The white wagtail. / PETER JONES

A warm welcome to the region's winter residents

November comes with millions of birds arriving from northern climes to spend their winter with us here in Andalucía

PETER JONES

If the autumn proved exciting for the sheer spectacle of huge numbers of birds leaving our shores for Africa, then November comes with millions of birds arriving from northern climes to spend their winter with us here in Andalucía.

Thousands upon thousands of black redstart will be taking up residence in our gardens, town parks and even at higher elevations in our mountains. This handsome bird, so recognisable with its shimmering red tail, was known in Victorian times as firetail due to the rapid tail movements upon perching that resembles the flickering of flames.

Another bird taking up winter residence is the white wagtail; this will also become widespread throughout the region, even in large towns and villages. This bird is the nominate race in the white wagtail complex, not to be confused by those folk hailing from the UK who often mistakenly refer to this bird as pied wagtail, which is a subspecies and confined to the UK and Holland. Although an odd pied wagtail can arrive here, I believe it will have got attached to flocks of white wagtail passing through the UK on their way to us.

    We will also play host to several northern birds such as song thrush, meadow pipit, brambling and siskin. Others too will arrive and thrill those prepared to venture into the countryside, so, although the days are cooler and shorter, do try and make the odd excursion out of town and into the wilds, I am sure you will be rewarded.

    In December, members of the Andalucía Bird Society will be visiting the marshlands bordering the eastern region of Doñana National Park, an area rich in birds and spectacular flocks of wading birds.