With guests for the day Mark and Sarah Stubbs, we headed out this morning into Murcia and the Sierra Espuna's in search of new birds for our visitors and potentially my final West Pal year tick in 2010! First up was Mark and Sarah's main target for their day trip and my year tick - Alpine Accentor.
It wasn't long after leaving the car that I had managed to locate a flock of 7 of these superb little passerines, feeding close to the track we were walking. Delighted with our start we continued to bird the area for a further 2 hours recording of note; Thekla Lark (4), Woodlark (3), Rock Bunting (numerous), Firecrest (5+), Crested Tit (4), Short-toed Treecreeper (3), Ring Ousel (8+), Redwing (20+), Fieldfare (3) and many other forest species with rather localised populations here in Spain such as Chough, Coal Tit and Jay
Above image and below 5 images - Alpine Accentor. Click to enlarge
After our great morning and lunch in the Espuna's we headed down to the lower elevations in search of some steppe species and again our luck was in! Black-bellied Sandgrouse (5), Little Bustard (1) Lesser Short-toed Lark (numerous) and Calandra Lark (numerous) were all seen well; as well as the more excpected species such as Iberian Grey Shrike, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier and Little Owl.
Mark and Sarah, who are here visiting family for 2 weeks over the holiday period will be joining us again tomorrow in the hope of another successful day looking for the wetland species of the area, fingers crossed we will enjoy ourselves as much as we did today!