Saturday 19 February 2011

Motril Fish Port and la Caleta (Salobreña), Granada Province.

Ring reading in Motril.

Lesser Black-backed Gull (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus).
I meet Juan Pérez Contreras at AKI on the edge of Granada and we headed off down to Motril to do some Ring reading on the wintering Lesser Black-backed Gull (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) population. We arrived, got clearance from the security people and went out on to one of the large storage areas where there was a flock of about 800 birds roosting. Most were Lesser Black-backs but there were a few Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and a single adult Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii). Also seen was a very large Gull showing some signs of being a possible Great Black-backed Gull (Gavión Atlantico / Larus marinus) but some features pointed to it being a big Lesser
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus).
We checked through the birds for rings and by the time we moved on we had recorded 15 birds information. We also added Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti). We drove around the rest of the docks but birds were few, so we headed off to La Caleta near Salobreña to have a look for waders on the rocky shore line. 
Possible Great Black-backed Gull (Gavión Atlantico / Larus marinus).
On the way we went through the area to the rear of Charca and meet some ringers working in an area of small flooded pools. While we were there we saw an adult female Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) in the hand. Also in the area were several Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), 
Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus).
a pair of Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus). 
Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis).
We then parked in the small village of La Caleta and walked down past a disused Rum factory and out onto a sea side walk. On the way I got some shots of a single Audouin's Gull sat on one of the rocks and some bad versions of one of a pair of Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos). On the rocks plenty of Seaside Daisy (Asteriscus maritimus) and Sea or Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritime) gave the cliffs some colour. 
Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii).
On the walk back the sun was quite strong so the sweat top had to come off. Several butterflies were seen including Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus) and the first Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) of the spring. 
Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos).
We also saw in the area Mediterranean Gull (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus) and a fine male Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura).
Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina).

Monday 14 February 2011

Punta de Calaburras and Guadalhorce, Malaga Province.

Birding the Costa.

Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres).
I parked by the large rock on the side of the main coast road and started to look for waders along the sea front; there were quite a few people about so the area around the parking area was empty of birds. I walked west along the side of the main road and after a Km or so I started to see a few birds including 30+ Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres), 25+ Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba), 10+ Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina) a single Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) and the stars 3 Purple Sandpipers (Correlimos Oscuro / Calidris maritime). 
Sanderlings (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba).
I then settle myself on to a nicely located rock and waited for the birds to settle down and move towards me so that I could get some shots. I had just started when two lades voices approached from behind, they stood and watched what I was doing for about five minutes and then instead of diverting the few meters around the back of me they decided to walk past the front of me and flush all the birds. Well impressed with their act I let them know what I thought before moving to where the birds had resettled them selves and carried on with the photographs. 
Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba).
Other birds seen included a single migrating Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), several diving Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo).
I then moved on to Guadalhorce and parked near the school after all the notices about car break-ins. I then walked out to the main hide picking up a single Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) and 3 Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) on the way. The main hide was quiet, lots of roosting Great Cormorants and Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), a pair of Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), some Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and a White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) near it. 
Purple Sandpiper (Correlimos Oscuro / Calidris maritime).
The next hide around was not much better but there were a couple of nicely plumaged White-headed Ducks (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) and at least 3 male Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca). I then moved on to the sea watch hide near the river mouth, here there were good numbers of Gulls sitting around on the water, most were Lesser Black-backed, Yellow-legged and Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), but a small number of Mediterranean Gulls (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) flew up and down and a single adult Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) landed right infront of the watch point. 
Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo).
On the way back to the car I added good numbers of Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and after missing it for the last few visits the wintering Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus).

Sunday 13 February 2011

Granada to the Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

Good day for the raptors.

Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus).
Jayne and I firstly went for a mornings walk around the large market in Granada. Once we had battled our way around the stalls and picked up a few bargains we had a drink in one of the local bars and then went off birding in the El Temple area near Granada. The first birds of note were a couple of flocks of Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) in the fields near Chimeneas and a single Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) circling over the olive groves. 
Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
We then came across a flock of at least 10 Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) feeding low over and down in the fields, a couple of Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), a dozen or so Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and a single Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) which just passed through the small valley and disappeared as fast as it arrived. It was quite warm and still, so a few butterflies were out and about making the most of the fine weather, they included a lot of Small Whites (Artogeia rapae), a few Bath Whites (Pontia daplidice) and a single Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea).
View to the Sierra Nevada.
We then moved on heading for the Cacín Valley, on the way we had some great views of a pair of displaying Golden Eagles (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) being mobbed by a flock of brave Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and a pair of Common Magpies (Urraca / Pica pica), one of which seemed to actually land on the back of the Eagle for a couple of seconds! Further on we added our third Golden Eagle, Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus).
Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca).
We then dropped down into the Cacín Valley and immediately added Golden Eagles four and five to the day list along with a male Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus) which was flying rather slowly due to the weight of the catch in its talons. A bit further along the valley the Bonelli's was watched dropping in to the cliffs and eating part of its prey before taking the rest to a sitting female, she then left the male to the nest duties. At the small Embalse de Cacín there were a small group of 4 Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo) sitting on one of the dead tree stumps, the sixth Golden Eagle the last of the day, a displaying pair of Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and both Iberian Green (Pito Real / Picus sharpei) and Great Spotted Woodpeckers (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major). 
Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
On the water, birds were few, they included 20+ Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), 2x Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), a few Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and a single Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus).
Further on towards El Turro the first Orchids of the year were seen, about 60 spikes of Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca) were flowering right on the road side. On the fields near by we added two female Hen Harriers (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) to a short but good list of birds for the afternoon.