Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Salina La Tapa, Cadiz Province and Gibraltar.

A hot disappointing visit to the Saltpans and a nice afternoon buying some whisky on Gibraltar.

Jayne and I left the hotel in Sanlucar after a cracking evening the night before and headed south towards El Puerto de Santa Maria where I dropped Jayne off at one of the Shopping Centres near to Salina La Tapa where I tried to go and do some birding but between access problems and to many strange people hanging around in the bushes I gave up fairly quickly but not before I found several Curlew Sandpipers (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea), Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba), Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Little Tern (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons), Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) which were everywhere.
I gave up and went and picked Jayne up and we headed south down the motorway towards Gibraltar going through the Los Alcornocales Natural Park passing Embalse de Barbate and Embalse de Charco Redondo. On the way I saw Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Eurasian Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia). 
We parked in La Linea and then walked on to Gib and did some shopping before returning to the car and then driving home.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Los Palacios Y Villafranca, Chipiona, Playa de Montijo and Sanlucar de Barrameda

Two Spanish Lifers and a great evening in Sanlucar.

Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis).
Jayne and I headed off West along the A92 towards Sevilla and then down to Los Palacios Y Villafranca the El Pantano area just South of the town. On the way I saw Iberian (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis).
After breakfast we went down to the spot by the El Pantano on the southern side of Los Palacios Y Villafranca where I parked in the shade so that Jayne was comfortable reading and I went for a walk along the main track. I quickly built the day list with some Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) which were coming into the reed beds on the far side of the site, Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Grey (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides), Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and a couple of Whiskered Terns (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus) which were returning with bills full of small fish.
Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus).
I then had brief views of the target species when an adult Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis) which flew right passed me and down to the water and then up in to a Tamarisk tree where it joined a second bird before flying over to some Prickly Pears right next to where Jayne was sat in the car.
I moved back around to the car and we spent a while watching the one bird fly across the road in front of us several times, it dropped down into a paddock area and collected seed and nest building materials.
Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
In this area we also had several European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and Western Olivaceous Warbler (Zarcero Pálido Occidental / Hippolais opaca), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), a group of aroun 50 or so passing White Storks (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and of course the Laughing Doves which showed very well, giving me the chance to get a few distant shots.
European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
We moved around to the other side of the river and had a look at the wetland area there seeing many more Glossy Ibis, Cattle and Little Egrets, Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Purple / Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), adult and Juvenile Whiskered Terns and loads of Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) and Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
From here we headed off south down to Chipiona and found a parking near the port. We then walked down to the beach where Jayne went for a walk along the prom whilst I tried to get some shots of the
Little Swifts (Vencejo Moro / Apus affinis) from the Grassy area just outside the port walls. In the same area I picked up Pallid (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus).
Little Swift (Vencejo Moro / Apus affinis).
I met Jayne as she was walking back towards the Port, she said she had found a place just down the way where we could have something to eat which we did. 
Little Swift (Vencejo Moro / Apus affinis).
Later I dropped Jayne off for a couple of hours in a shopping centre whilst I went down to Playa de Montijo where I parked on the beach and scanned the beach and rocks which had just been exposed by the dropping tide. Straight away I could see loads of birds including 100+ Little Terns (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons), plenty of Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba) and Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) which were the commonest waders. 
Elegant Tern (Charrán Elegante / Sterna elegans), Sandwich Terns (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and Little Terns (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons).
They were accompanied by 3x Pied Oystercatcher (Ostrero Euroasiatico / Haematopus ostralegus), 4x Whimbrel (Zarapito Trinador / Numenius phaeopus) were joined by 20 or so more birds as the tide dropped, 1x Bar-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colipinta / Limosa lapponica) which came in with one of the groups of Whimbrel but settled to roost amongst the Gulls, Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres), Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), 1x Red Knot ( Correlimos Gordo / Calidris canutus), 1x Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), 2x Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus) and 2x Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluviali squatarola), a summer plumaged and one winter looking bird.
Elegant Tern (Charrán Elegante / Sterna elegans), Sandwich Terns (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Whiskered Terns (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus) and Little Terns (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons).
As the tide dropped further good number of Sandwich Terns (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) started to come in and bath and the roost on the sandbar and rocks, I kept scanning through these birds looking for orange bills but I did not find any so I walked back towards the car and set the scope up again scanning the sea picking up two groups of Scopoli's / Cory's Shearwater (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea / borealis) totalling 13 birds, a single Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) and then a loud calling Tern which came in from the East and passed in front of me going to the roost and I soon picked out the Orange bill it had. 
Mediterranean Gull (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus).
I jumped to an incorrect ID of it being an adult Lesser-crested Tern (Charrán Bengalés / Thalasseus bengalensis) but because I got some distant shots Javi Elorriaga Bts from Birding The Strait was able to say it was an adult Elegant Tern (Charrán Elegante / Sterna elegans). I walked back along the beach to the main area of sand where the Terns were roosting and I found the adult bathing and what was probably it's juvenile hybrid on the sand but as soon as I got there the second bird flew off along the coast but the adult remained and gave me good views. 
In the same flock I also had a Common Tern (Charrán Común / Sterna hirudo) and a immature Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus). On the beach I also found Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and an immature Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii).
3x Pied Oystercatcher (Ostrero Euroasiatico / Haematopus ostralegus).
I returned to the car and then picked up Jayne before we made our way to the hotel Los Helechos in Sanlucar where we chilled for a while before heading out on to the town for drinks and tapas. After eating we went for a walk along the sea front to a bar at the far end prom where we had a drink and sit for a while before walking back. On the way we were passed by the towns tourist train so we took a ride around the town with a good crowd of Spanish tourists and enjoyed it very much before returning to the hotel well shattered but after a cracking night.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

RAM, Coast Granada and Charca Suarez, Granada Province.

A morning down on the Granada Coast with good friend Juan Pérez Contreras and Eviromental agent / Consultant for the Motril area Verónica.

Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis).
I picked up Juan Pérez Contreras from Granada and we headed down to Peñón de Jolúcar near to Torrenueva where we were going to carry out the RAM sea bird count, on the parking area we met up with Verónica an Enviromental Agent / Consultant from the Motril Town Hall. We walked up to the cliffs where we set up and straight away we counted 19 Shag (Cormorán Mondudo / Phalacrocorax aristotelis) either on the sea or coming off the cliffs, loads of the usual noisy Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and a single Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) which was the only one we saw all morning.
During the main count the commonest species and pretty much the only proper sea bird recorded was the Scopoli's / Cory's Shearwater (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea / borealis), we also saw Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) and Mediterranean Gulls (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) and a couple of Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), an adult and an juvenile.
Juan and Verónica checking on one of the areas to possibly be protected.
Around us we also had large numbers of Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), a couple of Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and 2 Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) as we walked back down to the car. 
Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii).
Our next stop was on a nearby beach where Juan and Verónica were involved in the protection of some vegetated areas at the top of the beach where both Kentish (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) breed but have been struggling due to the cleaning machinery distroying the nests and from disturbance from people walking through the areas going to the beach. As a temperary messure there have been signs and tape put up and this was partly successful but today Juan and Verónica were talking about a more permanent solution.
Whilst on the beach we saw more Audouin's, Med and Yellow-legged Gulls, Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Scopoli's / Cory's Shearwater, female and juvenile Kentish Plovers, Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and on a rock further along the coast a group of roosting Shags.
Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis).
We drove back along the coast heading for Charca Suarez, picking Verónica's van up on the way as well as seeing a Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus). 
Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis).
We parked and entered the reserve with just two hours for the visit, as we walked towards the new hide over looking Laguna Blanca we stopped at one of the canals and checked the dragonflies finding Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) x1M, Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea) x2M, Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii) x9 and Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum) x1M.
Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) bad shot as I knocked camera on to wrong settings.
As we stood there a male Little Bittern (Avetorillo Común / Ixobrychus minutus) flew passed twice and we heard both Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) calling and watched a Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa) cross the channel a couple of times whilst Perez's Frog (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi) crocked in the reeds.
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
We sat in the main hide amongst the line of photographers watching Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Purple / Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild), Red Avadavat (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) as well as Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) 2xM and 1 pair in tandem and a male Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) which patrolled up and down the reeds to the right of the hide.
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
We walked around to the main hide, on the way I heard European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) and saw African Grass (Nina esmaltada / Zizeeia knysna) and Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii) x1TM and several Carpentor Bees (Xylocopa violacea).
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
From the hide we saw loads of Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and several Red-knobbed (Focha cornuda / Fulca cristata), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus).
Purple / Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio).
Time was almost up so we walked back to the exit adding just Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) on the way.
Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus).
Juan and I said goodbye to Verónica before I dropped Juan just down the road where he was meeting Beatriz his wife and Chika the dog on the beach for the rest of the day.
Purple / Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio).
I then headed home picking up Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) and Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) on the way and Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) and Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) in the fig tree.

Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus).
Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea).
Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea).
Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata).
Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata).
















Thursday, 2 August 2018

Pinos Genil, Granada Province.

A great evening with Jayne, friends Beatriz and Juan and a glow worm.

Female Glow Worm (Nyctophila reichii).
Jayne and I headed up to Pinos Genil but parked at a spot around 3km short of the Resturant where we were going to eat, being as English as us Beatriz and Juan were already there with Chika their dog waiting to get going. We were soon on our way, on the track along the river we picked Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
We also saw  Fragrant Clematis (Clematis flammula) and Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) on the way to Pinos where we had some very good food again at the Restaurante Mesón Casa Guillermo on the side of the Rio Genil.
It was dark by the time we started the walk back but Juan found a single glowing Glow Worm (Nyctophila reichii) in the track side vegetation. It's glow is lost in this shot due to the torch and flash but shows the female nicely.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Realenga, Huétor Tajar, Granada Province.

New beast for the garden list.

Jayne found this smart looking chap on the back door insect curtain and I relocated it to a nice rook before taking some shots which helped me to put a name to it which I think is Cerambyx welensii, a big Longhorn Beetle found down here in Southern Spain.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Near Archidona, Malaga Province and Moraleda Fields and Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

A days birding with Jacki and Gary from the UK.

Several Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki).
I met Jacki and Gary at their hotel in Salinas and we drove the short distance to Archidona, on the way we saw Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans) and Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus).
Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus).
Once at the first spot in nearby wooded valley we had a walk along the main track where our main target was to find Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) and very soon we heard a male doing it shortened call. As we walked towards the sound we picked up Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and then the first of the good number of Hawfinches (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes).
A little further along the track we found the male Golden Oriole which was soon found followed by a less showy but welcome female and the first of several Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus).
Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
We also was heard several Perez's Frogs (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi) in the river, on the far side of the river a few Rabbits (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus) shot off under the Olive trees and as things warmed up a few Small Whites (Pieris rapae) and Clouded Yellows (Colias Común / Colias corcea) started to fly.
As we returned back to the car where we had views of another male Golden Oriole, a Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) which was carrying food, European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), a single Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus).
We then headed off towards Moraleda picking up a Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and a fly passed Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
Once we were out on the fields we added a roosting Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) on a pile of rocks, several Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and out by the ruin 3 flying Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which showed brilliantly as they came round us. Out in the Almond groves we picked up Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Feral Pigeons (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia) and as we went off the site we found a female Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) in one of the weedy fields. We stopped again out on the road and had a short break for a drink and watched a large flock of passing Swifts which included mostly Commons but a good numbers of Pallid (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and a few Alpines (Vencejo Real / Apus melba).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
A bit further along the road we popped in to visit the Little Owl families in the roadside Almonds but only found the a single bird, however he showed well and was quite happy for us to get a few shots. We moved on to a small water pumping house where we found a couple of calling Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and out on the ridge on our way down to Cacín we found a couple of Booted Eagles (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), one pale phase and one dark. On the pylons we also picked up an immature Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) and lower down a couple of Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and lots of plants of the Wild Capers (Capparis spinosa).
Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus).
We next stopped by the side of the Embalse de Cacín where we scanned the water and quickly found Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Common (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) calling from the reedy margins and just as we were leaving a female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) came in over the reeds.
We also had a nice male Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui). Just down the road we called in at the bridge over the Rio Cacín where we had a walk seeing or hearing Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Wryneck, Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) and Carpentor Bee (Xylocopa violacea).
On the drive back to the hotel in Salinas we saw Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and another Black Kite but this time in Granada Provnce.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Alcala la Real, Jaen Province.

A day out around Alcala and the Fortaleza de la Mota.

Jayne and I headed across country through Montefrio to Alcala, we arrived early and went down into the town for a coffee and some breakfast before returning to the Fortaleza. We paid our €6 and followed then spent a really good 2.5 hours wandering around following a audio tour which was included in the price and well worth doing.
Later we went to the town and had some lunch before visiting the Archiological museum which was also included in the €6 entry fee to the Fortaleza. 
Late in the afternoon it was getting hot so we had a stready drive home after a really good day out.
During the day I saw a few species including White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Turtle (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Common (Urraca / Pica pica) and Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Geranium Bronze (Cacyreus marshalli) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).



Sunday, 8 July 2018

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A walk along the old tram line in the Sierra Nevada near Gűejar Sierra.

