Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Huetor Fields and Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

A visitor from the West, Well from over Ronda way.


I spent a very enjoyable few hours birding with Pieter Verheij the CEO of Spanish Nature Wildlife Holidays. I met Pieter at the Hotel Cortijo de Tájar just off the A92 at Junction 203 and we made our way out on to the agricultural areas around the town of Huétor Tájar where Pieter was hoping for the chance to photograph the wintering flock of Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).
The first area checked produce on about 20 Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba). We then moved on and found the Bustards in an Lucerne field near by, Pieter was out of the vehicle and the camera was soon in action, whilst I did a count which reach 205+. Once Pieter was happy we moved on along the many farm tracks in the area seeing Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer Montanus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
The next stop was on the outskirts of the town on a part harvested field of lettuce, here we managed to connect with a flock of at least 70 Stone-curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and again Pieter’s camera was at work. Also seen in the area were more Lapwings, Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
In the afternoon we decided to have a drive up Sierra de Loja, this decision was immediately rewarded with views of an Immature Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) and the distant calls of several Alpine Accentor's (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis). Further up the Sierra we made another stop and added Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus). Once we reached the higher levels we started to see Ring Ouzel (Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus) and by the end of the day about 25 birds had been seen. Also up on the tops we picked up a late female Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Miliaria calandra) and several Redwings (Zorzal Alirrojo / Turdus iliacus).
During the day we also saw Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Capra pyrenaica), Small (Blanquita de la Col / Artogeia rapae) and Bath Whites (Blanquiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).
Photographs from the top: Pieter, Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Small White (Blanquita de la Col / Artogeia rapae) and Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).

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