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Birding Cadiz Province A QUICK GUIDE TO 12 TOP SITES

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Cadiz is a very varied province with a diverse coastline, wetlands, farmlands, woodlands and mountains and a birdlife to match. Some specialities like Crested Coot, White-headed & Marbled Duck Little and White-rumped Swift are found in few other parts of Spain and scarcely, if at all, elsewhere in Europe. In spring and autumn the spectacle of huge numbers of migrating kites, vultures, eagles, etc. is rivalled by a only two or three sites in Europe and only a handful more worldwide. The dozen sites described here allow you to see most of the 'key' species to be found in the province. These notes are a condensed version of my 90 page guide to birding in Cadiz province area which is available on request. This guide is free to private users (although an appropriate donation to the RSPB or SEO, or similar, would be appreciated). For further information on birding in Cadiz province (and elsewhere in SW Spain) also see my web page/blog - http://birdingcadizprovince.weebly.com. Contact me via my web page (see above) as feedback always appreciated! Good birding – John Cantelo


1 – Alcala & Molinos Valley 2 – Southern Alcornocales 3 – Northern Alcornocales 4 – Laguna de Medina 5 – Sanlucar & Bonanza 6 – Lagunas de Espera & Lebrija

7 – Bahia de Cadiz (Cadiz Bay) 8 – Barbate Area 9 – Benalup & La Janda 10 – Bolonia Area 11 – Tarifa & Raptors 12 – Llanos de Libar & Grazalema


1 – Alcala and the Molinos Valley The village of Alcala de los Gazules stands on the edge of the Alcornocales Natural Park into the Molinos valley (a) cuts. In the spring and summer the fences and wires provide vantage points for Bee-eater, Woodchat Shrike, Serin, Corn Bunting, Crested Lark and Stonechat. Several pairs of Blackeared Wheatear breed. At the end of the road a sendero (b) heads into the hills. The scrub holds, Iberian Chiffchaff plus Bonelli's & Sardinian Warbler, Firecrest, etc. Open area have Cirl Bunting and rocky tops have Blue Rockthrush. In winter and autumn look out for Spanish Grey Shrike and Siskin here. Large numbers of Griffon Vultures spiral out of the mountains along the valley where other raptors present include Peregrine, Booted & Short-toed Eagle. Both Egyptian Vulture and Bonelli's Eagle are regular. The valley also has Little, Tawny, Barn and. Less often, Eagle Owl. The nearby village of Alcala (c) has one of the largest Lesser Kestrel colonies in the area and, in early spring c100 birds can be seen hawking over the pueblo. Walk along Calle Real and up to the Church at the top of the village to get good views of this iconic species. Below the village a sendero follows the river – look for Golden Oriole here. Another good place for a walk is the old track to Paterna (d) which is off the service road north of the village. To the south (f) look for Red-rumped Swallow, Melodious and occasionally Olivaceous Warbler. On the far side of the A381 the habitat around the ermita (e) holds many of the birds noted in the Molinos valley. Embalse de Barbate can be viewed from several points; (g) where two senderos run down to the water, (h) Lomo del Judio & at the dam or 'presa' (I). The birds present here depends on the season and water level, but look out for Spoonbill, Little Egret, Black-winged Stilt, Greenshank, etc. The scrub and tamarisk at (g) has Olivaceous Warbler, and the pines here have breeding White Stork and Cattle Egret. This is also a good point to scan for Osprey (part of an re-introduction scheme). Lomo del Judio is worth visiting to see the remains a Roman road, but also has breeding Eagle Owl. The area around the dam (i) can be good for watching migrant raptors in addition to the 'expected' species look out for Spanish Imperial Eagle and Black-winged Kite. It's often worth exploring further along this road not only for raptors but also Tawny Pipit and Red-rumped Swallow (which nests beneath bridges here). In winter or early spring distant rice fields here may have Crane. Roughly 12km along the service road a cycle route - Carrel Picacho-Piguera – allows access to the woodlands which again hold the species noted under (b) but also offers a chance of Iberian Green Woodpecker.


2 – Southern Alcornocales The lightly used service road alongside the A381 offers the opportunity to pull off and look for birds, pretty much at will, denied those travelling on the motorway. Woodchat Shrike, Bee-eaters, a wide range of raptors can easily be seen from the car. The more active might like to try some of the excellent footpaths (senderos) along this route: a) - Sendero La Teja – take exit 66 (not on map) - The footpath is on the left c1.7 km to the south of the exit. It has a good mix of woodland and open land with views of the Alcornocales. Iberian Green Woodpecker, a scarce species in the southern part of the Alcornocales occurs here also Iberian Chiffchaff, Rock Bunting etc. Bonelli's Eagle occasional. This path links with a long distance cycle route. b) - Sendero El Palancar – take exit 70 - this is circular route of c7 km is 2km south of this exit (by the Charco Redondo reservoir). It snakes through woodland and open land plus a couple of ancient cave shelters – good for all the species noted at other sites, but is probably better for passing raptors. c) - Sendero de Valdeinfierno – take exit 73 - A gem of the walk (5km) with wheelchair accessible footpath is on the right c1.5km from the exit. Either park on the track just off the service road or drive c1km along the track to the wheelchair accessible walk. The walk explores a narrow shady valley (= ‘canuto’). The car park just off the road usually has Cirl Bunting and often Blackeared Wheatear. The woodland has Crested Tit, Iberian Chiffchaff, etc. An evening visit could conceivably produce Eagle & Scops Owl. d) Area Recreativa Montera del Torero. A little to the south of Valdeinfierno there’s a convenient wooded picnic site for Bonelli's Warbler, Iberian Chiffchaff, etc. e) Ojen Valley – take exit 73 or 77 for a classic drive across to Facinas with a couple of pleasant senderos en route. Superb for raptors (all expected species possible) and a site for Whiterumped Swift, but track, despite recent repairs, has quickly degenerated and needs care. The old venta en route with earthen floors and caldron heated by wood give a taste of 'old Spain'. f) Los Barrios Rubbish tip – exit 80 for Los Barrios then the CA 9207 bearing left at the Tjunction, Incredibly smelly, sometimes nauseaously so, this tip attracts huge numbers of raptors (esp. Black Kite), White Storks, Cattle Egrets, etc. and, in autumn, often has Ruppell's Vulture


3 – Northern Alcornocales The sandstone mountians of the Alcornocales here are less rugged than those south of the A 381, but no less well clothed in cork oaks. Roads are narrow with few places to park. Site worth a stop include:a) Picacho picnic site – the open woods have Serin, Shorttoed Treecreeper, Bonelli's Warbler, Nuthatch, etc. If wet, the small pool along short signposted walk opposite the car park has Grey Wagtail. To do the longer climb up to Picacho and back (c2 hrs) needs permission; the peak has had Alpine Accentor in winter. b) San Jose turning – a decent viewpoint stands at the junction of the CA 2304 and a minor road to San Jose del Vallee. This site can be good for a variety of raptors. There are few other places to pull off along this route, but the venta at the crossroads has excellent coffee and serves hearty food. c) La Sauceda – take the CA 8201 (C 3331 in Malaga province) towards Jimena and pull off at the very sharp bend (c4.5 km after the venta). Several paths explore the woodland here (species as noted for (a), but to explore the peak you need permission from the Park Visitors' Centre. Red-rumped Swallow nest below the bridge – White-rumped Swift sometimes present. d) Area Recreativa Los Acebuches – a small picnic site, offering similar fare to (a) and (b) makes a pleasant stop en route to Jimena. Starting point for several senderos. e) Jimena. This attractive village has Lesser Kestrel and Blue Rockthrush around the castle (sometimes also White-rumped Swift). Several senderos explore the valley here and a track heads into the hills to the south-west. Check Tourist Information for maps etc. f) Marchinella – this hamlet is so small it can easily be missed – look out for a white & purple sign opposite a small venta. Follow the track through the village to a large cactus hedge – Rufous Bushchat are possible here. If you're out of luck continue until you reach the top of a low hill and pull off. The road continues, but is in an extremely dangerous condition (2011) so check the rocky stream (dry in summer) to the left for Rufous Bushchat. Tawny Pipits are common here and Spanish Sparrow occurs.


4 – Laguna de Medina Laguna de Medina is now well signposted off the A 381 just south of Jerez. The two main targets here are Whiteheaded Duck & Crested Coot. However, in recent years White-headed Duck numbers have declined and Crested Coot numbers fluctuate. In some years very few are present and, even in better years, only 20-25 birds (Common Coot can be numerous). A good idea of the size of the lake can be gained from the viewpoint above the small white building (a). Crested Coot can be seen in the near corner from here, but the views are very distant and you will need a high powered 'scope (and probably some familiarity with the species). A second viewpoint (b) has recently been opened to the public which may have some potential for this species. In recent years, though, the best two areas have been amongst the reeds at the end of the second boardwalk (c) or from the hide (d). Wildfowl usually include Red-crested Pochard and, less often, Ferruginous Duck. Great-crested and Blacknecked Grebe breed. If the water level is low the site may attract waders (Black-winged Stilt, Collared Pratincole, etc). Fan-tailed Warbler, Stonechat and Corn Bunting are common. Stone-curlew also occur. The tamarisks beside the boardwalk (c) hold Olivaceous Warblers, the scrub has Cetti's and Melodious Warblers Blackcap and Nightingale whilst the reeds are home to Great Reed Warbler. Less easily seen in the reeds are Purple Heron, Little Bittern, Purple Swamphen, etc. Check egrets for Great White Egret which is a regular visitor (esp. in winter/passage). During migration periods Whiskered, Black and, sometimes White-winged Black Terns may be present. The lakeside footpath (sendero) now extends to a third boardwalk (e) which overlooks a marshy area (Savi’s here in 2009). This area, which is sometimes good for raptors, can also be reached by car (f) via the service road. Penduline Tit present in winter. Black-winged Kite now regular, but Rufuous Bush Chat now seems only to be a migrant here as there are few recent reports in the breeding season. Interesting dragonflies include the attractive Violet Dropwing and Northern Banded Groundling – both recent colonists from Africa.


5 – Sanlucar Area NOTE - The best way to approach this area is to take the 'ring road' road towards Trebujena, then take the turning back towards Sanlucar, but then immediately take a minor road NE [past (a)] and finally NW into Algaida. At the T-junction in the village go left for (b & c) & and right for (d, e, f & g); this route avoids the traffic & hassle of Sanlucar plus you can start birding sooner! a) - ‘Martin Miguel’ pools – a good quick stop en route for Collared Pratincoles, terns & gulls. b) - Bonanza Salt Pans – well sign posted off the Bonanza/Algaida road – now open access - follow the causeway across the saltpans. Waders, Flamingo, Slender-billed Gull, terns (inc. Caspian) waders, raptors (inc. Red Kite), Black Stork (winter & passage). A very rough track beside the river is good for Spectacled Warbler, both ‘short-toed’ larks. Look for Spanish Imperial Eagle over Coto. c) - ‘Bonanza Pools’ – take the Camino Truncosa’ (opposite a bus stop & near a large white industrial building). This is the best site for good views of White-headed Duck & Little Bittern. d) - Laguna Tarelo & Pinar de Algaida - the laguna is a well known White-headed Duck site & heronry - view from path through woods or off the last road on the left before the woods (Camino ‘N’). Squacco, Night Heron etc & Spoonbill. Look for elusive Azure-winged Magpie in these woodlands (only site in province); large colony of Black Kites. e) – Los Portugueses salt pans – track swings left along river; track & saltings are good for larks esp. Lesser and ‘Greater’ Short-toed; with Pin-tailed Sandgrouse possible with luck. Track (4x4 only)/footpath links with (b). f) – Codo de la Esparraguera these pools c50m along and to the north of this road is a reliable site for Marbled Duck when water level is low good this is a good for waders, Spoonbill, Flamingo, etc. g) – Guadalquivir road – check along a good metalled road towards Tebujena for pratincoles, Gullbilled Tern, harriers, kites, larks, Tawny Pipit, etc. Bluethroat winter in wet ditches here. h – Trebujena Marshes - tracks off main Sanlucar-Trebujena A471 worth exploring for waders, Glossy Ibis, larks &, with luck, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse. i - Mesa de Asta Marsh – park on track to east of A 2000 Jerez road & walk along track then take footpath towards a small marsh. This site often holds birds (e.g. Lapwing, godwits) that can be elusive elsewhere (esp in dry conditions). A large flocks of of Whiskered & Gull-billed Terns may be present. Good area for Collared Pratincoles, Montagu's Harrier, Red-rumped Swallow, etc Gull-billed Terns often fly back and forth across this area giving good photographic opportunities. Further south a large area of poor quality, often flooded farmland since it looks ideal for Pin-tailed Sandgrouse …...


