Saturday 6 March 2010

Motril area, Granada Province.

RAM, Motril fish docks and Charca del Suarez.

Juan and myself were joined today by Antonio another member of the SEO Serra Nevada Group, as usual we made our way to Cabo Sacratif to carry out the monthly count of passage sea birds. The weather was to say the least bracing but luckily not cold or wet at this point (going on recent days that was a small miracle alone). 
The wind ment that most of the species passing were close in shore which was great as we had some great views of Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Great Skua (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua) and the only Razorbill (Alca Común / Alca torda) of the day. Not a single Shearwater was recorded but Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) numbers were high. 
We also had breif views of a pair of Blue Rock Thrushes (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) as the few by low just overthe cliff edge, Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) were all noted over head and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) both called from the scrub lower down the hill. 
The next stop was at the port but this was very quiet, just a few Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta) and Great Cormorants (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo) being seen.
To finish we went into the reserve at Charca del Suarez and first had a look on the long pool but this was very quiet, but while we were in here another couple of English birders stopped and said they had seen what they thought was a male Garganey (Cerceta Carretona / Anas querquedula) from the next hide so we made our way round and quickly found the bird. Also from here there were a great many Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) seen feeding in the reeds with well over a hundred Barn Swallows and Sand Martins (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia) feeding low over the water and also perching in the reeds resting. 
The best bird was a Sedge Warbler (Carricerin Común / Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) which was moving low through the Iris bed. 
We moved on around the site to the next hide which looked out over the same pool but gave us some much better views of the Garganey. After we had been here for a while a Savi's Warbler (Buscarla Unicolor / Locustella luscinoides) started to sing from very near the hide and a second bird joined it from the far side of the pool. 
The bird closesy was eventually seen briefly as it moved through the reeds and sat for a few seconds and sang before disappearing again. From here we also added Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava) and a singing Sedge Warbler
We then quickly stopped at the main hide where we picked up Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Western Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Eurasian Wigeon (Silbón Europeo / Anas Penelope), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).

Monday 1 March 2010

Huetor Fields and Granada City, Granada Province.

The return of the Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).

Church in the centre.
I went down town to meet Bob Wright and two people who were visiting him this week, I first had a walk along the track opposite northern end of the high street. Along here at least one male Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) was pushed up from the weeds at the sides of the fields and two Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) were also seen flying over a harvested Lettuce field which contained several Stone-curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus). We retraced the walk once Bob had arrived and added Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica).
View of the Sierra Nevada from Plaza de San Nicolas.
We then headed around to the fields where the Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) were, they disappeared for a couple of weeks while the fields were very wet but turned up again a couple of days ago. There were about 50-60 birds on the ploughed up Lucerne crop and they were being flushed a few at a time by a farmer hand spraying his field. Here we also had Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis). One of the friends who was with Bob very kindly gave me the loan of his spare Kowa scope while mine is away for repairs at Leica, Thank You.
Fountains in the Jardine de Truinto.
I then left the trio birding while I returned home with the intention of doing some gardening but we decided to go up into the city of Granada instead, even though the shops would mostly be closed. We had a really nice wander around the Moroccan shops and something to eat in the few hours were stayed and were surprise by the large numbers of people visiting on a cold winters Spanish Holiday. On the way back to the car we passed a small park called Fuente Nueva in amongst the apartment blocks which was closed due to wind damage. In the trees around its edge a couple of
Firecrests (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus) were singing along with Serin and Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater).