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Birding Cadiz Province A QUICK GUIDE TO 12 TOP SITES

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 highly condensed version of my 120+ page guide to birding in Cadiz province area which is available on request. They cover the dozen most interesting areas for birding in Cadiz Province (although the inclusion of Alcala de los Gazules area is an indulgence as this is my base in the area, but it does illustrate the kind of variety to be found around many Andalucian villages). This guide is free to private users (although an appropriate donation to the RSPB or SEO, or similar, would be appreciated). Note that many maps/internet sources show differing road numbers (some roads have up to three different numbers!) so use maps carefully. 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 Please note that whilst I have done my utmost to provide accurate and current information and describe only routes, trails and tracks that are safe to explore, things do change and I have not been able to revisit all sites regularly. Accordingly readers are strongly urged to check locally for current conditions and for any changes in circumstances. I cannot accept responsibillity for any loss, injury or inconveniences sustained by readers as a result of the information provided in this guide.


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

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


1 – Alcala and the Molinos Valley Alcala de los Gazules (a) 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. The village is on the edge of the Alcornocales Natural Park into which the Molinos valley (b) cuts. In the spring and summer check wires & posts for Bee-eater, Woodchat Shrike, Serin, Corn Bunting, Crested Lark and Stonechat. Several pairs of Black-eared Wheatear breed. At the end of the road a sendero heads into the hills which hold Iberian Chiffchaff plus Bonelli's & Sardinian Warbler, Firecrest, etc. Open areas have Cirl Bunting and rocky tops have Blue Rockthrush (plus Iberian Grey Shrike & Siskin on passage/in winter. 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 old track to Paterna (c) can hold scrubland birds and links to the CA 6200 along which stands an isolated rocky outcrop (d) which has Eagle Owl also excellent for raptors (inc. Bonelli's Eagle) esp during passage. On the far side of the A381 the habitat around the ermita (e) and nearby tracks can be good for raptors (which can include Spanish Imperial Eagle holds many of the birds noted in the Molinos valley. The A 2228 to Benalup provides good views over the Embalse de Barbate – check for Osprey & outside chance of Black-winged Kite. Check tamarisks here (and by the service road along the A381) for Olivaceous Warbler. The birds present here depends on the season and water level, but look out for Spoonbill, Little Egret, Black-winged Stilt, Greenshank, etc. Large numbers of hirundines (inc Red-rumped Swallow) & swifts (check for White-rumped Swift) possible on migration. The Lomo del Judio track (g) gives similar opportunities to check the reservoir. The service road along the A 381 allows you to check birds in various habitats – one of the best stops is the Carrel Picacho-Piguera a cycle route c12km south of the service station allows access to the woodlands which again hold the species noted under (b) but also offers a chance of Iberian Green Woodpecker (see 'Site 2' for further sites along this service road).


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 and then park at the entrance of this track. Once a classic birding drive across to Facinas since 2016 this route has been closed to vehicles without a permit. However, it can still be walked or better still cycled. Superb for raptors (all expected species possible) and a site for White-rumped Swift, '. f) Los Barrios Rubbish tip – exit 80 for Los Barrios then the CA 9207 bearing left at the Tjunction. Not as good as it once was but still incredibly smelly in autumn this tip may still attract large numbers of raptors (esp. Black Kite & sometimes Ruppell's Vulture), White Storks, Cattle Egrets, etc.


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, Short-toed 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) Calle Pasada de Alcala track– this recently re-metalled track takes you up to radio masts with stupendous views – can be good for migrating raptors, etc. White-rumped Swift possible at bridge over river as you leave Jimena. g) 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 Note: since at least 2013 carp, apparently from a nearby fish farm, have colonised the laguna following flooding. They have badly disrupted the site's ecology such that White-headed Duck (and other wildfowl) have been greatly reduced in number whilst Crested Coot is now rarely seen (and Common Coot greatly reduced). If these two 'key' species are the target, concentrate on sites 5c & 5d and 6.

Laguna de Medina, now well signposted off the A 381 just south of Jerez, is the best known, most accessible and easiest to find of the area's lagunas. A good idea of the size of the lake can be gained from the viewpoint (a) above the small white building and again further along the same path there's second viewpoint (b). However, the best place to obtain good views of wetland birds is along the boardwalk that runs along the southern side of the laguna which gives views over the reeds to the laguna beyond. Wildfowl include both Whiteheaded Duck (declining) and Redcrested Pochard (plus Ferruginous Duck on passage). Great-crested Grebe are common and Black-necked Grebe frequent (although perhaps also in decline). Penduline Tit present in winter. 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 are often heard in nearby fields (but hard to see). 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 Whitewinged Black Terns may be present. If present, Crested Coot are often seen towards the end of the second boardwalk (d). A hide (e) just off the path gives good views across the far end of the laguna and is another site where Crested Coot have been seen in the past. The lakeside footpath (sendero) now extends to a third boardwalk (f) which overlooks a marshy area (Savi’s here in 2009). This area, which is sometimes good for raptors, can also be reached by car (g) via the service road. Black-winged Kite now regular here. (Note - Rufuous Bush Chat 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 ‘shorttoed’ larks. Look for Spanish Imperial Eagle across the river 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, Purple Gallinule, & Little Bittern. Marbled Teal sometimes present and Crested Coot has bred. 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) – Adventus marshes (accessed by track just north of large white finca) can be alive with waders after a wet spring. Scan for raptors. Ditches good for herons & feeding terns ( Gull-billed & Whiskered) . i) Trebujena Marshes - tracks off main Sanlucar-Trebujena A471 worth exploring for waders, Glossy Ibis, larks &, with luck, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse. j) - Mesa de Asta Marsh – park on track to east of A 2000 Jerez road & walk along track then take footpath towards the marsh. 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 los Tollos, Lebrija & Espera

These complexes of lagunas are strung out along the Cadiz-Seville border between El Cuervo & Espera. All attract Flamingo, a variety of ducks (inc. White-headed & R-c Pochard), Blacknecked Grebe, Purple Gallinule & the usual herons. B-w Kite is possible in the surrounding farmlands. Laguna de los Tollos (a) has recently been restored and is still improving. It is well signposted from the N IV. There's a new (2016) boardwalk & hide here. Although lacking a couple of 'special species' it's the most conveniently placed for a quick visit and arguably best for waders & Flamingos. Lagunas de Lebrija (b & c) can be reached via the G7 & Gibalbin or the N IV. (Note: Venta Alonso on the N IV is highly recommended). Laguna de Pilon (c) next to the SE 6201 is often dry holding little more than Little Ringed Plover, but indicates the potential state of other lagunas. Several more lagunas are a short distance to the west along a short track. Of these Laguna de Cigarrera (b) to the south of the track is the most productive also holding Olivaceous Warbler, roosts of Spanish Sparrow and frequently Crested Coot. As the track to Lagunas de Espera is often in a very poor state it's always worth checking here first. Lagunas de Espera can be approached from the west or east. If arriving from Espera take the signposted track off the SE 5207 or head through Espera to the castle (superb views for 'vis. Miging') and then down onto the track. The route from here can be good for larks (inc Calandra) and raptors (in winter check for Bonelli's and Spanish Imperial Eagle) This track is often in poor condition so take care. After c5 km from Espera a small white building marks the location of Laguna Hondilla (d) which is currently overgrown (but has held Black-necked Grebe and Crested Coot in the past. About 500m beyond this laguna a footpath runs alongside Laguna Salada (e) towards Laguna Dulce (f). The first is good for ducks etc., but views are distant. Although small and prone to dry out in mid-summer, Laguna Dulce is arguably the best site in the province for Crested Coot - look from a small elevated often overgrown 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. Several other lakes in the area are either strictly private, frequently dry or overgrown (e.g. Laguna de Taraje).


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), Stonecurlew (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 SanlucarBonanza) are more accessible, 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. Nearby, the Lagunas del Puerto de Santa Maria & Laguna de Paja hold freshwater species. Seawatch from Cadiz itself. For the bay itself see a) - 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 – the woodland across the channel has Chameleon. b) - 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). Further along the CA313 open pine woodlands - Dehesa de las Yeguas - have Red-necked Nightjar (the track here continues into the area, but is in very poor condition). ............................................ c) - 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. d) - Punta del Boqueron – good visitors' centre & display. The base of the spit can be good for migrants. The light favours a seawatch see from tip in morning (Balearic & Cory's Shearwater, terns etc) and scanning mudflats in afternoon. e) – Old Sancti Petri – across the channel from Boqueron, a narrow spit with old fishing sheds offers views over mudflats in morning; footpath round the nearby salinas, opposite Calle Santa Maria la Morgarizas is good for waders, Osprey(winter), etc Other nearby sites:f) – Lagunas del Puerto de Santa Maria – this complex of three lagunas can hold Ferruginous & W-h Duck, Purple Gallinule, Crested Coot and Bl-n Grebe; the two largest & deepest lagunas are difficult to view, but the first shallow laguna can offer all the species & excellent viewing after a wet spring. g) – Laguna de Paja – often dry, but after a very wet spring this laguna just off the old N IV SE of Chiclana holds all the birds noted above. Access tricky so park nearby and, with care, walk along old main road (NIV) to access path. h) – Cadiz – try a morning seawatching from the city walls during onshore winds or catch the ferry over to El Puerto.