6 - Lagunas de Espera & Lebrija These lagunas are c14-16 km north of Arcos de la Frontera to the NW of Espera. Espera is the better known site, but the Lagunas de Lebrija attract the same species and, being closer to a metalled road, are easier to reach. Head for Espera taking the minor road (CA 6100) towards Cabezas San Juan at the northern edge of the village and then after just over 1 km take the signposted track to the reserve. This track is currently (2012) in poor condition so take care. The fields here are often good for larks (inc. Calandra) and, in winter, raptors (inc. juv. Bonelli's and sometimes Spanish Imperial Eagle). After c5 km a small white building marks the location of Laguna Hondilla (a) . This laguna is very overgrown but still holds Blacknecked Grebe and possibly Crested Coot (present 2006). About 500m beyond Laguna Hondilla a footpath runs alongside Laguna Salada towards Laguna Dulce. Laguna Salada may have White-headed Duck, Red-crested Pochard, etc., but views are distant. Although small, Laguna Dulce is arguably the best site in the province for Crested Coot - look from a small elevated watchpoint to the right of the path. Carefully scrutinise the corner to your near left and the back of the laguna. They can be picked up with binoculars if you know the species, but a good 'scope is recommended. Continue along the track to reach the SE 6201. By turning north here you reach the Laguna de Pilon (d) is of usually least interest and most liable to dry out (although Little Ringed Plover may be present). The other lagunas are signposted down a rough, but easily drivable track which is a continuation of that running to the Lagunas de Espera. However, these lagunas iare next to the track so no walking is needed. The first one along the track is Laguna de la Galiana (e) which, when not too shallow, may hold a range of birds. (A third laguna, Laguna de la Pena, is just visible from the track, but seems inaccessible). However, although viewing can be obscured by reeds and tamarisks, Laguna de Cigarrera (f) is usually excellent. It holds both White-headed Duck and Crested Coot with the latter sometimes viewable at close range (unlike other sites a scope may not be necessary to pick out this species). The dense tamarisks has a good population of Olivaceous Warbler and often attracts roosting Spanish Sparrow. Both Purple and Squacco Heron occur and Black-winged Kite also present in this area. Since it is only a short distance from a good road and involves no walking, this is a better option than Lagunas de Espera for those pushed for time, particularly if arriving from the NIV or Gibalbin. A fifth lake, Laguna de Taraje (g), not to be confused with another laguna of the same name near Puerto Real, is strictly private and too far from the road to be viewable.


7 – Bahia de Cadiz

(Cadiz Bay) This huge (10,500 hectares) complex of salinas, creeks and mudflats represents a rare habitat in Spain and is consequently greatly celebrated by Spanish birdwatchers. In winter totals of waterfowl, waders, gulls, terns etc. may reach 140,000 birds and may include Great White Egret (30-35), Black Stork (20-30), Flamingo (c5,000), Spoonbill (300+), Osprey (c30), Stone-curlew (c300), Slender-billed Gull (250+ in good years), Audouin’s Gull (70+ in good years), Mediterranean Gull (<450) and Caspian Tern (c120) plus more familiar species like Dunlin (<30,000), both godwits (c2-3,000 of each), Curlew (<1,000), Grey Plover (c3,000), Ringed Plover (c6,000), Redshank (c3,000) plus smaller numbers of Whimbrel, Greenshank, Curlew Sandpiper and Knot. Resident Black-winged Stilt, Avocet and Kentish Plover are present in their thousands. (Note - figures in brackets show the approx. wintering population taken from "Guia de Aves acuaticas y marimas del Parque Natural Bahia de Cadiz”). However, other sites (notably Sanlucar-Bonanza) offer many of the same birds (albeit in smaller numbers), closer views and some specialities less easy to find in Cadiz Bay. The size of this area can be daunting, but leaflets on the area’s footpaths or senderos (see - http://adsise.com/) may help.

a) – Salinas de Santa Maria – although less attractive than other sites, these salinas are only 15 mins from Laguna de Medina (take El Portal road past cement works then go right at crossroads). The nearby tip has had Eagle Owl in the past, but the main interest are waders, gulls, etc (see above) and short-toed larks (both species). …. b) - Dehesa de las Yeguas - turn off at the Area Recreativa to explore the woods and a track running out into the marshes. Red-necked Nightjar may be found in the woods. c) - Marismas de los Toruños & Pinar de La Algaida – an abandoned building project has left a track along the spine of the Toruños peninsula and a footbridge links to 'mainland'. An information centre, a good beach, a noddy train along the old track and cycle hire make this a possible option for a birder with a family. . d) - Tres Amigos Salinas are well signposted off the road at the western edge of San Fernando to Punta del Boqueron a good variety of waders (Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Kentish Plover, godwits, etc), gulls (inc. Slender-billed and Audouin’s), Flamingo, Spoonbill, etc. e) - Punta del Boqueron – good visitors' centre & display. The base of the spit can be good for migrants, watch see from tip in morning (Balearic & Cory's Shearwater, terns etc) or scan mudflats in afternoon. . f) – Old Sancti Petri – good views over mudflats in morning;nearby salinas also good for waders. g) – Cadiz – morning seawatching during onshore winds can be good, but access to the western most spot (on a thin spit) is restricted, but you can seawatch from the city walls.


8 - Barbate & Cabo de Trafalgar The Barbate river forms a much smaller estuary than that which encircles Cadiz so in some ways is a more easily explored option than that site for wading birds. Take the A314 south from below Vejer de la Frontera and pull off on the left after c2km. Here a sendero loops round the whole area, but fortunately the most interesting habitat in the 'upper marshes' is a series of small pools (a) within 1 km of the road. Look here for Glossy Ibis, Purple Swamphen, Black-winged Stilts and sandpipers. Continuing towards Barbate you can pick up the path again through woods just beyond a garage (b). Head towards Zahara on the A2231 pulling off on the left and head back to explore the river mouth and lower marshes (c) or press on to do so from (d) for gulls (Auduoin's & Mediterranean often present), terns (Caspian passage & winter) and wading birds (Kentish Plover, Spoonbill, etc). Further along this road (e) look for feeding Bald Ibis on the wide grasslands to the right. Part of an introduction scheme this is a highly endangered species â&#x20AC;&#x201C; unlike the similar Glossy Ibis their legs do not project in flight. A new museum near (b) on an industrial estate as you enter the town) celebrates the old tuna fishery and runs regular educational trips out on an old tuna fishing boat (see www.atunalmadraba.com). Although not as good as whale watching trips out of Tarifa these promise sightings of Gannet, skuas, Balearic & Cory's Shearwater The A2233 heads west from Barbate through pine woods towards Canos de Meca. Several senderos cut through these woods; (g) takes you to an old tower over looking the cliffs (now without the unique egret colony that was once here) and another (h) is superb for orchids in Feb./March. Pass through Canos de Meca and turn left for Trafalgar. It was once possible to park for free along this road, but you now have to use a large car park at the turning. From here it's c1 km to the cape. In mornings the light is good for seawatching here â&#x20AC;&#x201C; expect all the species noted above plus wind blown raptors or storks. 'Visible migration' in autumn here can be superb with swallows, martins, larks, finches etc passing within touching distance (but note presence of bird trappers in dune/scrub to the north). A leaflet on the area is down loadable from http://adise.com)


9 – Benalup Area Arriving via the A 2228 (from Alcala & the A 381) stop just before Benalup near the bridge on a sharp bend for Melodious Warbler and Spanish Sparrow. The road zig-zags just before you drive up the hill into the village and a track turns off to the right. This part of the Corredor Verde de Dos Bahias (a), which runs parallel to the A 2225, is closed to 'unauthorised vehicles, but access can be gained via tracks in Los Badalejos, San Jose de Malcocinado, opposite a white building along the A 2225 and past the football stadium in Benalup. The first two tracks are particularly good for Little Bustard in the afternoon whilst the third is excellent in the mornings. The area is also good for Stone-Curlew, Black-winged Kite, Montagu's Harrier, Hoopoe, etc. Although better approached from Cantarranas, tracks south of the A 2225 take you through old olive groves (b) which hold Red-necked Nightjar (esp. near crossroads). This area also has Eagle Owl (although very hard to see) and the farmland beyond has all the species noted for the Corredor Verde (and is a very reliable site for Black-winged Kite). Further east of Benalup on the A 2226 there's a large 'area recreativa' (c) and although the reservoir here can be dull, it's worth visiting for the nearby rock paintings in the hills above (Tajo de las Figuras) The minor road to Embalse Barbate can be good for raptors. Nearer Benalup a concrete track heads south towards La Janda – this track is badly cratered so take care! After c5km you reach a bridge (below which Red-rumped Swallow often breed) and nearby marshy areas (d) – check here for Purple Swamphen and, in winter, Bluethroat. From here you have a choice; straight on along the caňada real (royal droveway) towards Facinas (c18 km) or turn right uphill towards the old finca and the rice paddies beyond. The old caňada (e) was in ruinous condition and a difficult drive even in summer, but has recently (2012) been repaired. It is excellent for Calandra Lark, Black-winged Kite, Bee-eaters, raptors (inc. Black-winged Kite, Bonelli's Eagle, Spanish Imperial Eagle) and possibly Little Bustard. The right-hand track (initially deceptively well metalled) takes you along a ridge and then to the wetter areas. The ridge esp. near the old finca (f) can be a good place to scan for raptors. Drop down to the weir and follow the track beside a willow choked ditch (g); in spring/summer there's an active egret colony (Cattle & Little) here affording got photographic opportunities. At the T-junction follow the track left (h) or right (i) or left depending on the current location of the wetter areas. Crane winter here (view from higher land near the Zahara turning) as do many White, and a few Black, Stork. Wet areas excellent for waders (sandpipers, Dunlins, 'shanks, etc), Spoonbill and herons (all species possible here during passage). This is a staging area for huge numbers of raptors during migration – and hundreds of Black Kites, Griffon Vultures, many Shorttoed & Booted Eagles, Montagu's Harriers can be seen plus rarities (Eleonora's & Lanner Falcon, Long-legged Buzzard, etc).