Nettle-tree Butterfly (Libythea celtis).
As it was Pam and Johns full day so we asked them where they would like to go and Pam said she would like to have a walk along the old tram line where John and I had been the day before. We parked by the river and checked the marginal areas where there were again lots of  Southern Marbled (Carcharodus baeticus) and Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri), False Mallow / Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus tripolinus / alceae), Holly (Celastrina argiolus) and Long-tailed Blue (Lampides baeticus), Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius), Small White (Pieris rapae), Comma ("C" blanca / Polygomum c-album) and Spanish Purple Hairstreak (Laeosopis roboris) as well as Large Pincertail (Onychogomphus uncatus) and Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator).
Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) in a nest in one of the tunnels.
We walked up on to the road and then went through the tunnel out on to the track along the river, on the Broom and Bramble bushes we recorded Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Spanish Marbled White (Medioluto Inés / Melanargia ines), Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Large White (Pieris brassicae) and Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / Argynnis pandora) and a very smart male Common Golden Ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii subsp algirica).
We came to a damp area on the roadside and found a nice male Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) and literally 100s of Southern Marbled Skippers, a single Nettle-tree Butterfly (Libythea celtis) which was particularly pleasing as I had not got the camera on one before, Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Bath (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) and Black-veined White (Banca del Majuelo / Aporia crataegi).
We made a stop at one of the bars and had a couple of drinks before making our way back down the track towards the car adding Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe) and two Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychlorus) and a Grayling (Hipparchia semele).
Grayling (Hipparchia semele).
Birds during the walk included Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) and Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea).
We dropped back down the hill and headed back to the house for a quiet afternoon on the terrace.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A return to the mountains with John whilst Jayne and Pam tour the City.

Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) male.
Jayne, Pam, John and I set off for the City of Granada where Jayne and Pam spent the day whilst John and I headed back up to the 2500 meter mark on Sierra Nevada where we again tried to find some of the higher altitude Butterfly species but it is obvously going to be a late season for them. We could not find either of the target species even though the weather conditions were a lot better than on our last visit a few days ago and again came away from our first site with just a few species including Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Nevada Blue (Plebicula golgus), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and Southern Mountain Argus (Aricia montensis).
Birds included 5x Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus).
Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera).
We also had Mountain Stone Grasshopper (Eumigus monticolus), Carpentor Bee (Xylocopa violacea), Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum minutum), Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Astragalus incanus subsp. nummularioides, Jasione amethystina, Rhamnus myrtifolia and Sierra Nevada Violet (Viola crassiuscula / Violeta de Sierra Nevada).
We dropped down to a lower track where we walked out on to the slope of the ski resort but again in general it was quiet however we Common / Southern (Polyommatus icarus / celina) and Idas Blue (Plebejus idas), Bath (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Large (Pieris brassicae) and Small Whites (Pieris rapae), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri) and Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera). We also saw Digitalis purpurea, Acinos alpinus subsp. meridionales, Aquilegia nevadensis, Gentiana sierrae, Marsh Violet (Viola palustris), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis). 
Aquilegia nevadensis.
Next came lunch as we appeared to be stuck in the area for an hour due to a bike race, whilst we ate we saw a female type Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
We made our wa down the hill and took the old road down off the hill and made our first stop at an area of open grassland amongst the Oaks and Pines where we soon found Lesser Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea trivia), Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Scarce / Spanish Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius / Iphiclides feisthameli) and Dusky Heath (Coenonympha dorus) as well as Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater).
Again we dropped down to a wood spot with a very damp verge where we found just a single spike of the beautiful Robust Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza elata) and lots of flowering Fragrant Clematis (Clematis flammula). On the ash trees along the side of the road we found good numbers of Spanish Purple Hairstreaks (Laeosopis roboris), Iberian Marbled White (Medioluto Ibérica / Melanargia lachesis), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Great Banded Grayling (Rey Moro / Kanetisa circe) and Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni).
Just down the road we stopped again and soon had good views of more Spanish Purple Hairstreaks along with Epipactis fageticola, Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major).
Nevada Blue (Plebicula golgus).
Down by the Rio Genil we made another stop where we checked the rocks by the water looking for puddling butterflies and found a single Nettle-tree Butterfly (Libythea celtis), Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus baeticus), Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / Argynnis pandora), Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Mancha Azul / Satyrium spini), Lulworth (Thymelicus acteon) and Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra) and Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba).
In this area we also had a couple of fly through Dipper (Mirlo Acuático / Cinclus cinclus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and a couple of Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and on the way home just before we arrived we picked up a roosting Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).