May 2015 – Everything but the Lynx

We all know Andujar is visited in search for the Iberian Lynx, the most endangered cat in the world. You can find it or not, but a birdwatcher will never go back home unsatisfied.
A group of members of the Andalucia Bird Society have met today at Restaurante Los Pinos, in Andujar, on the way to the Sierra de Andujar Natural Park. And they were really enthusiastic as the meeting time was 8:00 and we had to go on without breakfast because the bar was still closed by that time. Los Pinos is a good place for an early breakfast but May is the month for first communions in Spain and they seem to be very focused on them.

May2015Azure-winged-MagpieHaving said that, and looking to the positive side of life, we managed to have some good coffee in the bar at the other side of the road and saw the first Azure-winged Magpies, House Sparrows and Spotless Starlings of the day.

The group, led by Jose Luis Sánchez, departed to the first destination of the day: Rio Jandula, just downstream the Encinarejo dam, where we were received by the songs and flights of the Golden Oriole and the Cirl Bunting. With the songs of the hiding Cuckoos as a nice background, we also heard Short-toed Treecreepres, Crested and Great Tits and watched White Wagtails, Red-rumped Swallows, Bee-eaters, Chaffinches and Nuthatches.

We moved on just beside the dam. This time, we successfully tried to spot some other “hiders” like the Nightingale, Wren and the Reed Warbler, but missing the Cetti’s one. Barn Swallows, Rock Sparrows, Sardinian Warblers, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Grey Wagtails and Long-tailed Tits were present and some big raptors came out: Griffon Vultures, a Short-toed Eagle and… first flights of the Spanish Imperial Eagle, one of them carrying a snake!

We still visited another spot by the river a bit downstream with a Kingfisher, some more flights of the Spanish Imperial and Booted Eagle and the close song of another Golden Oriole which kept as very busy for a while. Some Corn Buntings sang to say good bye.

We were very welcomed at La Caracola for our picnic. They set up some tables for us in the shade in front of a water bowl where AW magpies, Great Tits and House Sparrows took good baths, and provided us with cold drinks (also a big sandwich for me!) and coffee.

Once we got our strengths back, we headed to La Lancha, near the Jandula reservoir. The road goes through wonderful Holm, Cork and Andalusian Oaks. The tarmac becomes a bumpy track surrounded by Fighting Bulls, Red and Fallow Deers, and big Mistle Thrushes. We saw the first (Common) Magpies of the day and Jose Luis spotted a Spanish Imperial Eagle sitting on a Holm Oak. Further down, at La Lancha, by the dam, we found several interesting birds on a row: Hawfinch, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Vulture, Crag Marting, Chough, Dartford Warbler, Rock Bunting and a great present from Jose Luis… the Eagle Owl!!

We walked over the dam towards a tunnel at the other side and got across a building with a nice colony of House Martins. Once in the tunnel, Jose Luis showed us several different species of bats resting in the holes of the ceiling, how amazing!!

Back to Los Pinos, Trevor, Ruth and I still saw a Little Owl (unfortunately chased out by an angry Blackbird), a Green Woodpecker and a Woodlark.

Some other birds seen or heard (sorry, Barbara, if I am missing something!!): Mallard, Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Common Swift, Hoopoe, Thekla Lark, Jay, Jackdaw, Raven, Goldfinch, Greenfinch.

Thank you very much, Jose Luis, for such a fabulous birding day!!!

Luis Alberto Rodriguez – ABS – Member

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