At 11:30 I am in Malaga airport waiting for the arrival of Chris, Sheila, Allison and John who are about to land from London Stansted. Alison and John are the first to arrive and we spend one and a half hours in the Guadalhorce River. There, we managed to see Cetti’s Warbler, Common Sandpiper, Teal, White-headed Duck, Chiffchaff, Reed Bunting and Shoveler.
We head back to the airport to pick Chris and Sheila and after lunch we drive to the lagoon of Fuente de Piedra. We stop in a nearby field to watch a group of 50-60 Common cranes, a gorgeous Hen Harrier and 2 cracking Black-winged Kites!. Allison is delighted to watch one of her favourite birds. Large flocks of Skylarks and Linnets pass by as we drive, and a Marsh Harrier soars close to us. Before we leave to Andújar to carry on the Iberian Lynx Trip, we watch through the telescope 100’s of Greater Flamingos.
It is 8:10 a.m. and we are heading to our first viewing point in Sierra de Andújar Natural Park. Fifteen minutes later we are passing through a private state with many gorgeous ‘fighting bulls’.Suddenly a Iberian Lynx passes in front of the car as I am driving!!, Sheila, Allison and John are open mouthed (as I am), and Chris cries in excitement “We have seen an Iberian Lynx and we have not even got off the car”.
Twenty minutes later we are in the viewpoint with our telescopes and chairs to search the land for all king of wildlife. At around 9:30, a Spanish colleague says “there is a Lynx in the firebreak”. I focus my telescope and there it was, sat in the ground surrounded by Red-legged Partridges and Magpies. We watch it for 5 minutes and then it vanishes between the scrubs. We are over the moon!! As different watchers arrive to the viewpoint they are “green of envy”, two Iberian Lynxes in our first day!. Blue Rock Thrush sings from a nearby granitic rock, Crag Martin flies by and Azure-winged Magpies are frequently seen.
Around 12:00 we decide to move and visit another area to continue Iberian Lynx trip. As we get on the vehicle, a group of four birds fly from the hills toward us. They are three Griffon Vultures and an immature Golden Eagle. Twenty minutes later we have lunch in a sunny hillside watching a group of seven Spanish Ibexes, a stunning male with a group of six females.
Black and Griffon Vultures, and also Golden Eagles fly high over the hills. A pair of Grey Wagtail fly and a Green Sandpiper sings in the river. We walk along the dam and manage to see what looks like a Daubenton’s bat hide deep in a crack.
In the afternoon, we head for the early-morning view point to try our luck again with the Iberian Lynx. A Dartford Warblers sings in the top of a Phyllirea shrub and Dunnocks sing in the shade. A Yellow Clouded butterfly sucks nectar from a thyme
We spend the morning in La Lancha in search for the Iberian Lynx with no luck. It is a quiet and sunny morning to watch birds such as Long-tailed Tit, Iberian Grey Shrike, Stonechat, Mistle Thrush and Black Redstart. In the private state, a group of 6 Mouflons graze peacefully and a herd of Wild Boar run in the distance. Around 12:00, we decide to go to a picnic area to have our ‘bocadillos’ and while we drive we photograph an adult Black vulture. After lunch, we walk along a nice and steady path near the river. There, we find Otter prints, Cetti’s Warbler, Blackcap and Great Cormorant. We spend the afternoon, from another view point looking to the forest. A group of 21 large raptors circle above the mountain, one of them looks different; it is an immature Golden Eagle!. Then, after few minutes Chris cries “there is another raptor coming “ -It is an adult Golden Eagle. So far, 5 Golden Eagles!. What an incredible area for raptors is Sierra de Andújar!!. A ringed Robin and a female of Sardenian Warbler, come close to us looking for crumbs. John is delighted of having the inquisitive Sardenian Warbler so close, and being able of taking close range photos. Before we leave, a Tawny Owls calls saying goodbye to us.
At 8:15 we set off from the country house we are accommodated, and 15 minutes later we find a beautiful stag Fallow Deer standing a few meters from us. We continue our Iberian Lynx trip taking pictures to the “fighting bulls” and abundant Red Deer.
Wrens sing and a male Greenfinch feeds on a berry of Pistacia lentiscus. Red-billed Choughs call and a Hoopoe stands in a wire. There is news about an early morning sighting of a Lynx, we keep scanning the forest. Then, a Spanish birder sees a raptor perched in an oak tree; it is an adult Spanish Imperial Eagle!! About 10:30 I find a familiar silhouette with the binoculars, I grab my telescope and there it is a stunning Male Iberian Lynx walking slowly in the mountain side. It is visible for a few minutes before disappearing behind the bushes. We are all really excited!
Twenty minutes later, the partner of the Spanish Imperial Eagle we saw before, lands in the same tree. Two Spanish Imperial Eagles in the same tree!.Three Black Vultures and few Griffons’ come around to us.
Around 12:30 we decide it is time to have lunch. As we drive to another area, we watch Corn Buntings standing in the bushes besides the road. We spend the afternoon visiting the river where I find Iberian Lynx scat in a regular dropping point. Common Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Little and Grey Egret, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Short-toed Treecreeper and Nuttach are seen.
After the previous day’s highlights we are all very sad to be leaving. Around 8:15 we are driving to Malaga airport in a clouded and rainy day. The weather has been just perfect, sunny and warm from mid morning. As we drive through the motorway, Red kites, Spotless Starling and Common Buzzard are seen. This trip has been another wonderful short break, with some incredible sightings of Iberian Lynx – the rarest feline in the world!
The next Iberian Lynx Tour will be February 7-11, do not miss it!
Have a nice day!