Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easter in Spain - Day 7

With the best forecast for the remainder of the week we headed to Sierra Norte (de Sevilla) hopeful, but not exactly in expectation of a great day.

Our first stop was the visitor centre just outside of Constantina, which was helpfully shut, even quite notably after its published opening time :)

We went for a walk along an adjoining track and enjoyed listening to Nightingales and getting our first glimpses of the very flighty and seemingly very nervous Azure-winged Magpies.

When the lady finally opened the centre and consented to sell us a map she was about as grumpy as one can possibly be, an ideal face for local tourism then. We headed from Constantina to Cerro del Hierro, watching Black Kites circle the road, and seeing Azure-winged Magpies fleeing in all directions at the first sign of humans. As well as being a Paraje Natural, Sierra Norte enjoys some fine geological features as you can see from this picture:

We walked the partially open trail and then headed back:

enjoying very good views of a Sub-alpine Warbler:

Above, more Black Kites together with a lone Griffon Vulture. On the way back down to the car park a Crested Lark allowed us to get really quite close:

Off the car park there is a ruin of some buildings, on which we saw fighting Blue Rock Thrushes and a number of Stonechats, this female decided to have a closer look at us:

Then closer still:

She was very agitated, we suspected her nest was close so we left them be.

On the drive to Cazella via Alanis we watched Crag Martins zooming around.

We stopped for lunch by an old monument by a waterfall and enjoyed listening to battling Blackcaps:

with accompanying Nightingales:

Blackbirds and Robins:

In the picnic area we disturbed a Hoopoe feeding:

Though it quickly forgot about us. Next up we opted for the scenic drive from Alanis to El Real del la Jara on which we spotted Mistle Thrush, Red-legged Partridge:

and lots of Woodchat Shrikes. We stopped off at the one place recommended for soaring raptors, but of course it was raining so we just enjoyed the view:

New Species for the day:

Azure-winged Magpie

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