Friday, 25 June 2010

Balsa de Íllora, Upper Cacín Valley and Mesia, Granada Province.

Another excellent site from Juan.

I met Juan Perez just off the A92 and we made our way to the site near Illora, as soon as we arrived we meet up with some of the farmers and checked that we could walk all the way around the lake as they were harvesting on the far bank. Once we were given clearance to proceed we set off, the first birds we picked up were a couple of immature Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) feeding out on the thick blanket weed which covered about a quarter of the water. On the more open areas there were at least four family groups of Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), duckling numbers ranging from 8 down to just a single bird. Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) were also seen on the pool. Over head we added Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster). On the fields surrounding the site and in the dead trees at the far end of the lake we picked up Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula).
Dragonfly species were few but the two seen were in good numbers, Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum) several seen in the marginal weeds and a great many teneral Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) were over the water. No butterflies of note were seen only Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Small (Artogeia rapae) and Large Whites (Pieris brassicae). Just as we returned to the car we picked up eight Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) flying in and bumped into the Campo Warden for the estate, he was very helpful and gave us the phone numbers of the people to contact for access to the site on future visits.
Juan then dropped me back to my car and made his way back into the city, I went to the agricultural area in the upper Cacín Valley where the only species of interest were a pair of Stone-curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and good numbers of Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla).
Mesia woods were also quiet but I got some nice views of Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus).
Photographs from the top: Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum), Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus).

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