8 - Barbate & Cabo de Trafalgar The Barbate estuary being much smaller than Cadiz Bay holds fewer birds, but is generally more accessible and more easily explored. 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 (b) again by continuing past a petrol station, all the way round the roundabout back towards Vejer turning down the first track on your right into the pines. The sendero here (b) takes you out along a wide channel overlooking the marshes – check for waders, etc. In Barbate head towards Zahara on the A2231 pulling off on the left after you cross the river and head back to explore the river mouth and lower marshes (c) or press on (c2 km) 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 the recently introduced Bald Ibis on the grasslands to the right. Their colony on the cliffs by the A 314 at La Baja de Vejer is now a well known local sight. Alternatively turn towards Canos de Meca – there are several tracks and footpaths along this road (f) to be explored. Although the pine woods tend to have a limited variety of birds, raptors often pass over. Views from the old watch tower here are excellent – check swifts for Pallid – but note that the unique egret colony that was once on the cliffs here is no more. Closer to Canos de Meca the woods can carpeted with orchids in Feb/March Pass through Canos de Meca and turn left for Trafalgar. Park by the junction and walk c1 km to down to the lighthouse (g). Check the beach for Audouin's Gull. In mornings the light is good for seawatching here look for Cory's & Balearic Shearwaters, skuas, terns, etc. 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 – La Janda & the 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 can be walked. Access further along the route can be gained via tracks along the A 2225; one opposite Venta la Casilla and another off a sharp bend in Los Badalejos. These two tracks are particularly good for Little Bustard, Stone-Curlew, Blackwinged 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), repaired in 2012, is excellent for Calandra Lark, Blackwinged Kite, Bee-eaters, raptors (inc. Black-winged Kite, Bonelli's Eagle, Spanish Imperial Eagle) and there a possiblity of 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 (Glossy Ibis, 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/). a) - The olive scrub along the N 340 sometimes holds Rufous Bushchat. Check all paths and tracks along this route. The Hotel San Juan de la Rivera makes convenient stop for good reasonably priced tapas. b) – a minor road runs SE from her to Betis (another further along to El Chaparral seems less interesting). This road allows access, via several footpaths to the slopes of the massive crag of San Bartolome (420+m). The slopes here are 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 . c) - Puerto de Bolonia” at the top of the ridge hosts 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 . d) – El Lentiscal - 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. e) - Baelo Claudia - an important archaeological site (entrance free) - is worth checking for obliging Black-eared Wheatear, Sardinian Warbler and Stonechat. f) – Laja de la Zarga – take the road above Baelo Claudia turning right at a sharp bend onto a small twisting concrete track. After c3 km park near a small farm and go left up a track to a hide facing a massive cliff face (c200m) which has breeding Griffon and Egyptian Vultures plus Bonelli's Eagle. g) – Punta Carmarinal - beyond the turning for Laja de la Zarga, pull off on into a small 'mirador' on the left & then take the track down to the lighthouse below. View across the bay for Audouin’s Gull, Cory’s & Balearic Shearwater. h) - Cueva del Moro - continuing up the road to the rocky peaks of the Sierra de la Plata, pull off to your right. Above (and to your left) there's a small cave which is a classic site for Whiterumped Swift (although they are often elusive). Little Swift may also be present giving you a chance of seeing 5 swift species. Also present are Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture . Crag Martin, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting, Golden Oriole etc. i) Atlanterra – the smart villas here can be good for both White-rumped & Little Swift – access via the N 340 and the new road avoiding the old village of Zahara de Los Atunes. Park at a small car park c250m after the hotel complex in Atlanterra).


