December & January are quiet months for birding but it's always nice to get out in the countryside on crisp sunny days such as the one we experienced on the Axarquia Group's visit to Alhama de Granada and El Robledal. We all had excellent views of Water Rail at Alhama plus most of the woodland species at Robledal. I post just a couple of shots from the day of a Nuthatch at Robledal and a Water Rail from Alhama.
I intend to return to El Robledal soon to try to get a better shot of the many Jays that we spotted there. They were as usual very skittish, not allowing me to get close enough for a decent image, so I will try again soon.
I also post a shot of a Robin from Alhama on a crisp, frosty day as it seemed so appropriate to this festive period.
A recent visit to the Charca de Suarez with Bob, Derek and Barbara yielded a good view of this Bluethroat from the Laguna del Trebol hide....
..............and a group of Wigeon on Laguna del Lireo looked particularly stunning in the low sunlight.
More recently a trip out to the Osuna area with many other ABS birders was excellent with good sightings of many good birds. I missed out on the Great Bustards but enjoyed views of Peregrine Falcon, Red Kite, Common Buzzards, Marsh and Hen Harrier plus many other interesting species....
... not least the numerous Southern Grey Shrikes and Spanish Sparrows which were prolific along the dirt road by the railway line.
In the lagoon, which was full after the recent rains, we wondered what it was that spooked all the wading Flamingos, causing them to take flight all at once. Barbara and Gerry Laycock were the first to spot the cause, a Peregrine Falcon, the silhouette of which which can just be seen above the flying flamingos in the shot below.
Shortly afterwards the Peregrine came to rest on the bridge on which we were parked, so I took the car a bit closer and managed to get a reasonable photo before it spooked and took flight again.
This Red Kite was seen frequently quartering the damp fields along the track. At one point it passed low overhead so I jumped out of the car and grabbed the shot seen here.
Flamingos were not the only waders in the lagoon, a large group of White Storks were also enjoying the wet conditions. The dead one below did not appear to have any obvious sign of injury, there was some speculation that it may have been struck by a passing train but it I thought it was a bit far from the railway line for that, anyway it was a sad sight to see.
At our final stop in the area looking over the wall onto a small lake I managed to grab a quick shot of one of the flock of Common Waxbills that was flitting about in the reedbed.
On the way home we made a stop at Fuente de Piedra, expecting to see plenty of birds taking advantage of all the water. As it happens the Reserve was virtually empty, the birds have not arrived since the recent rains. I don't remember ever seeing so few birds here even in the driest of times.