Saturday 9 January 2010

RAM sea bird survey, Motril fish docks and Charca de Suárez, Granada Province.

Freezing my optics off on the coast.

Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis).
Set off from the car park in Granada with Juan at 07:15 and made our way down to Cabo Sacratif to the East of Motril where we set up the equipment in the freezing wind just as the sun started to rise. By the start time at 08:30 I was already cold and by the time we had both been sat there for 2 hours, parts of our bodies had stopped functioning and just getting out of the chair was an ordeal. Good numbers of birds passed by mostly heading west into the wind, they included a couple of species we had not expected, both of which were new species for my province list. 
Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo).
The first were a group of four Avocets (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta) flying low over the sea and they were closely followed by two Red Knot (Correlimos Gordo / Calidris canutus) also heading west, two Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) also surprised us by passing out at sea, one a good km off shore. Other species seen included Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Great Skua (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and two Golden Plovers (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaia) which were set upon by the local Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) their fate is unknown as we lost them around the next headland. 
Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina).
The usual Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) were all seen during the time there.
We then visited the fish docks at Motril Port to try and read some of the rings on the Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) but the only concentrations were flushed by an Western Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus) just as we arrived and did not settle with in range of our scopes.
The last stop as usual was at Charca de Suárez where we bumped into Manolo the warden in the first hide where he and a colleague were doing some maintainance work. He offered Juan the keys to the scientific (photographic) hide, so we made our way there as the light would be perfect of getting some shots of the birds on the main lake. 
Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita).
Infront of the hide we soon picked up a single winter plumaged Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), a male Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Eurasian Wigeon (Silbón Europeo / Anas Penelope), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) along with several more species. 
Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita).
On the way home Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falcotinnunculus), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) were added to a good list. I dropped Juan ff again in Granada and headed home calling at the Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) site on the way, there was no sign of the Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) flock seen yesterday but the Kite was seen hunting over the large area of waste ground next to the motorway along with a huge flock Serin and Goldfinch , 200+ birds of each species at least, Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falcotinnunculus) and a great many Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita). 

Friday 8 January 2010

A92 Autovia, Granada Province.

Wintering birds.

Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus).

As we were driving up to the city of Granada today the adult Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) and the Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) X 67 were still to be found on the southern side of the motorway, just visible through the snow.

Thursday 7 January 2010

Near Huetor Tajar, Granada Province.

The rain strikes again.

The road just below the house.
After yet another night of continuous heavy rain I decided that I would go down to the supermarket in Huetor Tajar and get a few things we needed whilst Jayne waited in for a delivery from the local delivery company.
The road again further on.
I started down the hill to find the Barranco had burst its banks and had flooded the road, I was about to turn around when a lorry came through from the opposite direction and he pushed a lot of the trapped water off the road just long enough for me to make a run for it. Further along the road was totally flooded, so I took to the tracks across the fields and eventually made it to the town where I first went and had a look at the bridge over the Rio Genil.
Huetor Bridge.
The water had again broken through the banks and the fields as far as you could see were flooded and the road linking the town with the motorway was again closed.
The usually dry river bed between La Fabrica and Huetor.
After the shopping I thought that I would try a different route back but all the cross fields routes were blocked either by water or the debris from the river. I eventually made it home some two hours later after starting a 20 minute trip.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Albolote, Granada, Granada Province.

Special but damp birds.

Long-eared Owl (Búho Chico / Asio otus).
The weather is still fairly bad / good which ever way you look at heavy rainfall, the local minister for water will be well happy I suppose.
Long-eared Owl (Búho Chico / Asio otus).
I headed out to Embalse de Cubillas to have a look at what was there on my way to meet with Juan Pérez-Contreras at a private site near Albolote. I arrived at the Embalse to find it was full to bursting point and the run off channel was flowing very quickly. Birds were few and far between, I only picked up Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis). 
Long-eared Owl (Búho Chico / Asio otus).
I then made my way to the arranged meeting point where Juan and I meet a security guard who escorted us to an area of Pine and Eucalyptus trees on the area of private property. Here we were lucky enough to see thirteen of the wintering Long-eared Owls (Búho Chico / Asio otus) which return in late August and remain till March / April. Most of the birds were sat in tall Pines but a group of five were in a low Stone Pine (Pinus pinea). We also saw Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).