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 (ie from the direction of either Tarifa or Algeciras) 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 Algeciras or, if driving from Tarifa, pull off at nearby Marchenilla across the road. c) Huerte Grande (km 95) – approach from either direction. Good sendero to coast & excellent interpretive centre. d) El Bujeo (Km 95) – approach from the Algeciras. 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 (approach from Algeciras). f) Mirador de Estrecho – classic tourist stop (from Tarifa), but good for birds too! g) Cabrito (Km 90.7) – approach from Algeciras – marred by surrounding wind farm, but track into hills. h) Guadalmesi – the route from the N 340 is now restricted by the military. Access along the coastal footpath from Tarifa should still be possible. i) Cazalla (Km 87) - this watchpoint is approached from the direction of Algeciras. Access (and esp exit) has recently been improved THE classic watchpoint. j) Trafico (Km 85) – approach from Tarfia. An excellent site with new raptor warching centre – cover here is excellent for passerine migrants 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 which heads c17 km into the mountains (NB closed to vehicles during the summer). 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 Cory's Shearwater - Commonly seen off the coast year round. See sites 8, 10 & 11 Levantine Shearwater - Formerly a common late summer visitor – now much rarer. Balearic Shearwater - Commonly seen off the coast year round. See sites 8, 10 & 11 Cattle Egret - Abundant - excellent views may be had of the colony on La Janda site 9. Little Egret - disperse less widely dispersed than Cattle Egret & are more restricted to wetlands, but still common Great White Egret - much increased species which is frequently met with in any of the ‘marismas’ particularly (although not exclusively) in winter. In Cadiz Bay (NW14/15) numbers have risen from a small handful in 2000 to 35+ in 2010; a change reflected throughout the area. Has bred. See sites 4, 5 & 7. Purple Heron - Found in all areas with sufficient reeds to provide nesting habitat, but more widespread on migration. See sites 4, 5 & 7 JAN

FEB

MARCH

APRIL 

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUG 

SEPT

OCT

NOV

DEC

NOV

DEC

Squacco Heron - Probably the rarest of the small herons – site 5 (Laguna de Tarelo). JAN

FEB

MARCH

APRIL 

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUG 

SEPT

OCT

Night Heron - A widespread if often localised species found at most sites with suitable habitat. A handful winter (esp. in the Guadalquivir valley) – see site 5 (Laguna de Tarelo). JAN

FEB

MARCH

APRIL 

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUG 

SEPT

OCT

NOV

DEC

Little Bittern - Can be surprisingly elusive for such an apparently widespread bird – see sites 4 & 5c . Rarely winters. JAN

FEB

MARCH

APRIL 

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUG  

SEPT

OCT

NOV

DEC

Black Stork - A frequent passage migrant & few birds winter (75+?). See sites 5, 9 & 11. White Stork - Abundant – now winters in good numbers. Bald Ibis - Introduced species. Look along the coast south of Barbate See site 8. Glossy Ibis - Greatly increased flocks of several hundred. Breds La Janda. See sites 5 & 9 Flamingo - Unmissable on the shallow saline lagoons of the area See sites -5,7 & 8). Marbled Teal - A scarce and often elusive species; best site Codo de la Esparraguera Site 5 White-headed Duck – found in most shallow lagoons in the area – larger numbers in winter. See sites 4, 5 & 6 Black-winged Kite – Now widespread resident - see sites 4, 6 & 9 (La Janda esp good). Rüppell’s Vulture - Annual rarity esp. Aug – Oct; see Los Barrios tip & Med. coast See sites 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 re-introduction programme. See La Janda site 9. Bonelli's Eagle Grazalema a stronghold - rarely missed in the Llanos de Libar (site 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 (site 6); now scarce to the point of invisibility at Lagunas de Medina (Site 4). Great Bustard - extinct in the province – the nearest population now around Osuna (Seville). Little Bustard – elusive small population around Benalup & on La Janda (Site 9); also present in the area near Osuna (Seville). Audouin's Gull - seen almost anywhere along the coast. See sites 5, 7, 8 & 11). Slender-billed Gull - Bonanza salt pans (Site 5) is usually the best spot for this species. Gull-billed Tern - Mesas de Asta Marsh (see site 5NW3) is undoubtedly the best site to see this species, but it can be observed anywhere along the Guadalquivir in spring/summer. JAN

FEB

MARCH

APRIL 

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUG 

SEPT

OCT

NOV

DEC

Caspian Tern - A widespread if scarce migrant & wintering species - c100 in Cadiz Bay (site 7) in autumn/winter). Sometimes breeds Bonanza 2009 (Site 5).

