I received this recent report from an enthusiastic and knowledgeable birdwatcher which describes well a birder´s experience in Cartajima. Jonathan wrote:
Situated effectively at the treeline level, between sweet chestnut and oak woodlands with some olive and almond
groves below, and aromatic scrub-colonised mountain slopes ascending to rocky scree above, the excellent and personalised Los Castaños hotel is well situated for birding into the very local landscape. The going can be demanding underfoot once ‘off-path’, but very rewarding.
Add to this the proximity to the short Western Mediterranean migratory crossing to Africa – overcast mornings even in later spring made it clear that a major bird-of-prey migration route uses the ridges of Los Riscos past one end of the village – and you have a close to ideal centre in which to spend a few days.
Between two visits in early May, I’ve encountered all four eagle species that one might reasonably expect for the general region, all the distinctive Western Mediterranean scrub-warblers, and much else during hiking on foot (not to mention sitting on my room balcony with binoculars during late afternoons!). Such specialities as Thekla Lark, Rock Sparrow and the two Rock Thrushes can take more work, but they’re there.
Alternatively, a succession of 30 – 40 km round-trip drives within the Serrania de Ronda area allow visits to a variety of habitats, from riverine borders to high, dry pastures, increasing the number of species to be encountered. Only one of the well-known major wetlands would be lacking, but such could easily be tacked on to a week’s stay in Spain.
Local wildlife expert and campaigner Peter Jones can often be contacted, ahead of time, for days of guided birdwatching or further advice. “
Thank you very much for this informative report, Jonathan! We look forward to your return to reveal more secrets of our back yard!