Wednesday, 30 November 2011

El Temple, Granada Province.

Birding at a raptor roost.

Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus).
I arrived at a site in the area known as El Temple near Granada where I was meeting Juan Pérez Contreras for a spot of birding. I was an hour or so early so I set up the scope and made a start, first a male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) came in to view from behind a small row of trees and quartered the weedy area right in front of me. A few seconds after the bird arrived a cracking adult Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) shot into view and started to mob the harrier until after some 10 minutes the harrier pushed off in the same direction that it had come from but did not disappear before it flushed a single Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) into the air. 
Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus).
The Kite then started another fight with one of the Common Kestrels (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus) which were around; this battle went on for some time before the Kite settled down in a distant tree for a well earned rest. I decided to try and get some better views of the bird so I relocated along the road some way which reduced the distance down considerably, as I was re-setting the scope Juan arrived and we enjoyed some cracking views of this fine bird. Whilst we were viewing and getting some shots we also recorded at least 4 Common Starling (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris) in amongst the Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) flock, loads of Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and both Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis). 
We later moved back to my original spot where we located a male Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) sat out on one of the nearby ploughed fields and a couple of Dartford Warblers (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) which were seen flicking between the dead Thistle plants that cover the area. 
Common Starling (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris).
As the light started to drop at least 4 male and 3 female Hen Harriers (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) arrived at the site and spent sometime flying around together probably looking for a late evening snack of one of the Meadow Pipits (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis) or Serins (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) which were in amongst the weeds. Other species seen during the afternoon were Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa). 

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