Our monthly RAM survey and visit to the Fish Docks and Charca.
Juan and I made our monthly trip down to Cabo Sacratif, starting out in the dark from Granada and heading south along the new Autovia. Dawn broke whist we travelled and by the time we reached the coast road birds were starting to emerge. The first species noted was a Merlin (Esmerejón / Falco columbarius) moving out from its roost no doubt looking for some unfortunate small prey. Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) were also moving out into the fields and marshes in quite large numbers and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) scampered around on the roads and verges feeding. We arrived at the sea watch site and immediately picked up Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) all singing their hearts out, made you think spring is well on its way. Up on the rock Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) were also singing and as we were setting our selves up a Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) flew passed carrying prey back towards the cliffs. We then started the two hour sea watch picking up the usual Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) only in small numbers, many Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), unusually large numbers of Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), a few Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and three Great Skuas (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua) two of which were quite near shore. All in all a quiet but much warmer RAM than last month. The Fish docks were also quiet today except for the fishermen hanging their catches out to dry. We noted good numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Great Cormorants and a few Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta) and Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) were roosting out on the main breakwater. The final visit was to Charca de Suárez and as usual we saw plenty of species but the highlight was a very confiding immature Night Heron (Martinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) which was roosting in the reeds amongst willow scrub. We started at the long pool picking up Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and some of the hundreds of Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) at the site. Moving on we found and photographed the Night Heron and went around to the next hide, here we added a small group of Red Avadavats (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava) which few into the sedges and disappeared. Further on we heard Purple Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio) grunting and screeching form cover and added Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) to the day list. From the main hide the light was no good for photographs, this was a shame as several duck species were sat right out in view, these included 3x Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), 6x Eurasian Wigeon (Silbón Europeo / Anas Penelope), a single male Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta), several Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and a small flock of Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata). We also managed some distant views of Purple Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), watched a Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti)singing from cover (as usual), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and finished off by adding two summer migrants making their way north, Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) x3 and a single House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica). A couple of butterflies were seen on the walk around Charca, these were Small White (Artogeia rapae) and Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria). Amphibians were represented by Southern Tree Frogs (Ranita Meridional / Hyda meridionalis) which were heard and seen and Iberian Water Frog (Rana Perezi). Reptiles also featured with several Spanish Terrapins (Mauremys leprosa) and a single Viperine Snake (Natrix maura).
Photographs from the top: 1 & 2 Drying the catch at the fish dock, 3, 4 and 6 Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) and the Viperine Snake (Natrix maura).