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Cristian and Stephanie - © Mike Brown

Málaga, Fuente de Piedra, Lagunas de Campillos, Torcal, Teba Mountains, Guadalhorce Reservoirs, Laguna del Rincón, Sierra Morena, Sierra de Andújar (8 days).

Tour leader: Cristian Jensen

Tour members: Mike and Stephanie Brown

141 bird species and 15 species of mammals recorded

Trip report written by Cristian Jensen


Saturday March 1st - Day 1

Mike and Stephanie arrived at Málaga airport without any problems, so we started our drive towards Fuente de Piedra. When we arrived, the sun was setting, and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset. We saw around 2000 Greater Flamingos in the extensive lagoon, and thousands of Black-headed Gulls were bathing in the fresh water pools near the Information Centre along with Yellow-legged and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Black-winged Stilt, Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover, Ruff, Green Sandpiper, and Common Snipe were among the waders seen on the shores; we also heard calls of the Stone Curlew. We saw a Fox crossing the drier part of the lagoon in search of food, and Rabbits and Spanish Hares were plentiful along the edges of this big lake.

After this introductory visit we went to the hotel, where we checked in and had some rest before our dinner consisting of various local dishes.

Fuente de Piedra - © Mike Brown

Sunday March 2nd - Day 2

After breakfast we went back to the big salty lagoon where we started birdwatching ‘for real’. Just as we arrived, new species were adding themselves to our list: Black-necked and Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Shoveler, Garganey, Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal, Common Pochard, Avocet, Kentish and Golden Plovers, Little Stint and Dunlin. Among the smaller birds we saw Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Serin, Spotless Starling, Stonechat and Bluethroat. After going for a little walk, we went to see some Lesser Kestrels and then we drove around the lagoon where we found groups of thousands of Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls. We had our picnic at a site with very good views of the lagoon, and we watched the flamingos dancing and getting ready for the start of the breeding season. The dance consists of a big group of flamingos that start tapping the ground with their feet and then simultaneously stretch their necks and all look first to one side and then to the other; just like a Spanish flamenco dancer will move the hands!

Green Huntsman Spider - © Mike Brown

While having lunch and admiring the flamingos, Mike found a beautiful animal: a Green Huntsman Spider (Micrommata virescens) of the family Sparassidae. This species does not build a web, but hunts actively for insects and other invertebrates. When we were done with our picnic we drove to the Torcal Mountains. With its spectacular scenery, Torcal gives you the impression of being in another world. Some of the birds we saw there were Southern Grey Shrike, Rock Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Black Redstart, Thekla Lark, and Red-billed Chough. Another remarkable animal was a female Spanish Ibex, an endemic mammal of Spain.

Monday March 3rd - Day 3

This day we visited Fuente de Piedra once more, and we found two LESSER FLAMINGOS in between the thousands of Greater Flamingos. This rare African species was a very good sighting, and later on we found out that there had been an “influx” of 9 – 12 birds in Spain, which is probably way too many to be escapes! A Marsh Harrier flew by very close to us and we could see all the details of its plumage. A small flock of Spanish Sparrows were moving about in the nearest bushes.

We went towards Campillos, and near the town we started birding at some freshwater lakes. Our first interesting species was an Iberian Chiffchaff singing from a tree. Also Black-winged Stilt, Greenshank, Little Ringed Plover, and Wood and Green Sandpipers were seen at the edges of the water. We left the car and walked through the fields towards another lagoon. While walking, we were surprised by a beautiful male Little Bustard and several Calandra Larks. These two species were both on Mike’s wish list, so he was very pleased. Once we reached the lagoon we scanned the water, and to our surprise we found three RUDDY SHELDUCKS, a very rare species in Spain!!! We also saw Red-crested Pochard and lots of other birds. So we decided to stay there and have our lunch. We could still see the Little Bustard standing in a nearby field and hear the impressive song repertoire of the Calandra Larks. Swallowtail butterflies were foraging around us, and Emperor dragonflies flew rapidly past, trying to catch other insects. The green fields surrounding us, along with the nice temperature, gave us the feeling that spring had really arrived. Birds were singing and the nice breeze made us very relaxed. After our lunch, a siesta was appealing, but we had lots to see, so we went to a cafeteria to get a good cup of coffee. Then we continued to some rock faces to look for raptors. We warmed up with our first Short-toed Eagles and some Griffon Vultures. Lovely Spanish Festoon butterflies were happily flying around in search of good flowers on which to feed. We also noted Crag Martin, Blue Rock Thrush, Raven and Chough. We made our way to the reservoirs where we saw Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Red-rumped Swallow and two Bonelli’s Eagles.


