Thursday, 14 June 2018

Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

An hour in the afternoon heat down on the Local Patch.

Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
Even though it was the first really warm day we have had for a while I decided to pop down on to the Fields, as I drove down I picked up the first of 8 Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) which was sat on wires at the roadside. Before I reached the Arroyo I also added Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus).
On the western end of the Arroyo I found a pair of Common Moorhens (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Collared Doves (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), a calling Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) which remained hidden amongst the Olives and just up on the bank on the far side a pair of Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) which are breeding in a cereal crop which is great but worrying as the crop looks ready for harvesting and the young are probably not ready to fledge. Hopefully the messages sent out have reached the right people who look after this species in the area and someone will come out and mark the nest before disaster strikes.
Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur).
Also seen along the bank were Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula). 
Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes).
On the Eastern end of the Arroyo I stopped along the side of the water with a large Poplar plantation where I could instantly hear a couple of singing Golden Orioles (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), a third bird flew in to the larger wood from a single tree on my side of the water.
Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) adult.
In this area I also had Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), several really bright male Greenfinches (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and a very smart summer plumaged Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) which was hanging around southern Spain rather later than usual.
Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) adult.
Further on I had more Turtle Doves down on the gravel margin along with a pair of Hawfinches (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes) whch were feeding on Thistles on the far bank. 
Other species seen along this stretch were Stripe-necked Terrapins (Mauremys leprosa), Perez's Frog (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi), Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus), White Mignonette (Reseda Alba), Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris), Carpentor Bee (Xylocopa violacea), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Small (Pieris rapae) and Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), a couple of adult and immature Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), 5x Common Waxbills (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) immature.
My last stop as t was getting quite warm was down at the model aircraft air stripe where I finished the list off with European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) and Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla).
Back at the house I had a quick look n the garden and picked up a singing Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) and Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major).

E-bird list at https://ebird.org/spain/view/checklist/S46542800

Monday, 4 June 2018

Realenga, Huétor Tajar, Granada Province.

Mothing.

0465 Myrmecozella ataxella.
0465 Myrmecozella ataxella x1, 5436 Marasmarcha lunaedactyla (Crescent Plume) x1, 6531 Udea ferrugalis (Rusty Dot Pearl) x2,  x1, 8127 Idaea Calunetaria x1, 8965 Tyta luctuosa (The Four-spotted) x1, 9100 Acontia lucida (Pale Shoulder) x1, 9340 Aegle vespertinalis x1, 9350 Synthymia fixa (The Gold Wing) x1, 9367 Heliothis peltigera (Bordered Straw) x2, 9460 Spodoptera exigua (Small Mottled Willow) x1,
5436 Marasmarcha lunaedactyla (Crescent Plume).
8127 Idaea Calunetaria.
9340 Aegle vespertinalis.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Realenga, Huétor Tajar, Granada Province.

Mothing.

0678 Tinea basifasciella.
A quiet night but it was cool and wind so not really surprising. 0320 Pseudopostega chalcopepla x1, 0678 Tinea basifasciella x1, 6531 Udea ferrugalis (Rusty Dot Pearl) x1, 6719 Nomophila noctuella (Rush Veneer) x3, 7564 Itame vincularia x1, 8186 Idaea degeneraria (Portland Ribbon Wave) x1, 9433 Caradrina clavipalpis (Pale Mottled Willow) x3, 9454 Hoplodrina ambigua (Vine's Rustic) x1, 10003 Mythimna vitellina (The Delicate) x1, 10029 Mythimna sicula x1 and 10029 Mythimna sicula x1.
0320 Pseudopostega chalcopepla.
8186 Idaea degeneraria (Portland Ribbon Wave).
9454 Hoplodrina ambigua (Vine's Rustic).
10003 Mythimna vitellina (The Delicate).
10029 Mythimna sicula.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Dehesa del Generalife, Granada Province.

An evening of watching and listening to Nocturnal birds.