10 – Bolonia The Bolonia area has a good mix of birds since it has a good range of habitats including shoreline, woodland, old olive groves, scrub, poor agricultural land, rocky crags. Not only that, but it is also on a migration route for raptors, a well known site for both Little and White-rumped Swift and Rufous Bushchat. Exploring this area on foot is made easier by a number of good footpaths described on an excellent new leaflet (see http://adsise.com/).The olive scrub along the road which sometimes holds Rufous Bushchat. A track up to the wind generators opposite the Venta de Facinas (a) is one such location. Alternatively you can look at the bushes near Hotel San Juan de la Rivera (b) – an excellent stop for good reasonably priced tapas. The top the hill is “Puerto de Bolonia” (c) where there’s an ‘official’ raptor watchpoint. In stronger easterly winds, there can be a good passage of raptors (Black Kite, Booted & Short-toed Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Griffon Vulture, etc.) and storks. Swifts (Common, Pallid & Alpine) and hirundines also hawk along this ridge. The track running NW along the ridge is worth exploring – for birds such as Tawny Pipit, Black-eared Wheatear and Rufous Bushchat . Two roads run SE from here – one to Betis and another to El Chaparral. These allow access, via several footpaths (i) to the slopes of the crags (San Bartolome 420+m). The slopes of this rocky hill look well worth a careful exploration. Storks and raptors tend to drift along this ridge and the woods can hold migrants – once again keep a sharp eye open for Rufous Bushchat . A variety of fast food outlets and bars at Bolonia allow you to watch raptor migration or seabird passage (Cory’s and Balearic Shearwaters, Gannets, etc) in comfort (d). Entry into the Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia (e) is free and the grounds have obliging Black-eared Wheatear, Sardinian Warbler and Stonechat. Continuing along the road up towards the sierra you pass a track on your right which links to a footpath (see map) which probably deserves further investigation. The footpath (just short of the sharp bend) down to Punta Carmarinal (f) can be a pleasant diversion. From the lighthouse you may pick up Audouin’s Gull, Cory’s & Balearic Shearwater). Continuing up the road to the rocky peaks of the Sierra de la Plata you have superb views across to Africa and a chance of all 5 species of European swift. Pull off into a small lay-by opposite a craggy cliff face pierced by a small cave (g). This is a classic site for White-rumped Swift and, in recent years, Little Swift although you need a good deal of luck to see them here. Also present are Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture . Crag Martin, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting, Golden Oriole etc. Atlanterra can also be good for White-rumped Swift – continue along the coast through Zahara de Los Atunes to a small car park (h) on the left (about 250m after the last large hotel complex in Atlanterra). The swifts can be seen from here, but for better views climb up the steep road past palatial holiday homes until you overlook a rocky crag and have panoramic views over Zahara.


11 - Raptor passage & Tarifa Area See table below for migrants and peak periods. Watching the spring/autumn passage of raptors can be done anywhere along this coast, but the best locations are off the N340. Most of these sites are accessible only from one direction on this busy road. The table below gives some idea of the species to expect here. Ruppell's Vulture regular in autumn [esp. b) & i)]. a) Puntas Carnero & Secreta (esp. spring) b) El Algarrabo (Km 99) approach

approach from east or if driving from west pull off at nearby Marchenilla. c) Huerte Grande (km 95) –approach from east or west. Good sendero to coast & excellent interpretive centre. d) El Bujeo (Km 95) – approach from the east. Good walks into the hills. e) El Carton – this up market estate has superb views over the straits & senderos run into the hills from here. f) Mirador de Estrecho – classic tourist stop (from the east), but good for birds too! g) Cabrito (Km 90.7) – approach from east – marred by surrounding wind farm, but track into hills. h) Guadalmesi (Km 89.5) – approach from east. Park on road and take track to 'observatario' for stunning views. i) Cazalla (Km 87) - 'temporary' watchpoint approached from west. (A purpose built centre approached from east but currently closed). THE classic watchpoint.

j) Trafico (Km 85) – approach from west. An excellent site with new centre being built nearby further along the track. k) Tarifa town – take whale watching trips here – Cory's Shearwater etc. l) Playa de los Lances – pull off opposite the CEPSA petrol station or first right as you enter Tarifa from the west. Raptor migration plus Short-toed Lark Tawny Pipit, waders, Auduoin's Gull and THE site for rare migrant Lesser Crested Tern m) Santuario de la Luz – migrants etc. Check here for Rufous Bushchat.


12 – Llanos de Libar & Grazalema An area of limestone hills, the Grazalema Natural Park, has a very different character from the Alcornocales which is reflected in its flora & fauna. It is home to several pairs of Golden Eagle , a good density of Bonelli's Eagle and the occasional Black Vulture. Warblers include Subalpine, Spectacled, Orphean, Dartford, etc and it is home to both rockthrush. It has good populations of Rock Sparrow and Black Wheatear. Alpine Accentor winter and Wallcreeper are occasional. a) Llanos de Libar is without doubt the best single destination. Go through Montejaque heading north taking the last road on the left (Av de Europa) back into the village and then turn sharp right up an incline along a rough track. This heads c17 km into the mountains. Check the crags above the village (near a white building) for Bonelli's Eagle. Continue to a small pool beside the track overlooking a stony field – a good place for Common & Blue Rockthush. Further along a rocky 'saddle' has Black Redstart, Black & Black-eared Wheatear, Rock Sparrow and, in winter, Alpine Accentors. Cross the cattle grid here and continue up the slope to look for Orphean & Subalpine Wablers. After dropping down into farmland continue through oak woodland (Bonelli's Warbler, Redstart, etc.) to an open area around the 'Refugio de Libar' (Chough, Iberian Grey Shrike). b) Montejaque – tracks and senderos near the village can also be good for raptors & Black Wheatear. c) Cueva del Gato – good for Alpine Swift & Crag Martin d) Cueva de la Pileta - a non-birding 'must stop' for neolithic cave paintings e) Cortes de la Frontera – several footpaths climb into the hills here. One (at far side of village behind school) heads to towards Llanos de Libar (raptors, Orphean Warbler, etc.) f) Benaocaz area - the CA 9124 climbs steeply up from Ubrique through bare rocky habitats – check where you can pull off for Black & Black-eared Wheatears, Thekla Lark, warblers, etc g) Mirador de Cintillo - Firecrest, Rock Bunting, Black Wheatear & raptors h) Grazalema – White-rumped Swift possible over village; surrounding fields have Black Wheatear. Check around junction of A 372/CA 9124 for Iberian Grey Shrike & Iberian Green Woodpecker i) Puerto de las Palomas - Rock Bunting &, in winter, Alpine Accentor j) Sendero to El Torreon – at 1654m the climb up to El Torreon is a stiff one, but Alpine Accentors present in winter/spring/autumn check for warblers. The many senderos in Grazalema are best tackled with a good map, one of several guidebooks and, not least, appropriate equipment. k) Benamahoma – various senderos from here head through woodland (listen for Golden Oriole) and into the park, but note that permission is needed from the park authorities for several of these. l) Villaluenga del Rosario – check the track NE of the village for Thekla Lark, Iberian Grey Shrike, etc.


Notes on Selected Species Note – phenology table given for summer/winter visitors Bald Ibis - Introduced species. Look along the coast south of Barbate (8). Flamingo - Unmissable on the shallow saline lagoons of the area (5,7 & 8). Marbled Teal - A scarce and often elusive species; best site Codo de la Esparraguera (5) White-headed Duck - See Lagunas de Espera, Laguna de Medina, Lagunas de Puerto Real and Laguna de Tarelo, ‘Bonanza Pools’ and less often elsewhere (4, 5 & 6). Black-winged Kite – Now widespread resident - La Janda one of the best sites (4, 6 & 9). Rüppell’s Vulture - Annual rarity Aug – Sept; see Los Barrios tip & Med. coast (2 & 11). Long-legged Buzzard – African race cirtensis rare but regular & has bred. Spanish Imperial Eagle Now breeding again in the area following a successful reintroduction programme. See Embalse de Barbate and towards La Janda (1 & 9). Bonelli's Eagle Grazalema a stronghold - rarely missed them in the Llanos de Libar (12). Lesser Kestrel – Breeds in villages; common and widespread, but esp. Alcalá de los Gazules JAN

FEB

MARCH 

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT 

OCT

NOV

DEC

Barbary Partridge - Population on Gibraltar now very scarce. Crested Coot - Most regular site now Lagunas de Espera; scarce Lagunas de Medina (4 & 6). Great Bustard - extinct in the province – the nearest population now around Osuna (Seville). Little Bustard – elusive small population around Benalup, on La Janda (9); also present in the area near Osuna (Seville). Audouin's Gull - seen almost anywhere along the coast (e.g. Playa de los Lances, Cabo de Trafalgar and Tres Amigos Salt pans – 5, 7 & 8). Slender-billed Gull Bonanza salt pans is usually the best spot for this species (5). Pin-tailed Sandgrouse Very elusive - best looked for Feb/March. Found along the Guadalquivir, Trebujena marshes, Casablanca and around Lebrija (5). Black-bellied Sandgrouse - nearest site is around Osuna (Seville) Little Swift - A new colonist – reported from Malaga, Algeciras, the mouth of the Guadalquivir Sierra de la Plata and sierras beyond Seville. Resident species. White-rumped Swift - Originally colonised Sierra de la Plata, but now thinly spread in Alcornocales and Grazalema (3, 10 & 12). JAN

FEB

MARCH

APRIL ?

