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The Andalucia Bird Society  |  ABS Open forum  |  Calendar Events  |  Topic: August Field Visit « previous next »
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Bob Wright
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« on: July 29, 2010, 07:32:24 pm »

29 July 2010

Ventas de Zafarraya and Alhama de Granada

Peter has asked me to organise the next ABS Field Visit which will on the border of Malaga (Axarquia) and Granada province.  The morning will be mainly spent walking (or the non-walkers can easily bird-watch from the meeting pace or nearby) along the old railway track from Ventas de Zafarraya, through the tunnel (breeding Crag Martins and opposite the newly-discovered breeding cave of a small colony of Alpine Swifts) and on for, possibly, another 800 metres or so.  Easy walking along the former trackbed which has now been levelled.  We should guarantee Black Wheatear, Black Redstart, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting and Rock Sparrow amongst other resident and passage birds; possibly even overflying raptors such as Golden Eagle and Honey Buzzard which will, no doubt, be "buzzed" by a pair of Sparrowhawks!

There is a nearby bar/venta but I suggest that we press on to the pantaneta above Alhama de Granada.  From here we can check out the small lake and neighbouring spinney before walking the gorge (about 2 km) to the town of Alhama de Granada.  Given that if we are having a great morning we will be running late, a better alternative might be to go straight to Alhama for lunch and walk the gorge in the opposite direction.  With luck, some will want to drive rather than walk and, perhaps, the drivers could ferry the walkers back to their cars.  No doubt, the final decision will need to be taken on the day.

Hopefully we can make a start at 10 o'clock; that is birding not gathering for a half-hour chat, etc!  I shall be there early so why not aim for just after 9.30 am.  (Come really late, as on the following Monday, and you will be caught up in cycling's Tour of Spain!)

Date and meeting place:  SATURDAY, 28 August at the Mirador immediately above the old bridge that crosses the main road in Ventas de Zafarraya - right at the top of the hill in the pass itself.

Directions:
From the west:  Take A92 towards Antequera and then either (a) carry on towards Loja and take Exit 187 to Zafarray (A341) or, if you miss the turn, carry on to Exit 197 to Salar and then Alhama de Granada.  From here, follow signs to Velez Malaga (A402)
(b) Leave A92 onto A45 towards Malaga and come off at Casabermeja.  Follow directions to Velez Malaga (A356) and as soon as you cross Lake (Embalsa) La Vinuela turn right and follow directions to Alhama de Granada.  The A335 take you straight up the hill to the pass and you will see the old railway bridge as you meet the Malaga/Granada border.

From East:  Depending upon starting point, either (a)  follow A7 to Torre del Mar where you will see the exit for Alhama de Granada/Colmenar on the A335.  Stay on this road, bear right to Alhama (DO NOT CROSS LAKE VINUELA) and the road continues to venue as above.

(b) Take/join A92 towards Antequera/Seville and leave at Exit 211 towards Alhama de Granada.  You should be on the A402 which terminates at Ventas de Zafarraya and becomes the A335 at the pass where we are due to meet.

Meanwhile, I will try and organise suitable refreshment arrangements so an idea of participants (numbers) would be much appreciated.  Any comments , questions, etc can be posted on the Forum or sent direct to me at my email address.

Looking forward to a great day's birding in just about the centre of our region.


Best wishes

Bob Wright

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john
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« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2010, 03:35:57 pm »

I´d love to go, but will be in Alcala sans car on the date in question.  Have a good time everyone,

John
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jerry
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2010, 10:47:58 am »

hi
We hope to join you for the aug. field trip
Jerry and Barbara
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Franky no Hair
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2010, 05:40:39 pm »

Hi Bob count me in I have not been up that way should be good to see what is there. ;D
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« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2010, 03:54:59 pm »

Unless you hear from me to the contrary, I'll be there. Tony
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David
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2010, 06:58:55 am »

Hi Bob,

Juliet and I will be there - bright and early.

Kind regards
David
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David
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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2010, 03:18:40 pm »

I'm sorry but I can't be there tomorrow. I hope you all have a great time, happy birding and a tasty lunch.
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Franky no Hair
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2010, 08:09:55 pm »

Hi Bob
         Sorry I can not come tomorrow some work has come up.  Hope you have a good day.
                                             Have fun Frank
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« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2010, 01:20:12 am »

Sorry - will not be there tomorrow - hope you have a good day and see you soon!!
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Kevin
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« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2010, 08:53:08 am »

Hope everyone has a good day, expected to be there, but I am meeting with folk discussing the Tarifa Bird Fair, only found out late last night!!!! Sorry about that.

See you all soon I hope, maybe at the Tarifa Bird Fair in September (24, 25 and 26th)

Peter
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« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2010, 02:54:04 pm »

Ventas de Zafarraya and Alhama de Granada – Saturday 28th August 2010

Trip Report

The group met at the mirador above Ventas de Zafarraya at 9.30 for a prompt 10 o'clock start.  The weather was already hot and sunny with a clear blue sky.  Eight of us turned up, including Bob Wright who had organised the trip.  We enjoyed a day of beautiful scenery, good company, a fair number of birds and good food.

Whilst in the car park at the mirador we saw our first bird which was a perched, singing, Rock Sparrow followed by a single soaring Short-toed Eagle.  Also there was a flock of House Sparrow flying about.  From the car park we walked along the old railway track, through the tunnel, to the ruined railway cottage about a kilometre beyond and back.  Approaching the tunnel there were a large number of feeding House Martins overhead and a couple of Blue Rock Thrushes and Black Wheatears high on the rocky slopes.  On the lower slopes there were a number of feeding Goldfinches including many juveniles.  On the other side of the tunnel we saw more Goldfinch and the first of many Stonechats.  Overhead, was a pair of Short-toed Eagles and later two single, Booted Eagles.

As we walked along the railway track, taking advantage of the little shade that was available, we saw both Sardinian and Dartford Warblers among the scrub and bushes on the lower slopes.  We had also been hearing Bee-eaters but had not been able to spot them, but as we approached the ruined railway cottage we saw the arrival of a small flock of twenty plus Bee-eaters on the slopes above us.  Some obligingly perched on an overhead cable.  While we were watching the Bee-eaters we also saw more Sardinian Warbler and a single Melodious Warbler with its beautiful yellow breast.  There were also a couple of male Blackbirds spotted.  On our walk back, as we were approaching the tunnel, we heard the arrival of at least twenty Chough and we stopped and watched them flying around the craggy mountain-tops.  Also there were more feeding hirundines, on the slopes but this time mostly Crag Martin with the occasional Barn Swallow.  Just before re-entering the tunnel, a lone male Black Redstart stopped for a short rest on the side-wall.  On the other side of the tunnel we watched more Chough above us and then it was off to the former "estacion", now a bar, for a well-earned coffee.

After our coffee we set off on a country drive towards Alhama de Granada.  It was a very quiet drive through the wooded area with not a single Azure-winged magpie on our journey but a diversion to the Cortijo Pilas de Dedil on the track towards the Sierra Loja did produce a Common Magpie, a Thekla Lark and Black-eared Wheatear.

Finally, it was to the old part of Alhama de Granada to have a very good lunch and afterwards taking a look at the gorge that runs through this fascinating old town in Granada Province.  In the gorge we saw a large flock of resident Rock Doves plus a pair of Jackdaws, a good-sized flock of Spotless Starlings and at least two Red-rumped Swallows.  Also we saw two, Serin and another small flock of Goldfinch.

Our final destination was the pantaneta above the town of Alhama de Granada where we there a number of Coot, both adult and juvenile.  There was also a single Moorhen and Little Grebe and a few Pochard and three young Mallard.  Feeding over the water were large numbers of House Martins including many juveniles and Red-rumped Swallow plus a smaller number of Barn Swallow, at least one Sand Martin and a single Common Swift that popped in for a drink from the surface of the water.  A Spotted Flycatcher also perched close to the hide and demonstrated its ability to catch many flying insects.  A short walk in the small wood at the side of the pantaneta produced Wood Pigeon another Spotted Flycatcher and we could also hear Coal Tits in the tree-tops but could not see them.  As we were leaving the wood we also had close views of a Willow Warbler.  As we were leaving the pantaneta at around 5:30pm, on our way home, we saw a Collared Dove and a pair of White Wagtails on the dam and this gave us 39 species for the day.  A list is attached which shows all the birds we saw.

Finally I would like to thank Bob for organising a very enjoyable day.

David

* Ventas de Zafarraya and Alhama de Granada - Bird List.doc (40.5 kB - downloaded 433 times.)
« Last Edit: August 31, 2010, 02:55:53 pm by David » Logged

David
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