Birdwalking from Canillas to La Maroma (Costa del Sol, Malaga, Andalucia, Southern Spain)

This mild autumn gave me the opportunity to enjoy a no wind day at 2.060 m above sea level...

Have a look at more pictures and the complete list of 28 species observed below!

La Maroma, with 2.060 m above sea level, is the highest mountain in Malaga province though its summit is located in Granada province. It is that big grey massive that we can see from the east coast of Malaga, in the middle of the Sierras Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama Nature Reserve.

I admit naming this trip as “birdwalking” is very misleading as it is really an extreme hiking exercise in which you have to overcome 1.300 m height difference in 9 kilometres of a truly mountain path. Furthermore, coming down such a steep path from the summit after such a demanding climb is not much less hard than the way up. It took me 4 ½ hours to reach La Maroma’s summit and 3 ½ hours to get down. I acknowledge the birds I found en route, because they were the excuse for some breathtaking stops.

There were some birds in Canillas de Aceituno early in the morning when I began my walk such as Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackcap, House Sparrow, Great Tit and Spotless Starling.

The first part of the path goes through and Aleppo Pine forest where I found Chaffinch, Siskin, Short-toed Treecreeper, Goldfinch and Crested Tit.

Further up, the forest become scrub, where gorse and Esparto Grass dominate the landscape. Blackbird, Dartford Warbler (whose calls and pop ups in the gorse did not leave me until I reached the hedgehog scrub), some Ring Ouzels noisily flying away from the junipers, where they hide in the absence of Hawthorn up here, Mistle Thrush, Sardinian Warbler, Thekla Lark, Crag Martin, Stonechat, Meadow Pipits, Black Redstart and a few Jays in some pine tree stands.

At around 1.700 m above sea level, after the hardest part of the path, the hedgehog scrub substitutes the prior gorse and isolated pine tree vegetation and the slope sweetens until we reach the summit, though our legs are already very tired and one has to take it easy. Apart from plants, life seems to disappear and you can only hear your own steps and breathing. It is really a gate to mysticism, just you, Nature and the present... Spanish Ibex are very common here. I finally found one of the birds I wanted to see: the Alpine Accentor and one Rock Bunting in the flock. No more birds in this high lands.

On my way down from the summit, in this same area, I could also spot Black Redstart, Goldfinch and Black Wheatear, and as I was going down, the birds of the way up met me again: Chaffinch, Crested Tit, a first sight of Firecrest in the pine trees, Crag Martin, Dartford Warbler, Ring Ouzel, more Golfinches, Great Tit, Meadow Pipit, more Black Wheatears and Thekla Larks, Short-toed Trecreeper, Sardinian Warbler, and two more new species, Song Thrush and, once back in Canillas, White Wagtail.

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Complete list of birds observed:

  SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME
1 Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris
2 Black Redstart  Phoenicurus ochruros
3 Black Wheatear  Oenanthe leucura
4 Blackbird  Turdus merula
5 Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
6 Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
7 Chiffchaff  Phylloscopus collybita
8 Crag Martin  Ptyonoprogne rupestris
9 Crested Tit Lophophanes cristatus
10 Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata
11 Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla
12 Goldfinch  Carduelis carduelis
13 Great Tit  Parus major
14 House Sparrow Passer domesticus
15 Jay Garrulus glandarius
16 Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
17 Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus
18 Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus
19 Robin Erithacus rubecula
20 Rock Bunting  Emberiza cia
21 Sardinian Warbler  Sylvia melanocephala
22 Short-toed Treecreeper  Certhia brachydactyla
23 Siskin Carduelis spinus
24 Song Thrush  Turdus philomelos
25 Spotless Starling  Sturnus unicolor
26 Stonechat  Saxicola rubicola
27 Thekla Lark Galerida theklae
28 White Wagtail Motacilla alba
Last modified onSunday, 19 November 2017 17:37