Sunday, 17 January 2010

Southern Lakes and Ponds, Granada Province.

Censo Provincial De Láridos Invernantes (Gull Survey).

A group of seven birders from SEO Sierra Nevada met in a cafe on the side of the motoway towards Motril and after a couple of coffees headed out into the campo towards the Embalse de Bermejales. We were carring out checks on Gull numbers on the inland lakes, whilst another small group were checking coastal sites. On the way to the embalse we picking up a couple of Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), singing Corn Bunting (Triguero / Miliaria calandra) and several groups of Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra).
The only down side to the drive was when Antonio spotted the corpse of a Long-eared Owl (Búho Chico / Asio otus) lying in the road. We made a short stop near the embalse where we were shown the winter roost site of an Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo), who was conveniently just visible in a hole in the cliff. Here we also picked up Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Miliaria calandra), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and a couple of noisy Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia). Down by the lake several Great Cormorants (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo) were seen roosting on trees in the margins, three Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and several Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) were out on the water. Then great excitement, our first gull of the day (our only gull of the day) an adult Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) was spotted floating around on a piece of driftwood. Other species seen here included White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) was heard in conifers by the dam. We then moved around the shore a few KMs to view the water from a different location and added Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Water Pipit (Bistita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta) x2, Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and a male Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius).
The next stop was at the small lake to the south of Alhama de Granada, on the way we added Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius).
On the pool there were a few Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and then Juan Pérez Contreras came up with find of the day, a fine male Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca). Also seen here were Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Coal Tits (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
Further up the Cacín Valley we called in at the Embalse de Cacín where again there were no Gulls but 180+ Common Pochard, Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata) x8, Eurasian Coot, many Little and a single Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Great Cormorant and the second good find of the day was a male Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata) found by Juan Francisco Jiménez.
On our way back to Granada we stopped a couple of time near Moraleda and added Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) to the day list.
Along the A92 we again stopped at a spot where I have been seeing an adult Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) for a few weeks but as usual when you take people to see something its not there. Just as we were leaving the A92 and by-passing Santa Fe a group of about 15 Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) were seen in a flooded field in the company of a single adult White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia). We took some photographs of the bird and then made our way back to this mornings start point, said our goodbyes and headed home.
Photographs from the top: Near Embalse de Bermerjales, Embalse de Bermerjales, Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca), Alhama Pool and the White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia).

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