Tuesday, 28 April 2009

El Turro and the Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

Quality and quantity (92 Species).

Dave Jackson a birding friend for nearly 25 years and myself started the day in the Poplar plantaions near the village of Mesia where we heard several Golden Oriole's (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) singing and saw a pair of Wryneck (Torceuello / Junx torquilla) displaying. Both Common (Urraca / Pica pica) and Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo /Cyanopica cyanus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotraustes) were seen in the woods.
Next we headed to an area of mixed agricultural fields near Moraleda de Zafayona, the first birds seen a female Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), with Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix) calling in the near by crop fields. Moving just a few hundred yards down the road and on to a track out into the fields the next bird seen was a fine male Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) in full breeding colours. Whilst we admired him, four Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) did a fly past and several Great Spotted Cuckoos (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) chattered nosily in the nearby almond groves and more Calandra and several Short-toed Larks performed above us.
We then move further along the Cacín Valley picking up Bonelli's (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus fasciatus) and Short-toed Eagles (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops)and Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia). At the Embalse de Cacín, Green Shank (Archibebe Claro / Tringe nebularia), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and six Black winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) were all feeding on the muddy shore line. Sand (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn (Golondrina Cumón / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) plus Pallid (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Alpine Swifts (Vencejo Real / Apus melba) all hawked for prey over the lake.
The next stop was Sierra de Loja for a few of the upland species. Rufous-Tailed Rock (Roquero Rojo / Monticola saxatilis) and Blue Rock Thrushes (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Rock Sparrow and Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) were all added to the growing day list. Also seen were all three species of wheatear, Black (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Black-eared (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) and Northern (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) expected in the area, Tawny Pipit (Bisbita Campestris / Anthus campestris), Spectacled (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) and Dartford Warblers (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata).
We finished the day off back at the house with a drink and Red-necked Nighjars (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Camprimulgus ruficollis) calling in the olives.
Photographs from the top: Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and Rufous-Tailed Rock (Roquero Rojo / Monticola saxatilis).

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