Saturday 17 October 2009

Shopping on the coast on a Saturday, Malaga Province.

Learn from your mistakes.

Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
Because of commitments later in the week we decided that we would go down to Leroy Merlin's and a couple of other places on the outskirts of Malaga and pick up a few bits and pieces, what a mistake. A large percentage of the population of Malaga Province also decided to do the same thing. After queing to get out of the first place we change our minds and headed inland via Catamar and stopped for a while at the bridge over the Rio Grande on the way up the first bird seen was a cracking dark morph Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) flying low over the road. 
On the margins of the river several White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Meadow Pipits (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis) and Linnets (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) were bathing and feeding. 
Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea).
Half a dozen adult and juvenile Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) x5 and a single Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) were on the muddy areas between the rocks. A single Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and several Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) were feeding on the banks along with Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and Cetti's Warblers (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti). 
Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysosigma).
Dragonflies were every where, hundreds of Broad Scarlet’s (Crocothemis erythraea) and Red-veined Darts (Sympetrum fonscolombii) skimmed low over the river, with a few Epaulet Skimmers (Orthetrum chrysosigma), Lesser (Anax parthenope) and Common / Blue Emperor (Anax imperator) also present.

Friday 16 October 2009

A Mornings Birding, Granada Province.

Road to Alhama de Granada and the local patch.

Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa).
After getting some information from John a birder in Salar that he had seen a Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) at KM18 on the Salar to Alhama, I set off not hopeful as John had said it was being pushed about by a Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus). I arrived at the site and picked up several Common Kestrels and as expected there was no sign of the Kite. A flock of Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) landed nosily in a newly harvested field a hundred yards away, Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) and Crested Larks (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) were also seen along with large numbers of Corn Buntings (Triguero / Miliaria calandra) and Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia). 
Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).
Heading back towards Salar Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Common Magpies (Urraca / Pica pica), Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) were all added to the list.
Arriving back on my own patch, I soon found the Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) flock again and with a little bit of a bouncy drive along one of the farm tracks I was able to get decent views for a count. 183 birds were in the flock along with 8 Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) and 3 Stone-curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus).  
Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).
Meadow Pipits (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis) and more Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) were moving around the fields and at least 20 Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) were passing through low. In the back of the field a small group of Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) were following a tractor with a hay turner, feeding on the mass of insects he was disturbing. About five minutes later he turned on to the field where the Bustards were and flushed the lot!

Near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

Moths Records.

Ni Moth (Trichoplusia ni).
Episema glaucina.
I used the 15 Watt Actinic trap and as expected the catch was small mainly comprising of The Vestal (Rhodometra sacraria) 10+, Pale Shoulder (Acontia lucida) x2, Small Mottled Willow (Spodoptera exigua), Black Rustic (Aporophyla nigra) x1, Episema glaucina x6, Ni Moth (Trichoplusia ni) x1, Small Marbled (Eublemma parva), Feathered Ranunculus (Polymixis lichenea), Cladocerotis optabilis and Palpita unionalis.
Black Rustic (Aporophyla nigra).

Thursday 15 October 2009

Another trip to the local shops, Granada Province.

Little Bustards and other new winter arrivals.

Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus).
On the way back from Huetor Tajar I took the cross country route and immediately found the missing Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) flock, now 105+ birds on a lucerne field along with 28 Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) and 5 Golden Plovers (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaia). Several Crested Larks (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) were calling in the area and the last few Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) were around. 
White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
Along the river several White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), a Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and a flock of 70+ Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) were seen. 
I then drove over to the area where the Bustards are usually seen just to confirm that the flock had not spilt. 
Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
There were no Bustards but large numbers of Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra) were perched up in the Lucerne (50+) and a small flock of Meadow Pipits (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis) flew in calling.

Monday 12 October 2009

Trip to the dentist and the coast, Malaga Province.

Rio Velez, Torre-del-Mar.

Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Reidora / Lanus ridibundus).
We set off this morning to go to Puente Don Manuel in the valley between Zafarraya and Velez Malaga where Jayne had an appointment with the dentist. After a good visit we headed off south to the shopping centre at Velez Malaga where we had some lunch. I then headed off to the Rio Velez, not a place I enjoy birding but it would be a shame not to go as we were in the area. 
Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis).
I first stopped near the beach on the western side of the river and had a look up stream where I picked up Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), a single male Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) and a couple of roosting Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo). On the sea there were a few Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Black-headed (Gaviota Reidora / Lanus ridibundus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and a single Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus). On the marginal blanket weed several Iberian Bluetails (Ischnura graellsii) were seen and Lesser (Anax parthenope) and Blue Emperors (Anax imperator) were very common.

Common Darter (Sympertrum striolatum).
I then drove around to the eastern banks of the river and again both Emperors were common along with Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata), Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea) and Common Darter (Sympertrum striolatum). The birding highlights on this shore included a male Red Avadavat (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava), at least two Bluethroats (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) one with a nice bright throat still. Also seen were Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), lots of Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and a few Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata). 
Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta).
Several species of butterfly were seen during the visit, they included Long-tailed Blues (Lampides boeticus), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea), Small (Blanquita de la Col / Artogeia rapae) and Large Whites (Blanca de la Col / pieris brassicae).
On the way home across the fields north of Zafarraya, some good flocks of Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and Corn Buntings (Triguero / Miliaria calandra) were noted, along with Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Common Magpies (Urraca / Pica pica) and Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs). 
Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea).
As we were nearing home a small flock of Cattle Egret x 35 (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Stone Curlew x15 (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) were seen.