Saturday, 12 December 2009

Motril area, Granada Province.

RAM, Motril Port and Charca de Suárez.

This month the RAM was put back to the second weekend of the month due to a couple of Spanish holidays. Juan and I set off from Granada at just after seven and arrived down at Cabo Sacratif to the East of Motril where we set up looking over a flat calm sea. The see watching did not produce the numbers but we did see a couple of good species. Arctic Skua (Págalo Parásito / Stercorarius parasiticus) x1 and Great Skua (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua) x3 were probably the highlight of the couple of hours spent on the headland. We also picked up a single Cory's (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea) and good numbers of Balearic Shearwaters (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus), Razorbill (Alca Común / Alca torda), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) and a pair of Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and a small group of Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba) also passed by. Along the cliffs Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) were all seen. Amongst the vegetation I picked up a single Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous).
The next stop was the fish docks at Motril, where we had more access that usual now that Juan had managed to get a letter of permission to enter the areas behind the barriers. Several Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) with rings on were recorded along with more Black-headed, Yellow-legged and Mediterranean Gulls, Sandwich Tern, Sanderling and Great Cormorant. New birds included Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falcotinnunculus).
We moved on later than expected to Charca de Suárez for a quick look at the pools, fortunately Manolo the warden was not in any hurry so we had a good couple of hours there, some of the time spent in the restricted access photographic hide where the light direction is much better. By the gate we saw several Speckled Woods (Pararge aegeria), a single tatty Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and Small White (Artogeia rapae). At the first hide Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) and Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) were all added to the growing list. We moved around to the hide on the long pool where Purple Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio) was calling from the reed beds, along with Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and White Wagtail. In the distance a single White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) was picked up soaring, eventually it passed right over head. We then made our way around to the main hide picking up a couple of Southern Tree Frogs (Ranita Meridional / Hyda meridionalis) sitting out in the sun. Once in the hide the species flowed again, we picked up Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Eurasian Wigeon (Silbón Europeo / Anas Penelope), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata) and a single Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), Eurasian Coot and Common Moorhen. Out on the pool we also picked up a single female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis).

Photographs from the top: Looking West from Cabo Sacratif, Ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), Long Pool at Charca de Suárez, Southern Tree Frog (Ranita Meridional / Hyda meridionalis) and Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus).

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