I had a request from a friend to show a visiting birdwatcher some of the local birding sites, so I picked Gerry (Bennett) up in Nerja for a look at the Charca de Suarez on Friday evening. As luck would have it it was closed for some obscure Saint's Day (Another one) so we fell back on plan B which was a look at the riverside picnic site close to Velez de Benaudalla.
Our usual approach to the Charca along "Turtle Dove Alley" revealed the resident Little Owl sat atop an old farm building where he had been seen quite often lately. He was very obliging and remained in place as we stopped to admire and take a few photos.
At the picnic site we were delighted to find a pair of Dippers nesting behind a waterfall which cascades down on the opposite bank. This is in fact a very picturesque riverside setting and while watching the Dippers we could hear Golden Orioles calling from the tall Eucalyptus trees and Nightingales singing in the bushes around us. I spotted this charming Melodious Warbler on a branch overhanging the river, Spotted Flycatchers made regular sorties after the abundant insect life, and both Pied and Grey Wagtails were busy foraging along the banks. It was an idyllic way to spend a warm Summer's evening and it more than made up for the disappointment of the Charca.
The following day we took Gerry and Mary-Ann Murphy with us up to El Torcal for the May Field trip of the ABS. Although it did not show up vary many birds it was well worth it for the wonderful views and the verdant Spring countryside, green and full of wild flowers following a previous week of heavy rainfall.
Melodious Warblers were extremely numerous up here but we also spotted Subalpine, Sardinian, Blackcap and a solitary Spectacled Warbler, photographed by one lucky member. There were many other species to be seen of course, Griffon Vulture, Kestrel, Honey Buzzard, Red Billed Chough, Nightingale, Rock, Corn and Cirl Bunting and Wren are a few that come to mind.
This place is a sanctuary for Spanish Ibex, I do not believe hunting is permitted, so there were many to be seen, all quite used to people wandering around and so easy to photograph. All in all it had been a very pleasant day spent in good company in a spectacular environment even if bird numbers had been a little disappointing.