Saturday 1 October 2011

RAM, Motril Port and Charca del Suarez, Granada Province.

Sea bird survey, Ring checking and a quick look at Charca.

Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis).
Today it was an early start; it was still dark as I was leaving the house which was the reason for me getting a new bird for my seen from the garden list. As I was walking out to the car an Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo) flew off my neighbor’s roof and out into the Olives. Dave Jackson a friend from the UK had seen one from the terrace a couple of years earlier but I had not recorded it which is surprising as they breed just up the road.
Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis).
I met up with Juan at the usual place on Aki car park and we made our way down to the headland just to the east of Motril. We arrived a little early so we had a scan around the local scrub first picking up Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla).
The sea watch started well it two Great Skua’s (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua) chasing each other and a flock of Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) passing to the west. We also recorded 2 more Great Skua’s, many more Balearic’s along with a single Cory's Shearwater (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea), Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii).
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus).
After the sea watch we made our way around to the fish port to check through the Gull flocks which roost there to see if we could find any birds that were ringed. On the drive round we picked up Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) both still moving along the coast in small numbers, House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and both Western Cattle (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta).
Once we were in the port we located a largish flock of Gulls which contained all the species of Gull and tern mentioned earlier. We found several Lesser Black-backs with rings along with a single Yellow-legged.
Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus).
Our last stop was at Charca where we called at several of the hides and did a full loop around the site. The first small hide was quiet but we did add Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) to the bird list and started the dragonflies off with Lesser (Anax parthenope) and Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea), Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma) and Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum). 
We pushed on further round to the next hide where several Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) were seen and a nice Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) performed and posed until we got the cameras ready and then disappeared. As we were leaving the spot for the main hide we picked up a couple of male Red Avadavat (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava) which quickly dropped from the reed tops out of sight.
Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra).
At the main hide we picked up the only Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo) of the morning, 4 more Little Egrets, a single Purple Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), a couple of squabbling Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata) for the bird list and Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria), Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) for the dragons.
We continued on passed a newly dig scrap which looks as though it will be interesting once it is completed and into the last hide by the long pool. Here we added females of Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca) and Eurasian Wigeon (Silbón Europeo / Anas Penelope).

Thursday 29 September 2011

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

A morning in the mountains seeing some of my favorite birds.

Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
Got up to a nice morning with a few more clouds around than usual but the sun was trying hard to brake through, so I decided to carry on with last nights idea of a trip up Sierra de Loja. On the way over I started the list with a small flock of around 25 Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), several Common Chaffinches (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).
Just as I started to make my way up the Sierra from the town of Loja I picked up 2 late Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) moving west along with the first of 11 Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) seen during the morning (all female of immature birds). Once I was clear of the pine woods I started to see the expected Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and Common Stonechats (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) either perched on rocks or making use of the road side barriers. 
Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia).
Along the crags good numbers of both Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Red-billed Choughs (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) called noisily as they chased around the cliff faces. Once up on the more level areas I pushed on to the first of the water collection buildings to have a look for any remaining Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes (Roquero Rojo / Monticola saxatilis) that may be hanging around. I parked right next to the building and got some nice views of several Rock Sparrows, Black Redstarts (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and several Northern Wheatears (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe). After about 10 minutes a bird jumped up on to a rock and sat there for some time, giving me chance to roll down the hill, park right across the road and get some nice views and a couple of shots. Also around here I added a late skulking Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) moving though the low thyme plants, Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) which was screeching from a nearby rock pile and a small flock of Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) which flew by. 
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes (Roquero Rojo / Monticola saxatilis).
I then continued on up to Charca del Negro and on to the Goat Cave where Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) were added along with a migrating flock of Sparrowhawks (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), I counted 19 birds over a few minutes.
On the way down I saw two large Spanish Ibex (Capra pyreaica hispanica) moving through one of the mountain top fields, Several flocks of Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and around 10 Whinchats (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra) all in a small track side field. A Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and a male Blue Rock Thrush were all seen perched in the same large Hawthorn bush, with the Shrike right on top singing its head off. 
Spanish Ibex (Capra pyreaica hispanica).
On my way back down passed the crags I eventually saw the first Black Wheatears (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) of the morning and added Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) and Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) to the list. On the track up to and at the disused Quarry Dartford (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) were seen, along with Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and a single Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis).

Sunday 25 September 2011

Near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

Moth Trapping

Heliothis armigera (Scarce Bordered Straw).
Last night I made the decision to run the 125w MV lamp, what a mistake. I got up to find the trap, nearby plants and all the walls were swamped in small black beetles, literally 10s of thousands had been attracted in along with a few moths.
Clostera pigra (Small Chocolate-tip).
New species or first time identified moths included Heliothis armigera (Scarce Bordered Straw) x2 and a single Clostera pigra (Small Chocolate-tip).
Coscinia chrysocephala.
Other species of note were Coscinia chrysocephala, Leucochlaena oditis (Beautiful Gothic) and Tiger species Cymbalophora pudica.
Leucochlaena oditis (Beautiful Gothic).