BIRD lovers should keep their eyes on the skies, as flocks of new winter birds are expected to arrive in Andalucia, according to the Andalucian Bird Society.
Ring Ouzels – smaller and slighter than blackbirds – will soon be winging their way down to Spain from the Scottish Highlands for their winter break. Male ring ouzels are particularly distinctive with black plumage, a pale wing panel and striking white breast band. As an upland bird, the ring ouzel breeds mainly in steep sided valleys, crags and gullies.
Another upland bird, the Alpine Accentor usually lives at an altitude of around 2,000 metres, but enjoys spending its winters holiday in lower areas. Around the size of robin, males and females have similar appearances, with a streaked brown back and a grey head with red-brown spotting on the underparts, along with an insectivore’s fine pointed bill.
Arriving in Spain, both species are likely head to head for similar habitats in Sierras Grazalema and Nieves.
Helen Wallbank, secretary of the society, says there are a wide range of birds to find, “Fieldfares and Redwings of the Thrush family, which keep to the quiet, higher countryside. If you live near any of our lagoons, or the Guadalhorce reserve near the airport, you can find migrant ducks and waders, such as Gadwall, Pintail, Teal and Purple Sandpiper, even Ospreys.”
The Andalucian Bird society is a group of mainly English-speaking bird lovers, meeting around once a month for bird watching trips.
Please see www.andaluciabirdsociety.org for more information and activities.