Monday, 19 October 2009

Between Zafarraya, Alhama and Salar, Granada Province.

Raptors on the move.

Jayne and myself were travelling between Zafarraya and home and on the way back took the route through the fields to the North East of the town and then out on to the road to Salar just North of Alhama de Granada and then home. Just after leaving Zafarraya a small falcon flashed across the road flushing several Crested Larks (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and then banking back in front of us. It was a cracking male Merlin (Esmerejón / Falco columbarius) the second I have seen this winter. A little further on we stopped on the side of the road to check out another falcon which was a Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) but whilst we were there Jayne picked up a couple of larger raptors a bit further away which turned out to be Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), these two birds soon turned into 40 and then a second group joined the original birds. The flock now number at least 71 and had started to gain height soar on a new thermal and within a few minutes they were all moving of South West. While we were watching the Vultures we also saw Yellow Wagtails (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), a hundred plus Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Common Magpies (Urraca / Pica pica), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Collared Doves (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis). We then moved out on to the road between Alhama and Salar, I was giving the area another once over hoping to pick up a reported Black-winged Kite. I did not see the Kite but we did pick up Corn Bunting (Triguero / Miliaria calandra), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) x2, Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Meadow Pipits (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis) and Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe). Just before we arrived in Salar another Raptor was seen as it dropped behind some Almond trees, a few seconds after I had stopped hoping for better views it again came above the trees and a new bird was on my Granada list. It was a cracking Red Kite (Milano Real / Milvus milvus) a species I have just missed on several occasions, it was also heading South West.
Photographs from the top: Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).

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