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More migration news

John Muddeman
06/03/2009 13:12:00

As the weather abates, so migration continues

Posted in: Birds | Andalusia, Madrid | Spanish Mainland, Southern Spain, Central Spain

9th March - The increasingly better weather means it's now warm, sunny and almost still outside. House Martins are now back in both Valdemorillo and Navalagamella, having arrived over the weekend.

Yesterday 8th, and the Río Dulce gorge near Pelegrino (Sigüenza) was a heat-trap out of the wind. The rocky craggy limstone outcrops top steep scrubby slopes, with a band of poplar-dominated riparian woodland bordering the small river at the bottom. Being literally between winter and spring, the bird life was rather limited, as expected, including plenty of Nuthatches, Long-tailed Tits (one already nest-building), Chaffinches, and Short-toed Treecreepers in the trees, a couple of Chiffchaff, a Firecrest and a Grey Wagtail by the river, a few Cirl and Rock Buntings on the slopes and Blue Rock Thrush, Crag Martins, Jackdaws, Red-billed Choughs and lots of Griffon Vultures on / over the crags. A pair of noisy Peregrines, a pair of Egyptian vultures and a single Black Vulture were all very nice to find as well.

But it was perhaps the butterflies which were most notable: plenty of male and a single female Brimstone, a couple of Commas and lots (15+) of Large Tortoiseshells were very active on the wing.

And all this despite not a single tree being in leaf yet!

7th March - an almost certain (migrant) Iberian Chiffchaff in front of home looked as intermediate between Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler as it could have been. With no calling though, it remains as a probable.

6th March - News from a friend in the Strait of Gibraltar notes how despite the high winds and rain (now disappearing), birds are still crossing in numbers, including hundreds of Yellow Wagtails, plus Woodchat Shrikes, etc.

Here, despite a keen N wind, things are looking far brighter than yesterday, and as the conditions improve, so there's been a movement of birds: mainly winter visitors returning N, with Chaffinches moving by the dozen, and smaller finches such as Linnets, too. My first Short-toed Eagle of the year also came past. This would make a fine sight with the heavily snow-capped Sierra de Guadarrama behind, though cloud was still to thick to see the extent of the snowfall this morning.

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