Juan, Chika amd Myself looking out over the City of Granada taken by Beatriz.
I had a great evening with Jayne and good friends Juan Pérez Contreras, his wife Beatriz and their dog Chika up in the woodlands above the Alhambra. Once we were up there we had a evening picnic at one of the tables seeing and hearing Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula).
Chika waiting for my apple core.
Dusk fell and almost straight away we were hearing the first of 5 Scop's Owls (Autillo Europeo / Otus scops) calling down in the valley below us along with Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) x3. Next came the firsts of 4 Red-necked Nightjars (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis), closely followed by a calling European Nightjar (Chotacabras Europeo / Caprimulgus europaeus) which was a Granada Province tick for me. Later we had good views of a second European Nightjar which flew around us calling in flight and we heard 2 Eagle Owls (Buho Real / Bubo bubo) on the crags below us. We finished off the evening with some stunning night time views over the city.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Campo de Golf Channel, Malaga Province.

An hour with some special dragons.

Dark Spreadwings (Lestes macrostigma).
On our way to do some shopping in Malaga area I managed an hour in a ditch with quite a few Dark Spreadwings (Lestes macrostigma) but they were very flighty and difficult to get some shots of.
In the same area there were loads of teneral Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and quite a few Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii) of different colour phases.
Dark Spreadwings (Lestes macrostigma).
In the same area there were Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
Dark Spreadwings (Lestes macrostigma).
There were also a few butterflies including Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Small White (Pieris rapae) and Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina).
Female teneral Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
Male teneral Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
Female teneral Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii) female.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Loja Area, Granada Province.

Another Granada Province Lifer.

After getting some info from friend Juan Pérez Contreras about a Great Bustard (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda) that was reported in Granada Province and not far feom me I drove out to the site and scanned the fields. I could not find the bird from the spot given so I relocated to a bit of higher ground but still I could not find any sign of it. I was about to go home but decided to stop at the first layby again and after a few minutes I found it in a patch of weeds on the side of a strip of unplanted ground. It showed for a while before sitting down and disappeared, it did this several times and was out of view when Juan got there but he did see it after I had gone.
Really bad shot of the Bustard with the phone through the scope.
In the area I also saw Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Collared (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator),
Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), a pair of Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) and a hunting Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).

Monday, 21 May 2018

Moraleda Fields, Sierra de Loja and travelling.

Out on the patch with Brian from the UK.

I picked Brian up and we headed for the patch, on the way we started the list with Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
The first site was out on to the fields near to Moraleda, on the way from the motorway to the spot we saw Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica).
Once we were out on the fields we went out to a disuase cortijo and had views of a Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) and then started to scanned the areas that had been harvested and after a while we heard and then saw a group of 5 Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which flew in calling but took off again before I had the chance to get the scope on them, however we had very good flight views.
In the same area we had a calling Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and just along the track we drove out on to the stubble and whilst watching Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) we heard a rasping Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) which we eventually located in a weedier patch of the field hiding but still calling. We continued on around the site picking up Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).
As we dropped off the site we got good views of a couple of Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and near a large area of disused Almond groves we parked and had a walk looking for Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius). We walked out crossing a small valley and out on to the top of the next deeper one with Almonds on the far bank, here we heard but did not see a Great Spotted Cuckoo and also picked up Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) as well as Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla) and a rapid flying Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) which went through so fast I did not get Brian on to it. Wild flowers seen on this site included Andalusian Storksbill (Erodium recorderi), Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum major), Eruca (Eruca sativa), Field Madder (Sherardia arvensis), Field marigold (Calendula arvensis), Ground-pine Germander (Teucrium pseudochamaepitys), Mallow-leaved Bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides), Mediterranean Catchfly (Silene colorata), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum) and Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum).
We continued off the site and headed for the lower slopes of Sierra de Loja where the main target was the usually quite easy Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) which we eventually found on the slopes with several Sardinian's, Common Stonechat, Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Pyramidal Orchid (Orquidea Pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia), Brown Bluebell (Jacinto bastardo / Dipcadi serotinum), Boar Thistle (Galactites tomentosa), Chickweed (Cerastium boissieri), Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Navel-wort (Omphalodes commutata), Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum), Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba), Small White (Pieris rapae), a very tatty Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes) and several Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe).
The rains started as we were leaving the site, from here we headed down the road to a site for Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) and we soon had several birds in front of us floating around looking very smart.
We next started to headed back towards Brian's accommodation, on the way just before reaching his place we stopped in some pine woods and listened to what was about. In the valley below we heard Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) and in the woods Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus).
Right at the top of the drive way down we again stopped as there were loads of Common and Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) in the are above us along with a pale phase Booted Eagle. In the trees and bushes around the house we had Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes) heard only, a calling male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) and a fly passed Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli). After a while I said goodbye to Brian and headed back home.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Arroyo Marin, Llanos de Antequera, Laguna Herrera, sensitive site, Fuente de Piedra, Laguna Dulce, Teba crags and other Campillos Laguna's, Malaga Province.

