Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Padul Moors, Sierra Nevada and Laguna de Padul, Granada Province.

Dennis and Ian, Day two and a lifer for Dennis.

Dennis, Ian and I set off early to get up on the moor land type ridges near Granada wher
e we were looking for Lark species. We arrived just after dawn but we were surprised by the lack of bird song, just a few Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and a distant Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) were heard. As the sun came up over the tops of the Sierra Nevada the birds started to come to life, Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) started first soon followed by Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra). We wandered around the site for another couple of hours picking up Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Black-eared (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) and Northern Wheatears (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus) and Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus). On the return walk we picked up a cracking male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) passed north and a couple of Great Spotted Cuckoos (Crialo Europeo / Clamator glandarius) flew into the nearby Almond plantation calling noisily. Ian also picked up a single Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) in the scrub but Dennis and myself missed it.
We then moved on to the Sierra Nevada and made our to the highest point that you can drive to and parked in the car park at 2500 meters of so. Masses of Spanish kids of all ages between 5 and 60 were having great fun on the smaller slopes, on sledges and plastic bags. We walked out to the nearest cliffs to the green topped army building and found a small group of Alpine Accentors (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis) feeding on a small scree area. Dennis was rather please with these birds and the fact that they were watched down to 4ft made it all the better. Other birds seen whilst we were amongst the snow included Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus).
The last stop of the day was at Padul Lagoons where the first birds seen were a small group of Water Pipits (Bistita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta) feeding in the stream near the entrance track. In the area around the bridge several Cetti’s Warblers (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), a single Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) and a couple of Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus) were all heard but not seen. Yellow Wagtails (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava) of three races were seen along with a couple of White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
Other birds seen included Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata) and Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis).
Photographs from the top: Dennis and Ian photographing the Accentors, 2 & 3 Alpine Accentors (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis), Dennis and Ian on the Icy snow and Icicles on the way down.

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