Saturday 14 May 2011

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

Niels's last day.

Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
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). 
Niels up in the snow.
We then dropped down to El Purche 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).
Orchis cazorlensis.
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.

Friday 13 May 2011

Osuna area, Sevilla Province and Near Ronda, Malaga Province and at the house, Granada Province.

Birding in the Osuna area. 

Collared Pratincole (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola).
Today we were out and about a bit earlier and found our selves in the Osuna area at just before 09:00 hoping for a few more of the species on Niels’s list. We got off to a good start picking up two Great Bustards (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda) in one of the crop fields and several Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), a single female and at least three males were seen. Here we also picked up Marsh (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and Montagu's Harrier’s (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia).
We continued on along the road to the second bridge where we again heard more Little Bustards and added Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Crested Larks (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax).
Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus).
The next stop was by the last of the bridges were we picked up a nice group of Collared Pratincoles (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola) with some in flight feeding over the roadside field and some sat on the dried out shallow scraps that had been flooded during the winter. On a damper area there were several Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and a couple of Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus); whilst on the opposite side of the road the telegraph poles were lined with more than 20 Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni). From here we went onto a dirt track passed a small plantation of Eucalyptus trees where the noise from hundreds, if not thousands of House (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus) and Spanish Sparrows (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis) was deafening. Further along the track we added a pair of Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) collecting nesting material, a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) sat in a tree doing a good impersonation of a Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), a bird I had expected to find easily but that eluded us all day. 
Indian Peafowl / Peacocks (Pavo cristatus).
Further along this track we came to a derelict Cortijo which was covered in Lesser Kestrels and Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), along with a pair of beautiful Rollers (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) but the biggest birds here were a couple of male Indian Peafowl / Peacocks (Pavo cristatus) which called loudly from the rooftops. We continued along this track out on to the road to La Lantejuela, we went through the town and carried on to Laguna Verde de Sal. On the water there were a couple of pairs of Red-crested (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) and Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata) and a few pairs of Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) which were nesting on piles of rocks around the margins. On the smaller pool on the other side of the road there was a single Collared Pratincole resting on the grass, a Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and a pair of Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus). At this point we had to turn around as the road was flooded, on a very wet field on the way back we found four Greater Flamingo’s (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), with both Avocet (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta) and Black-winged Stilts sitting on eggs. 
Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta).
From here we went on to Laguna de Consuegra but just before the site we made a quick stop by a flooded roadside field were we picked up at least 20 Curlew Sandpipers (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea) some in cracking plumage, a single Wood Sandpiper (Andarrios Bastardo / Tringa Glareola), Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), more Avocets, Black-winged Stilts and both Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius). On the margins there were roosting Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Black-headed Gulls. On the main Laguna opposite we could see lots of Greater Flamingo’s and Eurasian Coots. After getting the OK from a farmer ploughing between the Sunflower crop along side the water we went for a walk around the margin to some nearby Tamarisk trees. Here we could hear plenty of Great Reed (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus) both of which we had brief views of but we could also hear Olivaceous Warbler (Zarcero Pálido / Hippolais pallida) but as hard as we tried we could not get this bird on the list. 
Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni).
Also seen here were a late Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera) and Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos). A couple of male Blue / Common Emperor’s (Anax imperator), hundreds of Common Blue Damselflies (Enallagma cyathinerum) and Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) were also seen on the lake side.
We then moved just down the road to a small rush filled lake which had Whiskered (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chlidonias hybridus), Black (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger) and Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) feeding over and around it. On the water there were good numbers of White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), more Red-crested and Common Pochard, all three Grebes and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus). 
At this point we made the decision to drop south towards Ronda to pick up the Olivaceous Warbler we had missed earlier, as soon as we arrived at Indiana we could hear the birds and after a while sat in the grass by the river side we had some cracking views of a couple of birds. Also here we heard a Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) and saw Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
Avocet (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta).
Our last site was in some Oak woodland nearby, where we had a frustrating time with the passerines. Good enough views were obtained of Bonelli’s Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) but Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) and Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) were a different story, all were seen but not with identifable views by Niels. Whist we were in this area we also picked up Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla) and a couple calls from a Tawny Owl (Cárabo Común / Strix aluco).

Thursday 12 May 2011

Sierra de Loja and the Cacín Valley , Granada Province

Birding on the Sierra's and down in the Valleys.

Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia).
Niels and I set off at quite a decent time of the morning to visit some of the local birding sites; the first was Sierra de Loja. We started the climb up through the Pine Woodlands picking up the first of the Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus). The first stop was at the quarry just above the town where we quickly located one of the adult Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo) sat out on the front of the nest platform. Here we also had some great views of a male Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and a pair of Dartford Warblers (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) which were carrying food into one of the not to distant gorse bushes, both species on Niels’s most wanted list. 
Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata).
Also added to the trip list here were Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia).
We then drove up higher missing out most of the crags area but stopping in the area of bushes just before the top. Here the saga of the Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) began, as straight away we picked up a pair of the skulking Sylvia warblers in the bush just in front of us but by the time I had given Niels the directions the bird had dropped from view and this how it continued for the next few days with this species. From here we did see Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa). 
Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus).
Some way further on along the track over the tops we picked up the first of several Black-eared Wheatears (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), a male with a full face mask (as were all the birds today). 
We continued with out stopping as far as the Goat Cave and parked there before going on further on foot searching for the elusive Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Rojo / Monticola saxatilis) which we eventually had good views of. A nice male bird perched out on the top of one of the lower rocks and stayed there for some time. Also along here saw many more Rock Sparrows, Black Restart, Blue Rock Thrush, Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes). 
On the way down we stopped at an area of broom scrub where we search for and found another target bird, Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata), we had a adult male bird along with either a female or immature. Just as we were starting the drop down the crags I saw a small bit of road kill lying in the dust which turned out to be a Garden Dormouse (Eliomys quercinus). We stopped at the Subalpine spot for a second try, but this time we could only heard the bird. 
Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius).
Other species seen at the site included Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), both Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
Our second area to be covered was in the Cacín Valley where we were hoping for some of the open plain species and as soon as we arrived we got off to a good start with a nice male Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) giving away its location on the edge of a crop field with its distinctive raspberry call. Later we saw another two male birds in flight as we made our way on foot down to an area of almond trees where I had seen some immature Great Spotted Cuckoos (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) whilst with Ian Standring the week before. 
Niels watching Cuckoo's.
As soon as we were in the trees we heard birds calling and quite quickly we had some really good views of both immature birds but more surprisingly an adult bird which appeared to be with at least 4 youngsters but more surprising was the total lack of any Common Magpies (Urraca / Pica pica) near by.
Whilst we were at this site the air was filled with Lark song, including Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Thekla and Crested (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata). We dipped on the resident Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) but we did see Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), Marsh (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris) and heard several Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix).
Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
On the way to a site a little nearer to Granada we added a surprise Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) to the day list along with Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica).
At a site a little further on we eventually added one of the Black-winged Kites (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) which broke cover to see off a male Montagu’s which flew close by.
We then returned to the Cacín Valley, on the drop down to the village we had cracking views of a sub adult Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) which passed low over head a couple of times and a more distant dark phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus). At Embalse de Cacín birds were again few, with just a few Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) new for the day.
Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera).
From the bridge a little further down stream we knocked off another of the list birds with some good views of a singing Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) and then Niel’s had brief views of a male Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) as it flew off. In the area we also saw or heard Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Great (Carbonero Común / Parus major) and Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus) and Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur).
Other species seen during the day included a few spikes of Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera), a female Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) and a small herd of Spanish Ibex (Capra pyreaica hispanica).

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Las Chappas, Guadalhorce, Teba and Laguna Dulce, Malaga Province.

A new Orchid for my Spanish list and Birding on the way home.

Heart-flowered Serapias (Serapias cordigera).
I drove down to the coast to my first stop which was to try and find a new orchid species for my list, I was searching in the unlikely area around a hotel down near Marbella. In some pine woods which have managed to be missed by the bulldozers I quickly found (with directions from Ian Phillips from Malaga) two spikes of the rare Heart-flowered Serapias (Serapias cordigera). Both spikes were a little past their best but easily identifiable. In the area there were also fruiting spikes of both Limodore species (Abortivum and Trabutianum).
The next stop was to collect Niels and then we were off to Guadalhorce where we were after target bird number one, White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) but before we went on to the main reserve we had a quick look at a very quiet sea from the watch point. From here we started the list with Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos). We then made our way along the embankment down to the bridge, on the way we found an extra bird for Niels hit list when we found the first of many Monk Parakeets (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus) flying nosily around their very large nests. From the bridge there were Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and a calling Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).
Once we entered the reserve we started to hear and see lots of Zitting Cisticola’s (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) which seemed to be calling from every direction, along with Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster). From the main hide we soon had the White-headed Duck under the belt; several males were displaying and generally making a nuisance of them selves. Also here there were good numbers of Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), more Black-winged Stilts, Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba). Further on around at the second hide we saw more White-headed Ducks, Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Sand Martin (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera). 
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
On our way around to the next hide on the walk down to the second sea watch point we picked up a female Little Bittern (Avetorillo Común / Ixobrychus minutus) flying into the reeds. From the next hide we did not see any thing new but the wader hide produced a couple of Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), Avocets (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus). On the way down past the scrape we saw at least 6 Slender-billed Gulls (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei) amongst the flock of Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis). Again the sea was quiet so we retraced our steps and on the scrape the birds mention had been joined by 1 adult and 2 immature Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), a single Little Tern (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons), a Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and a flyby none breeding plumaged Little Gull (Gaviota Enana/ Larus minutus). On the walk back we picked up the female Ruddy Shelduck (Tarro Canelo / Tadorna ferruginea), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius). Some butterflies were seen during the walk including Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea). The only dragonfly species seen was a male Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii).
The next stop was lunch which we ate whist sat beside the Rio Grande, we then move north to Teba Gorge. As soon as we arrived another of the main birds we ticked of the wanted list when we saw a nice male Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) perched on a telegraph pole. We then had a look in the gorge from near the bridge; the first birds were a pair of Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), several Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius). A little further on we had views of a couple of Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) passing over high, a few Alpine Swifts (Vencejo Real / Apus melba) were also up high but then we picked off another of the birds on Niels list when a pair of Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) showed well for us. 
Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius).
On the road side there were large numbers of Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba) butterflies and the last thing seen just as we were leaving were a pair of Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus) which circled up and away.
Our final stop of the day was at Laguna Dulce where things were very quiet, in the shallows there were again good numbers of White-headed Ducks, Eurasian Coot, Common Moorhen and further out there were Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera) and all three of the common Grebe species. Over the water several Black (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger), Whiskered (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chlidonias hybridus) and Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) were feeding or sitting on the many reserve signs.
We then made our way back to the house and made sure Niels was settled in.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Zafarraya area, Granada Province.

A new Butterfly for my Granada list and some Orchids.

Lange's Orchid (Orchis langei).
Jayne's niece Claire and here boyfriend Jason were over from the UK visiting, so we went for a quick run out to the area around Alhama de Granada. On the way I made a couple of quick stops to look at the Orchids on the road side. The first stop was near Zafarraya where I was looking to see the progress of some plants of Epipactis tremolsii, unfortunately they had moved on little from my last visit to the area a few weeks earlier. In the same meadow there were some cracking spikes of the tall, late flowering variety of the Sawfly Orchid (Abejorros, flor de avispa / Ophrys tenthredinifera var ficalhoana), loads of Lange's Orchids (Orchis langei), a few Yellow Bee Orchids (Ophrys lutea) still in good condition, going over Sword-leaved Helleborines (Cephalanthera longifolia), Small Tongue Orchid (Serapias parviflora), lots of yet to flower Lizard Orchids (Himantoglossum hircinum) and some well over with Southern Early Purple Orchid (Satirión manchado / Orchis Mascula ssp Olbiensis). 
Lorquin's Blue (Cupido lorquinii).
Just as I got back to the car Jayne pointed out a small butterfly which stayed long enough for me to get a couple of shots, in the close up views on the camera it was obvious that Jayne had just fond my first Lorquin's Blue (Cupido lorquinii) for the Province.
We moved on and stopped on the road side a little further on to look at a group of Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) and a pair of Bonelli's Eagles (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus) which were circling a near by hill top.
We arrived in Alhama and had a stroll around and then a couple of drinks and a menu del dia which went down very nicely. In the gorge I picked up several Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), a male Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei).
Lorquin's Blue (Cupido lorquinii).
On the run back towards home we picked up European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus) and quite a few Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni).