Thursday 1 April 2010

The Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

Dennis and Ian, Day Three,  
Picking up a few summer migrants.

We started the day on the fields just north of the town of Huetor Tajar looking for the distant, heat haze obscured 
Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) seen the night before. We tried a new track between some Asparagus fields where several people were picking. A single Bustard could be picked out and showed well in the newly ploughed Lucerne field. Also seen here were White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer Montanus) and at least two Common Quail were calling.
We then moved to a sight on the way to Villanueva Mesia where one of the fields was still wet and a couple of Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) were sharing the field with several Crested (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) and a Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) was singing from the reeds at the far end by the Rio.
On the other side of Mesia we stopped in one of the Poplar plantations and walked along the side of the Rio Cacín where it joins the Rio Genil. The first birds seen were at least three Hawfinches (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotraustes) with two males displaying to a female. Two Wrynecks (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla) could be heard calling and eventually we had good views. Nightingales and Cetti’s Warblers (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) were heard and seen all along the river, along with Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and the first singing Bonelli’s Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) of the year.
The next stop was above El Turro in the fields where we were looking for some relic steppe species. As we arrived a female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) flew over the fields and a group of at least five Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) were seen feeding on the ground in a newly ploughed field. At the ruin we quickly picked up a single Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) feeding distantly on a ridge, a little later this bird and another flew off and gave good flight views. The resident Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) was seen and a party of three Great Spotted Cuckoos (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) gave us some great views in the Almond trees. Another Marsh Harrier was seen, this time a male and several Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) fed out on the fields.
Embalse de Cacín was our next stop but we did not find the male Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata) which had been recorded for several months. The bird numbers at the site had dropped greatly; there were only a handful of Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina) and a few Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis). We then went and had some lunch in Cacín and then continued on down the gorge to a site where we viewed a Male Bonelli’s Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus) feeding it’s two chicks, in the same area we had Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius). We called at the Embalse again where a female Marsh Harrier flew up out of the reeds and a single Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus) could be heard. In the air over the water clouds of Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Sand Martins (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia) plus Pallid (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) and Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) could all be seen feeding. A single Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) was also picked up passing north.
On the way back to the house we called at the crags at Moraleda adding Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus).
The last stop was at the small pool at the side of the A92 but we only added a single Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea).

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