Bonelli's Eagle sighting

Thursday, 29 October 2009 ·
A nice autumnal day walking in the Alpujarras; what more could anyone ask for? We set off for a walk on one of our "local patch" circuits on a beautiful clear day, with a brisk breeze blowing in from the east to help keep the temperature down.

The first part of the walk climbs for about a kilometre up the quiet little road to the neighbouring village of Nechite. With binoculars at the ready we scanned the trees and bushes along the way, always on the lookout for any interesting migrants.

Half way up to the village I spotted two large birds circling some distance away. After getting them in my binoculars my initial thought was that they were Honey Buzzards, as they looked quite long tailed and had noticably small heads. Luckily they circled right towards us, and as they got closer I changed my id to Bonelli's Eagles. Although these birds are year round resident in the area, these two looked to be on a mission as they circled around letting the wind carry them swiftly out of view behind the ridge. A lovely sighting, which really made my day!

As we approached Nechite a Kestrel was also making the best of the breeze, and we watched it hanging almost motionless, just making the smallest adjustments of wings and tail to stay in position. I know they're common birds, but I can happily watch them for ages.

We passed up through the village, keeping an unsuccessful eye out for Hawfinches which are often seen in this location, and then cut left onto the famous GR7 footpath to take us along the contour back towards Valor.

Following the acequia (irrigation channel) we commented on how abundant the sweet chestnuts are this year. The trees are just loaded with them. I've never been a great fan of the things, but when you think of how much they charge for these in the UK shops, I will definitely have to find some way of using this free feast!

We picked up a few more nice species along the path, such as Crag Martin, Stonechat, Sardinian Warbler and Bonelli's Warbler, but mostly we just admired the fine views out across the Contraviesa mountain range with glimpses of the distant sea just visible.

After another kilometre or two we reached the road just below the cheese factory that drops back down to Valor, and as the road pops out just next to the bar El Puente, it was too good an opportunity to miss to round off the walk with a drink or two!

Walking in the Alpujarras is always rewarding, this one of our shorter local walks but a favourite since it starts and finishes from our own front door in Valor.
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