid as well as a packed lunch and that there is a nominal admission charge.

Next Month’s Visit

Two meetings next month; one on our usual third Saturday (17 September) at the mouth of the Guadalhorce in Malaga led by Luis Alberto Rodriguez (CLICK HERE) and an additional visit to Tarifa/La Janda on Saturday 3 September, led by Frank Hair, which is one of the peak week-end periods of the autumn to witness the raptor migration. Should be plenty of Honey Buzzards, White Storks and just about something of everything else – I hope. Again, full details can be found on the Form (CLICK HERE).

Last Month’s Visit

I am reliably informed that last month’s EGM in Ronda went exceedingly well and was attended by over 40 members. Not only practical birding in the morning but a double session so that all could be accommodated to hear the latest report from Juan Martin on progress with our sponsored initiative down at La Covacha and the work and aims of the Salarte group in managing the La Covacha section of Trocadero Island in the Bay of Cadiz. Most appropriate as members will have noted that the island is our destination for the August ABS field meeting.

Future Field Visits

Following on from previous Monthly Mailings, the advanced information about next year’s Field Visit Programme for those who would like to make a note of dates for the diary is as below. The venues are sorted and, at the time of writing, all dates are correct. Your committee will be meeting later to confirm details of the Jaen visit and will then be published on the Forum as well as included in future issues of the Monthly Mailing.

September   3:
September 17:
Tarifa/ La Janda for raptor migration
Guadalhorce, Malaga
October     15:
October     29:
November 19:
Bonanza, Cadiz
Isla de las Palomas, Tarifa


To help members find some of these venues I have prepared a basic map of Andalucia showing the sites.

I have tried to include most of our Field Visit sites – these are an indication, not “spot” perfect
1.    Odiel Marshes 5.    Fuente de Piedra 9.    Sierra Loja
2.    Donana 6.    Ronda & Grazalema 10.    Hacienda la Laguna
3.    Tarifa 7.    Guadalhorce, Malaga 11.    Las Norias
4.    Osuna 8.    Ventas de Zafarraya 12.    Cabo de Gata


Do you have your own website and/or blog?

logoTo link your site(s) on the Andalucia Bird Society website simply contact me by email. Indeed, you could copy and paste the Society’s logo (as per on the left) to your site and use that as the link. In return, we ask that you also host our site on your website/blog. I am sure that there are many members interested to find out what is happening in other parts of the region or wider area.

Go to the Home Page on the Andalucia Bird Society website (, far left on top tool bar to “Links” then first on the dropdown list “ABS Members”.



To all our new members, and those others who have also recently joined the Society, we offer a very warm welcome and hope that you will thoroughly enjoy your time with us. absBut we cannot be complacent; we still need more members to let us expand and provide an even better Bird Society for you all.
Gift Membership is a means whereby we, or anyone else come to that, can pay for a friend(s) and/or family member(s) to join us in the Andalucia Bird Society. What about you?
(Important – please read) [Apologies if I include this with each Mailing as, I suspect, it will only be read when the time comes to renew an individual membership.]

Can I please remind members once more of the procedure when renewing your membership? The preferred option is by Direct Debit which usually works out more cost efficient for both the Society and individuals than any other option. For these members, about renewal date I will automatically send your new Membership Card(s).

For all other renewals I will send out your new card(s) and a reminder about a month before the renewal date in the trust that you will be renewing your membership. Please try not to put it aside as you have a good month to get the fee transferred to the bank. A month after the renewal date, that is about two months after the first letter including your new membership card, I will send, if necessary a reminder that you have forgotten to pay your fee to the Treasurer. This is usually as a result of forgetting to pay. Then, a further month later, I send out a “FINAL” reminder that the renewal fee has not been paid and reminding you that you will no longer receive your free quarterly magazine, Monthly Mailings and ability to join in the monthly visits of the Society, etc. Often, even at this late stage, it is a question of forgetting to transfer funds or waiting for the next meeting and then, due perhaps to circumstances beyond your control, not being able to attend and suddenly another month has passed by. It really would save the Society a lot of time and effort if most members used the Direct Debit facility.

For members living outside of Spain I can arrange transfer through a UK bank in sterling; this probably only benefits those living in the UK of whom we have a not inconsiderable membership. Please let me know personally if this would assist you as then you can use an Internet transfer in sterling at the current exchange rate, which is presently £26 and £22 for a couple and single respectively.

Good birding
Bob Wright
Membership Secretary




Again, please remember that if you are thinking of birding a little further away from home than usual during the coming months then do check out the accommodation of our Affiliated Members. Go to the website and click on “Links” and then “Accommodation”.

A list of our Affiliated Members who offer accommodation in the various provinces of Andalucia is shown below and can also be found on the website:

Cadiz Province
La Botica de Vejer
Casa McCallion, Sierra del Cabrito - midway between Algeciras and Tarifa
La Codorniz, Tarifa - on the main N340 just beyond Los Lances beach
Alojamientos Rurales Huerta Grande, Algeciras - midway between Algeciras and Tarifa
Casa Alcornocales, Alcalá de los Gazules (sleeps 8) – midway between Cadiz and Algeciras
Karen Dearnaley, Olvera / Jimena de la Frontera (Details to follow – check website)
Hotel La Torre, Tarifa – on N340 a couple of Kms beyond the petrol station

Cordoba Province
Casa Girasol, between Granada and Cordoba
Alpasin-Ecoturismo, Sierra Morena, Adamuz
Pasado Niña Margarita, Priego de Cordobo, Cordoba

Granada Province
Casa Rurales: Casa de la Luz in Bubión and Casa Launa in Pitres

Huelva Province
Casa Annette, Cortelazor La Real, Sierra Morena
Apartamentos Costaluz, Punta Umbria (Discounts to ABS members)

Malaga Province
Cortijo de las Piletas, Grazalema
Hotel Los Castaños, Cartajima, Serrania de Ronda
Molino del Santo, Ronda
Hotel Restaurant Al Lago, Zahara de la Sierra
Finca de Los Alamos de Parchite, Sierra de las Nieves (also known as Finca Parchite)
Casa Nuevas, Fuente de Piedra
Hotel Restaurant Bandolero, Genal Valley, Ronda
Hotel San Gabriel, Ronda
Villa Casa Sońana, near Ronda

Sevilla Province
Five Gates, Osuna
Hacienda Dos Olivos

Professional Tour Operators / Guides and Others

We now have a couple of Affiliated Members who are professional guides/tour operators and the wonderful reserve at Fuente de Piedra has also joined as an affiliated member:

Huelva Province
Laury Grenon www,
Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jaen Province
Jose Luis Ojeda Iberian Lynx Land

Malaga Province
The Laguna de Fuente Piedra
Mari-Carmen de la Torre

Calendar Meetings


  • June 16th - Penon de Zaframagon, Olvera
    Cadiz Province
  • July 21st - Montegu Harrier Meeting
    Cadiz Province
  • August 4th - Boat-trip, Tarifa
    Cadiz Province

We have available online many field meeting reports


Birding information

Practical info for the birder

ABS Article Library

To find articles by subject visit our Article library or click on one of the links below

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