MAY 

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT 

OCT

NOV

DEC

Iberian Green Woodpecker A good bet for a ‘split’ - common in Grazalema (2). Lesser Short-toed Lark - Resident – look in salt marshes along the Guadalquivir (5 & 7). Rufous Bushchat A declining species with local strong holds around Los PalaciosMarchena (Seville), Jimena (3) and along the Tarifa-Bolonia coast (10). JAN

FEB

MARCH

APRIL

MAY 

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT 

OCT

NOV

DEC

Black Wheatear A declining resident; Grazalema (12) is the best area to look for the species. Olivaceous Warbler - Common in tamarisk scrub Laguna de Cigarrera, Laguna de Medina and the river valley near Montejaque esp. below Cueva del Gato (4, 6 & 12) JAN

FEB

MARCH

APRIL

MAY 

JUNE

JULY

AUG 

SEPT 

OCT

NOV

DEC

Orphean Warbler Found on open hillsides dotted with olive trees esp. Llanos de Libar (12). JAN

FEB

MARCH

APRIL

MAY 

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT  

OCT

NOV

DEC

Iberian Chiffchaff - Common in woodlands of the Alcornocales & Grazalema (1, 2 3 & 12). JAN

FEB ?

MARCH

APRIL 

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUG 

SEPT

OCT

NOV

DEC

?

Common Chiffchaff – passage & winter visitor. Azure-winged Magpie - In Cadiz restricted to La Algaida pine woods, but hard to find (5). Spanish Sparrow - Increasing; see Benalup, La Janda, Espera area etc. (6 & 9) Rock Sparrow - Common in Llanos de Libar (12) 16


Books & useful websites Field Guides Collins Bird Guide – the authoritative identification guide to Europe's birds Birds of the Straits of Gibraltar (Guia de Aves del Estrecho de Gibraltar) (OrniTour) ….. a bilingual field guide to the southern part of the province with detailed local distribution maps, data on migration, etc – a 'must have' book on the area. . - Guia de las Aves de Espana – (Lynx) only available in Spanish, but good large illustrations, larger more detailed maps and easily understood details on population, migration, etc

Site guides; Where to Watch Birds in Southern & Western Spain (3rd Edition) by Garcia & Paterson 2008) Where to Watch Birds in Doñana (Chiclana & Garzon (Lynx). All visitors to this area should have the Garcia & Paterson guide, but the Lynx book is very useful for the Sanlucar area and if you plan a visit to the other side of the Guadalquivir (soon to be made easier by a new ring road south of Seville). The Nature Guide to the Sierras of the South (Crossbill) – a guide to all aspects of natural history with a number of interesting itineraries. See also “Birding Cadiz Province” - my full birding notes on the area (inc. sites in Seville province)

Birding Information & Useful websites http://birdingcadizprovince.weebly.com/ - this is my new webpage on the area – where I post updates, trip reports, photos, notes on ID, etc. http://www.andaluciabirdsociety.com/ – the recently established Andalucía Bird Society website is a good place to start particularly if you want detailed information about the region and its birds. http://andalucianguides.blogspot.com/ - Stephen Daly's extremely useful and interesting blog (see below). http://datosmigres.blogspot.com/ - a new blog giving daily updates of raptor migration http://adsise.com/ - for downloadable leaflets on the region. www.gbnet.gi/~gonhs - Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society's site; a good source of information esp. on migrating raptors. www.rarebirdspain.net - frequently updated site on rare birds in Spain (in English & Spanish)

Professional Bird Guides Although finding your own birds is fun, if short of time, confidence, expertise or simply wanting it

.

‘on a plate’, I’d recommend using the following local guides: Stephen Daly, whose excellent website www.andalucianguides.com has much information about Cȧdiz province (plus his superb blog for which see above). Stephen is the only guide in Cadiz province who is endorsed by both the ‘Migres’ programme and GONHS. Peter Jones is based near Ronda (Malaga Province) and has an intimate knowledge of the area. His webpage also contains a wealth of information on the region (see www.spanishbirds.com).

Text, maps & photos © John Cantelo 2013

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Cadiz Birding Lite