A great days birding with Tatiana and Mehdi from Switzerland with 90+ species seen.

Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes).
Today I was again going to be birding with Tatiana and Mehdi and what a day we had. On my way to the meeting point I picked up Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Collared (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli).
I was at the meeting point a bit early so I stood and watched and listened to what was about, in the 20 mins or so I was there I saw Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae). One of the nearby fields looked amazing and pink as it was full of the beautiful Wild Gladiolus (Gladiolus illyricus) in full flower along with the yellow spikes of Linaria hirta and on the other side of the road a mass of brilliant red Corn Poppy's (Papaver rhoeas).
Rufous Bush Robin (Alzacola / Cercotrichas galactotes).
Tatiana and Mehdi arrived and we were soon on our way to the nearby Arroyo Marin near Archidona where we parked and had a walk, near the car we had a singing Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) over the crags above us, several Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) which were reusing old burrows dug by European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and a male Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
Lesser Yellowlegs (Archibebe Patigualdo Chico /Tringa flavipes).
As we started to walk along the track Tatiana picked up a very nice female Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) which was on the edge of the track collecting nest material, we also saw a fly over Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and a couple of Red-legged Partridges (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) which flushed from the side of the track and went out into the Olives.
Lesser Yellowlegs (Archibebe Patigualdo Chico /Tringa flavipes).
Further along the track we heard and the saw two Wrynecks (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) and a very confiding female Hawfinch which picked small insects from the Oak tree above us.
On the verges of the track we found some Orchids and other wild flowers which included Bee (Ophrys apifera) and Yellow Bee Orchids (Orquídea Abejera / Ophrys lutea), Blue Alkanet (Anchusa azurea), Blue Hounds-tongue (Cynoglossum creticum), Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum carinatum), Ground-pine Germander (Teucrium pseudochamaepitys), Mallow-leaved Storksbill (Erodium malacoides), Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Navel-wort (Omphalodes commutata), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum) and Red Phlomis (Phlomis purpurea).
Lesser Yellowlegs (Archibebe Patigualdo Chico /Tringa flavipes).
As we walked back to the car we scanned the Arroyo adding Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), a cracking male Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and last of all a singing male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius).
Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
Our next stop was out on the fields near Antequera on one of the tracks, on the way there we saw Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and out on the fields we saw Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Crested and Calandra Larks, Yellow Wagtail, Turtle Dove and at the junction further out we had two Ravens (Cuervo / Corvus corax) sat on a pylon. We decided to drive back to the main road along the track passed the fields where Laguna Herrera had been in the past and we were very surprised to find some water there along with a few waders including a really smart summer plumaged Red Knot ( Correlimos Gordo / Calidris canutus), several Ringed (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) and at least 3x Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), 3x Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina) and 2x Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus). On the wires, bushes and thistle heads we had several Melodious Warblers, Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and rattling Serins (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and on the ground near one of the ditches some newly hatched Perez's Frogs (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi) and Common Toads (Bufo bufo) which made walking difficult as there were dozens of the latter.
Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta).
Once we were back at the main road we drove along the motorway to a site not too far away where we checked an area of Vineyards and soon had a supurb male Rufous Bush Robin (Alzacola / Cercotrichas galactotes) which was singing from wires nearby and then a second pair which were in a different area of vines on the opposite side of the road where the male sang from a small Quince tree.
Also in the area we had a fine Hoopoe which was sitting nicely until it was flushed by a group of passing cyclists, Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus).
Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
