Pam, John and myself set out for a days birding along the Cacín valley. We started the day where the Rio Cacín joins the Rio Genil at Villanueva Mesia and the first birds seen as we climbed out of the car were a family party of Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotraustes). The adult male was feeding a fledgling on the branch of a Poplar Tree. Several Golden Orioles (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) and a Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla) were calling from the plantation trees, both species were seen briefly in flight. Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) and Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) were also seen.
We then moved on to an agricultural area to the south and soon picked up woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla). Taking a dirt track between the fields and Almond groves we soon came across two female Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), and a pair of Common Magpies (Urraca / Pica pica) with five young Great Spotted Cuckoos (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) pestering them to be feed. A pair and then another single Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) flew across the site just before we left to go and have a look at the Embalse de Cacín.
At the lake we picked up several more juv Great Spotted Cuckoos, Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis).
We moved further on down the valley and stopped above the gorge and watched a Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus) as it soared up out of the valley very close to us and away North. Juv Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Alpine Swift (Vencejo Real / Apus melba) all went on to the days list.
We then started the return journey back along the Rio Cacín and stopped at a bridge near El Turro. Here Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) and Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) were heard and Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) were all seen.
On the cliffs just to the North of El Turro we were lucky enough to find two adult and at least one juv Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo), all out in the open sunning them selves, quite a sight.Our last stop of the day was at Balsa de Regidor near Moraleda de Zafayona which has just recently been very quiet but to day we managed to pick up Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Pochard, Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Golden Oriole.
Photographs from the top: Cortijo de las Capitanas, Juv Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo).