Friday, 1 April 2011

Rio Velez and Road to Zafarraya, Malaga Province and Zafarraya to Loja road, Granada Province.

Birding the Coast and Mountains.

I started the day with a walk along the Rio Velez and some sea watching from the beach. As soon as I was out of the car I picked up the first of a couple of Squacco Herons (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides) perching high in the reed tops along the far side of the river. Having scoped the Squacco I dropped down the bank and moved towards the beach picking up a cracking group of three Purple Herons (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea) which I got good views of before they worked out that I was ready with the camera and flew off up stream to be replaced by two slightly less interesting Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea). As I walked down stream I added Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) to the list. Once I was on the beach I set the scope up and started to scan the sea for birds but it was very quiet, I did see Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo). On the return walk back to the car several Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus)were seen and heard along with Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and Serins (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) which posed nicely by the pumping station. Also seen near here were Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus) and a cracking male Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).
On the way home we stopped breifly on the climb up to Zafarraya to watch a late display flight from a Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) and just as we crossed back into Granada Province we picked up 4x Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) and a flock of Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
Further on we stopped a couple of times for me to look at the Orchids, they included Fan-lipped (Orchis collina), Giant (Barlia robertiana), Mirror (Espejo de Venus / Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), Conical (Orchis conica), Pink Butterfly (Orquídea mariposa / Orchis papilionacea), Sawfly (Abejorros, flor de avispa / Ophrys tenthredinifera), Small Early Purple (Satirión manchado / Orchis Mascula ssp Olbiensis), Somber Bee (Abejera oscura / Ophrys fusca subsp fusca), Yellow Bee (Abejera amarilla / Ophrys Lutea) and the new shoots of Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanthera longifolia) which were about 5cm above the ground.
Photographs from the top: Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) x2, Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Blue Hounds-tongue (Cynoglossum creticum) and Conical Orchid (Orchis conica).

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