We again hit the motorway and drove on to Fuente de Piedra seeing Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) on the way, once there we stopped along the entrance road and scanned the pool seeing more Black-winged Stilts, Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), several Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and then bird of the day which was a North America wader, a Lesser Yellowlegs (Archibebe Patigualdo Chico /Tringa flavipes) which was a Spanish Lifer for me. I was pleased to get some shots as the bird was flushed when someone slammed a car door a bit too close to the pool, as we were watching it I was quite sure what it was but started to doubt it as it seemed so unlikely but a few minutes after posting a back of camera shot on a whattsapp birding site it was confirmed.
Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
We parked and the scanned the pools and main lake from the Mirador where we added Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), several more Black-winged Stilts, Avocets and Dunlin. Below us in the reeds a Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) was rasping out its song along with the commoner Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and out on the main lake amongst the thousands of Greater Flamingo's there was a lone Black Tern (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger) feeding low over the water.
Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
From the first hide we did a bit of Dragonfly watching and picked up Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii), Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum) and at least three Dark Spreadwings (Lestes macrostigma).
Around in the big hide we scanned the larger of the freshwater lagoons finding White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Little (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) plus many of the species already listed.
Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica).
We went back around to the Miridor and then back around to the car checking for Dragonflies in the ditches on the way but found none, however we did see Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Black-veined White (Banca del Majuelo / Aporia crataegi), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus) and Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa).
Egyptian Goose (Ganso del Nilo / Alopochen aegyptiaca).
We then went and found a bar (eventually) where we could get just a snack, most were just doing full menu's and had lunch before going down the Eastern side of the laguna where we made a stop to check through the thousands of Greater Flamingo's at the far end of the lake but added nothing new. Just along the road towards Campillos we found some stunning  European Bee-eaters which showed brilliantly, fly all around us giving great views.
Our next stop was at a quiet Laguna Dulce were there were lots of Eurasian Coot, Common Moorhen, Black-necked and Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Red-crested and Common Pochards, Reed and Cetti's Warblers and a distant and brief male Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus).
Egyptian Goose (Ganso del Nilo / Alopochen aegyptiaca).
We dropped down to the south of Campillos and scanned the cliffs of Sierra de Penarrubia from the raptor watch point car park, in the time we had before the rain started we saw  Alpine (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Common and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Crag Martin, Sardinian Warbler but not a single Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus).
We went up to the nearby Vulture feeding station but again there were no birds there, mostly due to the worsening weather I think.
We continued on along this road which circled back to Campillos and stopped in an area of pine woods but apart from a male Sardinian Warbler we did not see anything else before the rain returned again.
Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus) snorkling !!
We then stopped at a flooded field which was probably once Laguna de Toro which held a good selection of birds including Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus), 2x Egyptian Geese (Ganso del Nilo / Alopochen aegyptiaca) and a pair of calling / displaying Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), all of which were new for the day list. At the spot we also had more Greater Flamingo's, Mallard, Common and Red-crested Pochards, a male Shoveler, Little Ringed Plover, Black Winged Stilt, Avocet, Gull-billed Tern and Black-headed Gulls.
Our last stop was at Laguna de Capacete, we did not add anything new to the list but had good views of three White-headed Ducks as well as Black-necked Grebes, Great Reed Warbler, Eurasian Coot and a Common Buzzard.
As we drove passed another flooded field we added the last species of the day a Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), before we headed back to the meeting point.
Thank you Tatiana and Mehdi for a cracking day and for taking the time to do me a Trip Advisor review. Looking forward to our next das birding, all the very baest Mick.

Fuente de Piedra, Malaga Province.

Self found Spanish Lifer for my list.

Whilst out with Tatiana and Mehdi from Switzerland we called in at Fuente to look for some waders and it paid off big time when I found a summer plumaged Lesser Yellowlegs (Archibebe Patigualdo Chico /Tringa flavipes) which showed well for a few minutes on the Laguna on the left of the entrance road before flying off when someone slammed a door on their car. The bird looked as though it flew off over to the fresh water pool but I don't think it was seen again as far as I know.


