Saturday 24 October 2009

In the garden, Granada Province.

The very local Patch.

Swallowtail (Papilio machaon).
Whist I was sorting a few things out in the garden, I was pleasantly surprised to find a good number of insects still about. A cracking Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) was feeding on our neighbors Buddleia shrub, along with Lang's Short-tailed (Leptotes pirithous) and Long-tailed Blues (Lampides boeticus), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea) and Small White (Blanquita de la Col / Artogeia rapae). Then by the gate a large dragonfly whizzed passed and then lingered for a few seconds, just long enough for me to be sure that it was a new species for our garden, a female Blue / Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea).

Thursday 22 October 2009

Zafarraya, Pantaneta de Alhama and in between, Granada Province.

Well what a day for birding.

Thekl Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
I set off to meet the birders from the Axarquia bird group for the first time in a howling gale and heavy rain. On the way the weather improved a bit so I stopped at a couple of places on the way, on the fields between Salar and Alhama I picked up several Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Crested (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), along with Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Miliaria calandra) and Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
Rainbow near Zafarraya.
I went to the meeting point but I was quite early so I went and had a coffee and tostado in the bar nearby. Later I returned to the car park and started to sort the optics out of the boot as the rain had died down from torrents to just dam heavy, whilst doing this several more Rock Sparrows were seen and heard and at least two Alpine Accentor's (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis) flew over calling in the low cloud. Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) were also seen.
Then to my surprise through the heavy rain three vehicles appeared loaded with intrepid / mad birders from several places along the coast. We allquickly decided to beat a retreat to the bar again and had a coffee and every body was introduced to each other by Bob Wright.
After a while we made our way to the first site in the fields behind Zafarraya where we picked up Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra).
The next stop was at Pantaneta de Alhama a small pool near the end of the Alhama Gorge, Here we picked up Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), several Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) on the pool and on the opposite back we heard a Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei) calling. Over the pool several hundred Barn Swallows, a few Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and a single House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) were feeding. In the trees around the pool Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) and Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) were all heard and seen.
Later we made a stop at the end of the Alhama Gorge and walked along the stream a little way, here we saw a hundred plus Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Blackcap, Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula) and Mistle Thrush.
Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).
Our last stop was back at the meeting point where the weather had cleared up. We walked along the old railway line for a few hundred meters to a point just passed the tunnel seeing several Black-eared Wheatears (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), a single Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia).
I then left the group to go and enjoy their Menu del dia in the local bar and made my way home via the fields north of Zafarraya and the Salar road. On the return trip I saw similar species to the drive over plus Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and on the local patch 211 + Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Stone-curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and a couple of Water Pipits (Bisbita Alpino /Anthus spinoletta) on the river with both White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Grey Wagtail. Once I was back at the house a large flock of Iberian  Magpie 70+ birds flew out of the fruit trees in our neighbors garden.

Monday 19 October 2009

Between Zafarraya, Alhama and Salar, Granada Province.

Raptors on the move.

Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus).
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. 
Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
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 Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Iberian 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), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), 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 Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei). 
Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
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 (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus). 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). 
Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).
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.

Sunday 18 October 2009

Balsa de Regidor, Moraleda de Zafayona and Riofrio, Granada Province.

Local birding again.

Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
We started the day by visiting the Car boot sale at Moraleda de Zafayona, not something we do very often but we needed a couple of things. On the way back we stopped at the man made lake on the side of the A92 called Balsa de Regidor. The main reason was to see if there were any late flying Dragonflies but the simple anwser to that was NO. On the lake there were several Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus). A single Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) X4 and Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) X10+ were all seen perched on the many large logs around the margins.
Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus).
Other birds seen included Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Grey (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos).
In the afternoon wewent to the small village of Riofrio for a walk along the river along with a great many other people. Here we saw Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Grey Wagtail, Mallard and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla).