'11 Family Holiday to Spain (Saturday 13th August to Wednesday 24th August)
We booked flights with British Airways on 4th Sep 2010 flying from Heathrow to Malaga on 13th Aug 2011 and returning to Heathrow on 24th Aug 2011. The flight cost us £613.40 for all four members of my family. A few weeks later, British Airways decided to move the flight from Heathrow to Gatwick. YYYYYYYYYYYYYIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.
My wife Kim loves trawling the internet for holiday accommodation. Kim found an apartment in Calahonda with shared pool for £770, we posted a deposit cheque to the English owner living in Essex. He quickly returned the cheque as he preferred the cheque being payable to his wife. No problem, I sent a new cheque off. My wife wanted to ask a few questions about the apartment by email and we didn’t always get replies. But he did send us an email on the 20th May 2011, it read:-
“Today I have been informed by my manager who looks after the apartment in Spain that the apartment above mine has had a burst water pipe on its terrace which has leaked passed my ceiling which has caused extensive damage to my apartment. It is in the hands of the insurance company & has been informed due the flooding it needs to dry out for at least 4 weeks before they can start replastering & renew damaged furniture etc. I very sorry to inform you I have had to cancel all bookings for this.”
To be honest I was slightly relieved that this booking was cancelled as the owner also took the property off the Owners Direct website shortly after we paid the first deposit. We just had an horrible feeling inside something was going to go wrong with this booking. Back to the drawing board, my wife got straight back onto http://www.ownersdirect.co.uk/ and on the 30th May my wife found a Villa with its own pool including gas BBQ on the side of mountain in Frigiliana. It seemed to have everything the family wanted. A price of £747 was agreed with Michael Percy firstname.lastname@example.org on UK mobile +44 (0)7921 252 917 or Spanish mobile +34 609 530 107 http://www.elcastilloandalucia.com/
To get to the Villa a car is essential, so we hired a Fiat Polo from email@example.com for £227.
We landed at Malaga Airport on time at 10:30am and made our way to Goldcar hire on the basement of terminal 2. There were no queues for Hertz, Avis, Budget but Goldcar had 20 people in the queue and all we could was wait. 1.5 hours later we go served. Be warned: we got charged 80 euros for a full tank of fuel at the desk and this would have cost less than 60 euros if it was filled up in Malaga.
The journey from Airport to Villa is 50 minutes, and this is mainly a motorway. The sat nav got us to Frigiliana but not to the Villa, Mikes directions were needed for the last 10 minutes.
When we arrived at the Villa, I was bowled over. The property and scenery was totally beautiful. Mike and Linda (who also live at the property) led us to our living quarters. Two bedrooms, kitchen and living room. During our 12 days at the Villa we had exclusive use of the pool and BBQ area.
I did all my birdwatching during the first 2 to 3 hours of daylight from the Villa and the five ledges that take you to the bottom of the mountain. I did go out on a Jeep Safari on the 23rd, and the few birds seen on this occasion were were all still within the Frigiliana region.
BIRDS SEEN DURING THE 12 DAYS
|(1) Short-toed Eagle (2 @14th,1 @ 15th, 1 @ 18th, 1 @ 20th, 2 @ 23rd, 2 @ 24th)|
|(2) Booted Eagle (Pale morph 14th and 17th)|
|(3) Kestrel (2@ 16th, 22nd)|
|(4) Goshawk (1 @ 23rd)|
|(5) Pallid Swift (Daily)|
|(6) Red-rumped Swallow (Daily - maximum count 8)|
|(7) Barn Swallow (Daily)|
|(8) House Martin (Daily - maximum count 40)|
|(9) Crag Martin (3 @ nearby Frigiliana village)|
|(10) Woodpigeon (17th)|
|(11) Rock Dove (8 or so @ 18th|
|(12) Turtle Dove (2@ 16th, 2 @ 19th, 22nd)|
|(13) Collared Dove (nearby Frigiliana village)|
|(14) Bee-eater (Daily - maximum flock count size was 40)|
|(15) poss. Tawny Pipit (Brief view 14th)|
|(16) Grey Wagtail (1 @ nearby Frigiliana village)|
|(17) Hoopoe (19th)|
|(18) Thekla Lark (2@ 17th, 2 @ 18th)|
|(19) Woodchat Shrike (Juv 14th, Juv 17th, Juv 22nd)|
|(20) Blue Rock Thrush (Male Daily) (Imm 15th, Female: 17th, 22nd, 23rd and 2 males at nearby Frigiliana Village)|
|Thrush sp. (17th only - photos attached)|
|(21) Blackbird (Daily)|
|(22) Stonechat (1 pair Daily)|
|(23) Nightingale (19th, 2 @ 24th)|
|(24) Black Wheatear (2 @ nearby Frigiliana village)|
|(25) Spotted Flycatcher (Daily)|
|(26) Sardinian Warbler (Daily)|
|(27) Melodious Warbler (16th, 18th, 22nd, 24th)|
|(28) Cettis Warbler (Daily only seen on 22nd)|
|(29) Spectacled Warbler (17th)|
|(30) Wesern Bonellis Warbler (18th|
|(31) Blackcap (1pr @ 18th, 2 males @ 24th)|
|(32) Lesser Whitethroat (18th|
|(33) Garden Warbler (2 @ 19th, 3 @ 24th)|
|prob. Western Orphean Warbler (very brief view @24th)|
|(34) Chiffchaff (24th very brief view)|
|(35) Goldfinch (Daily)|
|(36) Chaffinch (16th, 2 @ 18th, 22nd)|
|(37) Serin (Daily)|
|(38) Greenfinch (22nd, 24th)|
|(39) Great Tit (16th, 17th, 22nd)|
|(40) Blue Tit (16th, 2 @17th)|
|(41) House Sparrow (Daily)|
|(42) Rock Sparrow (4+ @ 21st at nearby Compta village)|
|(43) Starling (Flock on 24th)|
If anyone is thinking about going to Malaga for a spot of Birdwatching. This location should be seriously considered as the Birding is absolutely fantastic. I would heavily recommend in staying at Mike and Linda's Villa. We cooked on the BBQ and ate outside everyday next to the pool. They are both very friendly and wll help make your holiday very enjoyable.
Bee-eater from Villa Balcony
Male Blue Rock Thrush from Villa Balcony
Red-rumped Sawllow from Villa Balcony
Very small Thrush sp. with small bill, and tail not extending past longest primary on closed wing. Probably a Immature Blue Rock Thrush, but I cannot rule out Rock Thrush.
Map of the Area
One of the two drivers from http://www.lifeadventure.eu/ a jeep safari company. Well worth going on, they picked us up at 9:15am and brought us back at 4:00pm.