Friday, 18 May 2018

Sierra de Loja, Venta de Raya, Granada Province.

Up on my favourite hill with John and Jenny from the UK.

Jenny and John at the far end of the hill.
I meet Jenny and John just down the road at La Paz holiday home (Vivenda Rural) and then we made our way out across the fields near Huétor on our way up to Sierra de Loja, on the way we picked up Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) which were flying into a ruined building and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) which crossed the road with food in its bill and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia).
We went along the motorway and then came round to the service area calling in at a roadside spot where we had great views of a colony of European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), a couple of Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) which flew in to the Olive groves above the bank where the Bee-eaters and several pairs of Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) where also nesting in old nest burrows.
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
 Once we were on the hill and on the dirt track to the lowest quarry we saw Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), food carrying Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) along with several different wild flowers on the bank Mediterranean Catchfly (Silene colorata), Mallow-leaved Bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides), Navel-wort (Omphalodes commutata), Pitch Trefoil (Psoralea bituminosa), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Rabbits bread (Andryala integrifolia), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum), Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum major), Rosy garlic (Allium roseum), Yellow Phlomis (Phlomis lychnitis), White Mignonette (Reseda Alba), Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum), Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), Eruca (Eruca sativa), Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) and Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum).
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
We made it to the low quarry and almost straight away we had a female Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) which was feeding in amongst the rock and was later it was joined by the male and a youngster. As we watched the Wheatears we had 5 Common Crossbills (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) fly around above us and then land in some pines nearby, next came House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), more Barn Swallows, Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus).
Next we made our way up on to the main mountain and headed right over to the far side picking up Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Rock Sparrow, Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
At the furthest point along the far crags we soon found a cracking male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) which showed extreamly well along with a female which was still collecting material for the nest. We also found male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) down on the pools below us, calling Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) as well as lots of Yellow Rockrose (Helianthemum nummularium), Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria) and Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis).
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We turned around and started our journey back down the hill, on the way we stopped at an area which was covered in a massive carpet of Andalusian Storksbill (Erodium recorderi) and on the rocks some nice patches of Erodium cheilanthifolium and another male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush and a couple more Blue Rock Thrishes.
Along the crags we had a couple of Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and a group of Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).
Further down the track we stopped at the pools at Charca del Negra where we saw several Sharp-ribbed Salamander (Pleurodeles waltl) coming up for breath amongst the Pond Water Crowsfoot (Ranunculus Peltatus), in the area we also found Saxifraga Camposii, White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum), Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis) and Shining Cranesbill (Geranium lucidum).
Erodium cheilanthifolium.
In a dell just down the track we stopped and checked this spot which was very sheltered and soon found the first butterflies including Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) and Small White (Pieris rapae) as well as Upland Peony (Paeonia coriacea), Viola dementria, Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata ssp pullata), Red Phlomis (Phlomis purpurea) and Iris Subbiflora.
Upland Peony (Paeonia coriacea).
We again dropped down to near the large marble quarry where we had great views of a singing Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) which came up in a Broom bush.
Iris Subbiflora.
Our final stop on the hill was along the track near the entrance to the lower quarry, here we saw a few
Knapweed Fritillariers (Melitaea phoebe), Moroccan Orange-tip (Anthocharis belia), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), more singing Spectacled Warblers, Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Pyramidal Orchid (Orquidea Pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia), over with Southern Wild Tulip (Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis), White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum), Wild Gladiolus (Gladiolus illyricus), Common Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum) and right on to of the ridge above us a Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica). 
Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
We dropped down off the mountain and went for some lunch in Venta del Raya before heading just down the road where we had brilliant views of at least 7 male and 5 female Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) one of which was a stunning looking melanistic male bird.
Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata).
In the same area we had Turtle and Collared Dove, Hoopoe and Woodchat Shrike, Hoary Cress (Cardaria draba), Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris) and lots of Small and Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice).
Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus).