As well as these sightings Nightingales and Cettis Warblers were ringing out by the river, Golden Orioles were heard in the same trees as the L S Woodpecker and the demented cry of a Green Woodpecker was frequenty heard but not seen.
As well as the iconic Lynx we had several other target species here in the Sierra Andujar Natural Park. Otters can be seen below the dam on the Embalse del Encinerejo on the Jandula River. We did get good views of a pair swimming and I was fortunate enough to see one slide off the bank into the water, unfortunately I was too slow to capture this on camera but it was a nice wildlife sighting nonetheless.
The Sierra here is known for Iberian Imperial Eagle which in fact was about the first bird we saw on our arrival as there was one perched on an electricity pylon. We did see it several times thereafter flying around the area but the only photo I managed was on the pylon.
Our main bird target species was not an eagle but a diminutive woodpecker. The Lesser-spotted Woodpecker is a hard bird to get in Spain. It does breed in a few locations but it is scarce and notoriously difficult to see, not least because of it's small size and that it likes to nest and forage up high in very tall trees. After some searching we finally located a solitary bird and were lucky enough to hear it drumming as well as emitting it's unforgetable ringing call. I was quite pleased with these photographs in the circumstances, the bird was very high up and the light was not great, so getting anything worthwhile was difficult. This bird is a male as can be seen from the red spot on the crown.
As well as the L S Woodpecker there were other birds to be seen. I grabbed a quick shot of a Cirl Bunting, a Black Vulture passed overhead, numerous Jackdaws were nesting nearby and a pair of Kingfishers frequently flew up and down the river, often perching on rocks or low overhanging branches.
As well as being a comfortable country hotel conveniently located for wildlife watching in the Sierra Andujar, La Caracola also benefits from having a very nice photographic hide in the gardens complete with a bird bath and feeding station. It was great fun sitting inside watching and photographing the various bird species that visited to feed, drink and bathe.
The most numerous and conspicuous visitors were the Iberian Magpies, a wonderfully exotic looking bird that can often be quite wary of human presence, but not here. I soon discovered that I was "over-lensed" as Mick put it, I couldn't get such large birds to fit in the frame with my 500 mm lens so switched to an old 400mm f5.6 with more success. Even this proved to be too long for the closer birds so I was forced to pick out the ones on perches slightly further away from the hide. Even so I am quite pleased with the results and post some of the better quality images here.
Retired seafarer living in Frigiliana, a white village in Malaga Province in southern Spain. Married to Elena. Keen bird and wildlife watchers.
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