Saturday, 14 May 2011

Moraleda area and Sierra's Nevada and Loja, Granada Province.

Niels's last day.

We started the day with a visit to the site above the Cacín Valley where we quickly located the Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) that we had missed a couple of days ago. Four birds were found feeding out on a newly ploughed field, along with a small flock of Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla). A male Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) was also seen in a newly cut hay field on the opposite side of the road. We then moved on as we had the bird we had missed and headed towards the Sierra Nevada car park, we parked near the barrier and started the walk up to the upper ski station hoping to see Alpine Accentor (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis) on the way. After the walk there and back we had dipped the Accentor but seen Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax). We then dropped down to El Porche to look for some woodland species, as soon as we arrived I had a pair of Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) on one of the pine trees but yet again they were only in sight for a couple of seconds and had move before Niels got on them. We walked the pine woods but only found a couple of spikes of Orchis cazorlensis before we got back to near the car. Just as we reached the road another Short-toed Treecreeper showed well on and near a neat box which meant locating the bird was much quicker and Niels had good views. We also heard more Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus) but did not get views. We decided to cut our loses and head back to the road up Sierra de Loja for a final stab at Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) on the way down the sierra we added Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos), Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus) and Bonelli’s Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli). We went straight to the spot and could hear the birds as soon as we arrived. Brief views were had as the both the male and female flew between bushes until eventually we managed to get the scope on it whilst it was singing from the top of a Hawthorn. Also seen here were Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura).
We then went back to the house and later went just up the road to the same place as yesterday hoping to repeat the views of the Red-necked Nightjar (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis) calling from the water pump house roof. We arrived and the bird was there again so Niels had much better views.
Photographs from the top: Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Niels and Orchis cazorlensis.

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