Tuesday March 4th - Day 4

White-headed Duck - © Cristian Jensen

Today was our transfer day. We had to say goodbye to Fuente de Piedra and go to Andújar, where the Iberian Lynx can be found. We left after breakfast and stopped at the Laguna del Rincon, where we saw a male White-headed Duck, as well as Black-necked, Little and Great Crested Grebes. A Hen Harrier and a Red Kite flew over us on migration; we heard Penduline Tits, and Song Thrushes were flushed from the reeds. We started driving again and on our way along the Guadalquivir River we saw several White Storks and their nests. Also, Short-toed Eagles were spotted from the car together with thousands of Black Kites migrating north. For lunch we arrived to Andújar were we had our picnic next to the Jandula River. We were looking for the Lynx...let’s just say that we saw footprints and excrements from the rarest cat in the World!! A Black Stork was flying above our heads. Two Spanish Imperial Eagles were doing their nuptial flights and later on we saw another one on its own. Finally, we were able to see two Golden eagles; one adult and one sub adult.

Wednesday 5th, Thursday 6th and Friday 7th of March - Days 5-7

The next three days we visited several places in Sierra de Andújar. We saw many mammals, including Fallow and Red Deer, Moufflon, and Wild Boar, as well as three species of bats. We found footprints of Genet, and Otter droppings, and I had two glimpses of Egyptian mongoose, but unfortunately neither Mike nor Stephanie saw this species. Among the reptiles we saw Ocellated and Spanish Wall Lizards, Large Psammodromus and Stripe-necked Terrapin. Among the Amphibians we heard Stripe-less Tree Frog and Iberian Pool Frog. Some of the most remarkable birds we saw were Hawfinch, Azure-winged Magpie, Short-toed Treecreper, Crested Tit, Dartford Warbler, Wood Lark, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Little Owl, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Stock Dove, and Black Vulture. Andújar is one of the best kept Mediterranean forests in Spain; it is part of Sierra Morena and is one of the strongholds for both Spanish Imperial Eagle and Iberian Lynx.

One of the nights we had a ‘show’ of Tawny Owls, and another evening we were able to hear an Eagle Owl in the distance. We visited the northern part of Andújar to see the area where the Wolves are, but we did not see or hear any.


Saturday March 8th - Day 8

This was the last day, so we did our transfer back to Malaga. Once again, we experienced the impressive migration of Black Kites. There could easily have been 3-4000 Black Kites in groups of several hundred, and this was one of the most impressive moments for Mike and Stephanie during the tour. Although they had already been on our Raptor Migration Tour in the Strait of Gibraltar, where we saw thousands of raptors in the autumn, they had never seen this many Black Kites together.

Near the airport we visited the Guadalhorce River mouth where we saw Caspian and Sandwich Terns, Razorbill, Balearic Shearwater, Spoonbill, Little Egret, Monk Parakeet, Sanderling, Gannet, Osprey and Booted Eagle. The time for departure was getting closer, so we went to the airport and said our goodbyes (or rather, hasta la próxima!).


