Saturday, 4 June 2011

RAM and Charca del Suarez, Motril, Granada Province.

Sea bird survey and water birds at Charca.

Juan and I meet as usual at Aki in Granada and then made our way down to carry out the monthly sea bird count. Bird numbers were mixed with Balearic (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) and Cory's Shearwater’s (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea) and immature Northern Gannet’s (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) being the most common species counted. A single Great Skua (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) added a bit of variety. Other birds recorded during the two hours were Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), a single fly by Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis). A couple of pods of cetacea's passed distantly west, the second contained at least 20 Common Dolphin's (Delphinus delphis) but the first pod remained unidentified but all the animals stayed very low in the water and had fine backwards pointing dorsal fins.
We then moved on to Charca where we meet the warden at the main gate, who gave us a copy of the new book about the site. We then spent a couple of hours wandering around the hides. In the small hide not far from the gate we saw Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) all out on the water, while in the air lots of Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) were feeding. Further around the reserve we stopped at the hide near the photograph centre and picked up Purple Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), a pair of Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Cetti’s (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos). On the track near these hide we had some cracking views of a male Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) which sat on a reed stem and let us take several close up shots, also seen briefly was a male Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii) which zipped in to sight and was gone as quick as it arrived. From the photographic hide we picked up a nice Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides) and from the board walk at the back of the hide I saw at least three different Little Bitterns (Avetorillo Común / Ixobrychus minutus), several Iberian Bluetail Damselflies (Ischnura graellsii), a male Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) and a couple of Speckled Wood Butterflies (Pararge aegeria). The time flew by and the warden was soon around to close up so we walked back towards the entrance picking up an old female Blue / Common Emperor on the bamboo fencing which also posed for a couple of shots. Other species seen included Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus), Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi) and a Viperine Snake (Culebra viperina / Natrix maura).
Photographs from the top:
Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) male & female and Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta).

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