Thursday, 2 July 2015

Ronda Andalucia - Eagles, Orioles & Bee-eaters. local trails and wildlife 10/6/15

A day around the local tracks and trails of Ronda today our target species Bee-eater, Hoopoe and Golden Oriole. Peter our brilliant guide over the last 3 trips knows the area inside out and has discovered some wonderful remote areas on all our trips.  The area around Ronda is just stunning and we will never tire of the mountains, golden fields of wheat and the many Olive groves, simply breathtaking and almost 'spiritual'!
Our first stop was to observe a Short Toed Eagle perched on a rock. This is the closest I have ever seen this eagle and it was great to spend some time just watching it, a great start to our day. Wild flowers were in abundance along the road and track side giving a great pallete of colours to the scene as we drove along. Griffon Vultures were seen almost everywhere soaring in the sky.
Along one roadside and we were lucky to see some Bee-eaters coming and going back to their nest holes. In quite a few places along our journey we had some great views of Bee-eaters a favourite with us all. Hoopoes were seen flying from grove to grove but never settled for that photo! Nightingales and various Warblers were heard all along the river track we were following - beautiful! 
After a stop for lunch we journeyed on to Cueva del Gato an area with a huge cave full of Alpine Swifts. The river flows by so there is an area of Poplar trees and varied plants. It was in the Poplars that we saw our first ever Golden Orioles - wow what a stunner! 
Our tracks and trails led us on through the fantastic scenery and another stop by the river we had a great view of a Little Ringed Plover and a Terrapin. Further on we stopped to top up our water bottles from a natural spring and here we saw 3 new Dragonfly species.
Just as we were returning to our villa, we saw on top of a wire a Southern Grey Shrike. A great final bird to another wonderful day.

   Short Toed Eagle 

                   Short Toed Eagle - so majestic and great to watch for some time before it took to the skies

    Wild Delphinium species

                   Typical Bee-eater pose

   One of many Bee-eaters seen by the river side

                   View from the 'ridge' towards Zahara - mountains and sun bleached fields

   Hairstreak species - plenty of butterflies around the ridge area.

                   Golden Oriole - star of the show!

   Golden Oriole - female. These birds are incredibly hard to see in the trees

                    Little Ringed Plover

    Demoiselle - unknown species

    Dragonfly - unknown

                   Chaser? Unknown

   Southern Grey Shrike

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