Bird list

  • 1. Great Crested Grebe - Podiceps cristatus
  • 2. Black-necked Grebe - Podiceps nigricollis
  • 3. Little Grebe - Tachybaptus ruficollis
  • 4. Balearic Shearwater - Puffinus mauretanicus
  • 5. Great Cormorant - Phalacrocorax carbo
  • 6. Northern Gannet - Morus bassanus
  • 7. Grey Heron - Ardea cinerea
  • 8. Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
  • 9. Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis
  • 10. Eurasian Spoonbill - Platalea leucorodia
  • 11. White Stork - Ciconia ciconia
  • 12. Black Stork - Ciconia nigra
  • 13. Greater Flamingo - Phoenicopterus ruber
  • 14. Lesser Flamingo - Phoenicopterus minor
  • 15. Ruddy Shelduck - Tadorna ferruginea
  • 16. Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos
  • 17. Gadwall - Anas strepera
  • 18. Eurasian Wigeon - Anas penelope
  • 19. Garganey - Anas querquedula
  • 20. Common Teal - Anas crecca
  • 21. Northern Shoveler - Anas clypeata
  • 22. Red-crested Pochard - Netta rufina
  • 23. Common Pochard - Aythya ferina
  • 24. White-headed Duck - Oxyura leucocephala
  • 25. Black Vulture - Aegypius monachus
  • 26. Eurasian Griffon Vulture - Gyps fulvus
  • 27. Osprey - Pandion haliaetus
  • 28. Red Kite - Milvus milvus
  • 29. Black Kite - Milvus migrans
  • 30. Bonelli's Eagle - Hieraaetus fasciatus
  • 31. Booted Eagle - Hieraaetus pennatus
  • 32. Golden Eagle - Aquila chrysaetos
  • 33. Spanish Imperial Eagle - Aquila adalberti
  • 34. Short-toed Eagle - Circaetus gallicus
  • 35. Northern Goshawk - Accipiter gentilis
  • 36. Eurasian Sparrowhawk - Accipiter nisus
  • 37. Common Buzzard - Buteo buteo
  • 38. Western Marsh Harrier - Circus aeruginosus
  • 39. Hen Harrier - Circus cyaneus
  • 40. Common Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus
  • 41. Lesser Kestrel - Falco naumanni
  • 42. Red-legged Partridge - Alectoris rufa
  • 43. Common Coot - Fulica atra
  • 44. Common Moorhen - Gallinula chloropus
  • 45. Little Bustard - Tetrax tetrax
  • 46. Pied Avocet - Recurvirostra avosetta
  • 47. Black-winged Stilt - Himantopus himantopus
  • 48. Northern Lapwing - Vanellus vanellus
  • 49. European Golden Plover - Pluvialis apricaria
  • 50. Little Ringed Plover - Charadrius dubius
  • 51. Kentish Plover - Charadrius alexandrinus
  • 52. Dunlin - Calidris alpina
  • 53. Little Stint - Calidris minuta
  • 54. Sanderling - Calidris alba
  • 55. Common Redshank - Tringa totanus
  • 56. Common Greenshank - Tringa nebularia
  • 57. Wood Sandpiper - Tringa glareola
  • 58. Green Sandpiper - Tringa ochropus
  • 59. Ruff - Philomachus pugnax
  • 60. Common Snipe - Gallinago gallinago
  • 61. Stone Curlew - Burhinus oedicnemus
  • 62. Black-headed Gull - Larus ridibundus
  • 63. Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis
  • 64. Lesser Black-backed Gull - Larus fuscus
  • 65. Audouin's Gull - Larus audouinii
  • 66. Sandwich Tern - Sterna sandvicensis
  • 67. Caspian Tern - Sterna caspia
  • 68. Razorbill - Alca torda
  • 69. Feral Pigeon - Columba livia feral
  • 70. Stock Dove - Columba oenas
  • 71. Common Wood Pigeon - Columba palumbus
  • 72. Eurasian Collared Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
  • 73. Monk Parakeet - Myiopsitta monachus
  • 74. Great Spotted Cuckoo - Clamator glandarius
  • 75. Eurasian Eagle Owl - Bubo bubo
  • 76. Little Owl - Athene noctua
  • 77. Tawny Owl - Strix aluco
  • 78. Common Kingfisher - Alcedo atthis
  • 79. Hoopoe - Upupa epops
  • 80. Great Spotted Woodpecker - Dendrocopos major
  • 81. Green Woodpecker - Picus viridis sharpei
  • 82. Calandra Lark - Melanocorypha calandra
  • 83. Skylark - Alauda arvensis
  • 84. Woodlark - Lullula arborea
  • 85. Crested Lark - Galerida cristata
  • 86. Thekla Lark - Galerida theklae
  • 87. Eurasian Crag Martin - Hirundo rupestris
  • 88. Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
  • 89. Red-rumped Swallow - Hirundo daurica
  • 90. Northern House Martin - Delichon urbica
  • 91. Meadow Pipit - Anthus pratensis
  • 92. White Wagtail - Motacilla alba alba
  • 93. Yellow Wagtail - Motacilla flava
  • 94. Grey Wagtail - Motacilla cinerea
  • 95. Southern Grey Shrike - Lanius meridionalis
  • 96. Zitting Cisticola - Cisticola juncidis
  • 97. Cetti's Warbler - Cettia cetti
  • 98. Blackcap - Sylvia atricapilla
  • 99. Sardinian Warbler - Sylvia melanocephala
  • 100. Spectacled Warbler - Sylvia conspicillata
  • 101. Dartford Warbler - Sylvia undata
  • 102. Common Chiffchaff - Phylloscopus collybita
  • 103. Iberian Chiffchaff - Phylloscopus ibericus
  • 104. Firecrest - Regulus ignicapillus
  • 105. Common Stonechat - Saxicola rubicola
  • 106. Blue Rock Thrush - Monticola solitarius
  • 107. Black Wheatear - Oenanthe leucura
  • 108. Black Redstart - Phoenicurus ochruros
  • 109. European Robin - Erithacus rubecula
  • 110. Bluethroat - Luscinia svecica
  • 111. Mistle Thrush - Turdus viscivorus
  • 112. Song Thrush - Turdus philomelos
  • 113. Blackbird - Turdus merula
  • 114. Long-tailed Tit - Aegithalos caudatus
  • 115. Eurasian Penduline Tit - Remiz pendulinus
  • 116. Crested Tit - Parus cristatus
  • 117. European Blue Tit - Parus caeruleus
  • 118. Great Tit - Parus major
  • 119. Eurasian Nuthatch - Sitta europaea caesia
  • 120. Short-toed Treecreeper - Certhia brachydactyla
  • 121. Winter Wren - Troglodytes troglodytes
  • 122. Eurasian Jay - Garrulus glandarius
  • 123. Eurasian Magpie - Pica pica
  • 124. Azure-winged Magpie - Cyanopica cyana
  • 125. Northern Raven - Corvus corax
  • 126. Eurasian Jackdaw - Corvus monedula
  • 127. Red-billed Chough - Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
  • 128. House Sparrow - Passer domesticus
  • 129. Spanish Sparrow - Passer hispaniolensis
  • 130. Spotless Starling - Sturnus unicolor
  • 131. Chaffinch - Fringilla coelebs
  • 132. European Serin - Serinus serinus
  • 133. European Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis
  • 134. European Greenfinch - Carduelis chloris
  • 135. Eurasian Linnet - Carduelis cannabina
  • 136. Common Crossbill - Loxia curvirostra
  • 137. Hawfinch - Coccothraustes coccothraustes
  • 138. Reed Bunting - Emberiza schoeniclus
  • 139. Corn Bunting - Miliaria calandra
  • 140. Cirl Bunting - Emberiza cirlus
  • 141. Rock Bunting - Emberiza cia


  • Red Deer - Cervus elaphus
  • Fallow Deer - Dama dama
  • Spanish Ibex - Capra pyrenaica
  • Moufflon - Ovis orientalis
  • Wild Boar - Sus scrofa
  • Iberian Hare - Lepus granatensis
  • Rabbit - Oryctolagus cuniculus
  • Egyptian Mongoose - Herpestes ichneumon
  • Red Fox - Vulpes vulpes
  • Common Pipistrelle - Pipistrellus pipistrellus
  • Greater Mouse-eared Bat - Myotis myotis
  • Algerian Mouse - Mus spretus
  • Iberian Lynx - Lynx pardina (tracks)
  • Otter - Lutra lutra (tracks)
  • Common Genet - Genetta genetta (tracks)


  • Swallowtail - Papilio machaon
  • Scarce Swallowtail - Iphiclides podalirius
  • Large White - Pieris brassicae
  • Small White - Artogeia rapae
  • Clouded Yellow- Colias crocea
  • Cleopatra - Gonepteryx cleopatra
  • Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta
  • Spanish Festoon - Zerynthia rumina


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