Elena, Bob and I spent a day out looking for one of my bogey species, the Ring Ouzel. It's a bird that had always eluded me so having seen reports from the Wainwrights of oodles of ouzels up in Sierra Loja feeding on hawthorn berries, off we went. It was a glorious day on the coast but in Granada province the temperature plummeted to below zero, Bob's car thermometer read -5° on his route, but strangely it got warmer as we ventured off-road up into the heights of the Sierra, and at the top it was a balmy +12°.
Sure enough there were Ring Ouzels in the hawthorn bushes, dozens of them so I can finally add the species to my life list. It would have been perfect if we could have just got close enough for a good photo opportunity, but no, the wary blighters wouldn't let us anywhere near them. Still, here are some distant record shots to prove that we did see them at least.
On the way up the mountain I spotted a little owl perched on a rock above the dirt road, so we backed up for a better look and contrary to normal it stayed and watched us with little more than mild annoyance at having its morning nap disturbed.
On the way down after giving up hope of getting close to any Ring Ouzels we passed a handsome Rock Bunting on a wire fence which conveniently stayed put as we pulled up, allowing some nice shots through the open car window.
Two surprise birds today. I don't associate Skylarks with this terrain, they are usually on open cultivated fields or grassy meadows, however there was no doubting the small flock we passed on a rocky hillside. The other surprise was the presence of Redwings in the hawthorn together with the Ring Ouzels. Nice to see thisand a first for me in Spain.