Friday 5 February 2010

Around Puente Genil and Sierra Subbetica, Cordoba Province.

Lagoons and Mountains

Laguna Zónar.
Jayne and I headed out towards Antiquera and then North along the brand new Autovia (complete with subsidence) to Lucena to get a few bits from the centre there. On the way we picked up several Buzzards (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and a couple of Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax) all resting on telegraph poles. Jayne then came out with her well know line of "BIG BIRD", which was flying low over the olives and turned out to be a species I had mentioned only a few minutes earlier, a nice male Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus). 
After time spent in the town we decided that as we had come out this far that we would make a day of it and picked a place nearby that we had not visited before from the road atlas and set off. Puente Genil was just a few KMs away so we were soon there and having a walk around what turned out to be a busy and very interesting town, one which I am sure we will return to.
Large Cuckoo Pint (Arum italicum).
Later we visited the Nature reserve of Laguna Zónar a few KMs to the north, Jayne sat in the car and read her book as it started to spit with rain as we arrived. I walked down to the first hide (only usable hide) and picked up a few nice species including several White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), a single female Tufted Duck (Porrón Monudo / Aythya fuligula), Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina) and Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos). Out on the water there were also good numbers of both Little (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) along with a few Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo). 
A few Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) were skimming low over the water feeding. Other birds seen included Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major). 
Southern Daisy (Bellis cordifolia).
Amongst the Olives and other trees that surrounded the lagoon several plants were just starting to break through, these included Large Cuckoo Pint (Arum italicum), Purple Vipers Bugloss (Echium lycopsis) and Southern Daisy (Bellis cordifolia). I enjoyed the reserve but was disappointed in the viewing and access that was allowed, most of the water remained unchecked. We then started the journey home but went across country via Cabra and Priego de Cordoba, a nice but twisting drive. We did not see a lot except for good numbers of Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki and I spotted the first Orchids of the year, Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca / foresteri).

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