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JAN

FEB

MARCH

APRIL 

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT 

OCT

NOV

DEC

Lesser-crested Tern - small numbers of migrants pass through in spring and rather more (but still in relatively few) in late summer/autumn: Playa de los Lances (Site 11) is the best location. JAN

FEB

MARCH

APRIL

MAY 

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT

OCT 

NOV

DEC

Whiskered Tern - fairly common on Bonanza & Mesas de Asta (site 5); more widespread on passage. JAN

FEB

MARCH

APRIL

MAY 

JUNE

JULY

AUG 

SEPT

OCT

NOV

DEC

Pin-tailed Sandgrouse - Very elusive - best looked for Feb/March. Found along the Guadalquivir, Trebujena marshes (Site 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 (Site 10) 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

Bee-eater - widespread bird, esp. common during migration. The lovely rippling liquid notes mean that they are more often heard before they are seen. JAN

FEB

MARCH

APRIL 

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT 

OCT

NOV

DEC

NOV

DEC

NOV

DEC

Roller - regular passage migrant – nearest regular breeding in Seville province. JAN

FEB

MARCH

APRIL 

MAY

JUNE ?

JULY ?

AUG 

SEPT

OCT

Hoopoe – a common migrant & breeding bird (See sites 9, 10 & 11). A few winter. JAN

FEB

MARCH 

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUG 

SEPT

OCT

Iberian Green Woodpecker A good bet for a ‘split’ - common in Grazalema (Site 2). Short-toed Lark - More widespread and catholic in its habits than Lesser being found on open pasture, dried muddy area. Abundant on Bonanza/Trebujena Marshes (Site 5) JAN

FEB

MARCH

APRIL  

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT 

OCT

NOV

DEC

Lesser Short-toed Lark - resident best sites along the Guadalquivir (Site 5) Thekla Lark – replaces Crested Lark in upland & rocky areas (but also found in lowlands) See site12 Rufous Bushchat A declining species with local strong holds around Los Palacios-Marchena (Seville) -see my full site guide abd Tarifa-Bolonia coast (Site 10). JAN

FEB

MARCH

APRIL

MAY 

JUNE

JULY

AUG

SEPT 

OCT

NOV

DEC

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

Common Bulbul – a North African species which has bred in Tarifa since 2013. Azure-winged Magpie - In Cadiz restricted to La Algaida pine woods, but hard to find. See site 5d. Spanish Sparrow - Increasing; see Benalup, La Janda, Espera area etc. See sites 6 & 9 Rock Sparrow - Common in Llanos de Libar Site 12. Spotless Starling – the starling of the area, (although it was very scarce in the southern part of Cadiz until the 1920s). Remember, though, that ‘our’ version is found in winter. Given the brazen nature of its cousin, it tends to be oddly shy and wary.

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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 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://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) www.visitatrafalgar.com/en/birdwatching – downloadable guide to birdwatching in the area

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: 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). Yeray Seminario (yeray@birdingthestrait.com) & Javi Elorriaga (javi@birdingthestrait.com) – both world class birders and fluent English speakers have recently combined forces to form 'Birding the Strait' (birdingthestrait.com) which runs birding/photography tours in Spain & Morocco. Yeray is also a partner in Whitehawk Birding (http://whitehawkbirding.com). Javi Elorriagais (see also Tarifa Bird Tours http://tarifabirdingtours.com/ & https://www.facebook.com/javi.elorriaga) is THE expert on cirtensis Long-legged Buzzard. Both are great company LuisMi Garrido Padillo is a personal friend so I'm biased, but he's great company and expert birder/photographer based in Jerez. His newly established company Andalusian Birding Holidays (http://andalusianbirdingholidays.com/en/) specialises in walking senderos, birdwatching and, particularly, bird photography. Access to specially provided hides. Andrew Fortuna, based in Gibraltar, offers birdwatching tours, bird photography & digiscoping workshops and nature walks in Gibraltar & Spain & Morocco. See his website http://www.aviantours.net/

Text, maps & photos © John Cantelo 2016 18


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