Saturday, 9 January 2010

RAM sea bird survey, Motril fish docks and Charca de Suárez, Granada Province.

Freezing my optics off on the coast.

Set off from the car park in Granada with Juan at 07:15 and made our way down to Cabo Sacratif to the East of Motril where we set up the equipment in the freezing wind just as the sun started to rise. By the start time at 08:30 I was already cold and by the time we had both been sat there for 2 hours, parts of our bodies had stopped functioning and just getting out of the chair was an ordeal. Good numbers of birds passed by mostly heading west into the wind, they included a couple of species we had not expected, both of which were new species for my province list. The first were a group of four Avocets (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta) flying low over the sea and they were closely followed by two Red Knot (Correlimos Gordo / Calidris canutus) also heading west, two Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) also surprised us by passing out at sea, one a good km off shore. Other species seen included Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Great Skua (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and two Golden Plovers (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaia) which were set upon by the local Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) their fate is unknown as we lost them around the next headland. The usual Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) were all seen during the time there.
We then visited the fish docks at Motril Port to try and read some of the rings on the Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) but the only concentrations were flushed by an Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus), just as we arrived and did not settle with in range of our scopes.
The last stop as usual was at Charca de Suárez where we bumped into Manolo the warden in the first hide where he and a colleague were doing some maintainance work. He offered Juan the keys to the scientific (photographic) hide, so we made our way there as the light would be perfect of getting some shots of the birds on the main lake. Infront of the hide we soon picked up a single winter plumaged Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), a male Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Eurasian Wigeon (Silbón Europeo / Anas Penelope), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) along with several more species. On the way home Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falcotinnunculus), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) were added to a good list. I dropped Juan ff again in Granada and headed home calling at the Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) site on the way, there was no sign of the Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) flock seen yesterday but the Kite was seen hunting over the large area of waste ground next to the motorway along with a huge flock Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), 200+ birds of each species at least, Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falcotinnunculus) and a great many Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita). Photographs from the top: Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita).

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