Friday 10 December 2010

Home near Huétor Tajar and Huetor Fields, Granada Province, Spain.

First of the winter birds atlas days.

This was the first days atlas work for the 2010 /11 winter period, this is an on going survey and can take up as little as four hours over the 3 month duration. Details of the survey can be found at http://www.seoprogramas.org/__htdocs/sacin/index4.php. I do three itineraries and this take just over six hours plus the travelling but I find it makes you look at and enjoy all the birds, even the very common one.
Today’s walk started from the front door and took me down the road through the Olive groves, out on to the agricultural fields and along the local river. The birds seen are just listed below with there totals and are in the order they were seen.
House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus) x 270, White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) x56, Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) x12, Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) x29, Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula) x11, Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) 94, Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) x1, Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major) x7, Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) x95, Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) x15, Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) x57, Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) x86, Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) x12, Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) x137, Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) x3, Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) x6, Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla) x17, Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) x41, Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) x35, Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) x8, Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) x18, Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) x11, Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) x8, Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis) x23, Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) x33, Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) x6, Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) x211, Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) x3, Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) x3, Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer Montanus) x7, Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) x1, Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) x7, Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) x171, Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) x9, Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) x2, Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) x1, Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) x123 and Stone-curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) x25.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Laguna Herrera, Antequera, Malaga Province.

Silent but deadly, a Lifer for my Spanish List.

Short-eared Owl (Búho Campestre / Asio flammeus).
As usual I called in at the laguna on my way over to the hotel for today's walk. I know that it has been raining but I was surprised by the amount of water that was about, several of the local fields were flooded and actually held more birds than the lagoon. On the top end of the nearest field to the track I picked up a single Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) as it flew up from the margins, 70 or so Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) were also on the muddy edges and at least 200 Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) were out on the water. A bit further along the track I again viewed the flooded field from the raised back and added at least 3 male Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta), a small number of Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Eurasian Wigeon (Silbón Europeo / Anas Penelope) and about 20 Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina). Also on the water were a couple of thousand Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis).
On the laguna there were 6+ Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), a couple of Avocet (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta), about 20 Little Stints (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta) and 2/3 Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina). As I watched these birds a pair of White Storks (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) drifted over and landed in the flooded field and a Merlin (Esmerejón / Falco columbarius) flashed along the track chasing off all the White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) feeding on the shoreline. 
Short-eared Owl (Búho Campestre / Asio flammeus).
Other birds in this area included Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).
I then drove further around the tracks towards the motorway and stopped to look at a small flock of about 10 Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) and noticed in the back ground a huge flock of Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) which must have numbered over 250 birds. Whilst I was watching these birds a shape flew in very low and dropped down amongst the Skylark flock, flushing them and the Calandars up. It was a magnificent Short-eared Owl (Búho Campestre / Asio flammeus), it sat on the road side for a few seconds allowing me to get some OKish shots before it flew off a short distance. I thought the bird had missed its target but when it flew a small bird was in its left talon, it landed in the road side ditch some 30 meters further on. It was unfortunaley time to go to work or I would have like some more views of the bird.