Tuesday 28 September 2010

Luguna de Herrera, Antequera, Malaga Province.

A big surprise on the fields.

Male Great Bustard (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda).
As normal I called at the Laguna on the way into work, it was still quite dark when I first arrived which was quite good as I got to see a very nice sun rise over the water. On the lake there were the usual noisy 100 or so Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), along with 25 Avocets (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta), 13 Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos). about 40 Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) moved gracefully around the far shore line and the 50 or so Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) that roost on the farm buildings nearby either flew off to fields further away or dropped down on the muddy margins. Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) were all out on the water feeding.
Luguna de Herrera.
Then came the surprise of the morning, out of the corner of my eye I picked up a huge bird flying low across the fields at the back of the lagoon and realised that it was a male Great Bustard (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda), I quickly drove around to the field where I had thought it had gone down. As soon as I got to the site the bird was in view but right at the back of a stubble field. I got some distant record shots before I had to leave for work. In the morning I also saw Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Sand Martins (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus).
Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) Immature.
After work I returned to the Lagoon and met John Wainwright and his wife Jenny who had seen the Bustard distantly before it disappeared into the heat haze. A few minutes later I meet up with Andy Mounteford who was staying with us for a few days and we started to do some birding around the area near the lagoon picking up 2 of the Ortolan Buntings (Escribano Hortolano / Emberiza hortulana) on the thistles. 
Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata).
We then doubled back to the area for the Bustard but the heat haze was very bad so we looped around and went for a scan of the Laguna. We had all the mornings birds plus 4 White Storks (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia), 2 Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), 5 Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), 2 Curlew Sandpipers (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea), 2 Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), 5 Black-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica). Along the thistle covered ditch flocks of Goldfinches were feeding along with 3 Reed Buntings (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus).
Our next stop was at Laguna Dulce near Campillos, we arrived to see masses of birds covering the whole lake. Most were Eurasian Coots but we also picked out good numbers of duck including White-headed (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca). Black-necked (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) were all there, along with Greater Flamingo, Cattle Egret, Black-headed Gull, Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Black-winged Stilt, Northern Lapwing and Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata). 
Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago).
The best of the birds was a single Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata), which was watched at close range from the hide. Dragonflies were also present in large numbers, Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii) were all noted.
After spending a good couple of hours here we went back to see if the Bustard had reappeared but sadly it was not seen, we did add Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) to the list.

Monday 27 September 2010

Home near Huétor Tajar, Moraleda, Embalse de Cacín, A92 Laguna and Huetor Fields, Granda Province, Spain.

Out on the Local Patch.

Andy and I were heading out birding locally around the Cacín Valley and Huetor Fields. In the garden before we left I picked up a few Blackcaps (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla), a Garden Warbler and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis). A male Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) was perched on a sharp spike of one of the Agarves and several Large Whites (Pieris brassicae) were egg laying on our doomed cabbage plants.
The first site we headed for was the agricultural fields near Moraleda where we picked up lots of Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and a few Crested Larks (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), large numbers of migrating Tawny Pipits (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) and Northern Wheatears (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe). 
Others seen included Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) and Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis). Several Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) Butterflies were hill topping in the area around the ruined Cortijo.
We then moved on down to the Embalse de Cacín, there were good numbers of wildfowl on the lake including Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata) and a single female Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta). Other birds out on the water were Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta) and a single near winter plumaged Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis). Low over the water hordes of hirundines were feeding up ready to head south on their migration, they included Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Sand (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica). 
A single Black Tern (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger) also skimmer the surface and was seen later perched on a dead branch in the lake. Other birds seen were Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
On the crags near Moraleda we added Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and a male Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura).
We next stopped on the side of the A92 at a small laguna, as we arrived the first bird was a pale phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) which drifted off south. On the water we again picked up Common Pochard, Mallard, Eurasian Coot, Common Moorhen and Northern Shoveler, Common (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) were both seen on the marginal tree stumps along with 3 Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta). Also added here were Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus). Dragonflies were common at the site, they included Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii) and Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata). 
The last stop was on the fields around Huetor Tajar, the first bird was a cracking male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus). On one of the many unsown fields we picked up 17 + Stone-curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail, Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba). Also seen in the area were Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).