Saturday 5 November 2011

Motril Area, Granada Province.

Novembers RAM, a visit to the Port and Charca.

Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis).
Juan Perez and I again made our way down to what I had expected to be a wet and dull coast for Novembers RAM but we were both pleasantly surprise when it was nice and sunny but windy when we arrived. On the way I saw a small flock of Hirundines from one of the motorway bridges, most of the birds were Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) but there was at least one House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) amongst them.
Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis).
After parking up we made our way out to the headland and set our selves up for the next couple of hours of breezy sea watching. Numbers of birds were up due mainly to the wind blowing things closer in to the shore, Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) were probably the commonest species counted, several hundred birds of all age groups being seen. Both Balearic (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) and Cory's Shearwaters (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea) passed in small flocks and at least three Great Skua's (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua) were seen usually harassing the Shearwaters. Other birds recorded included Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) but not a single Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) was seen here or at the port later. 
Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros).
More land based birds included Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus) and a swift fly-by by a Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus).
Water Pipit (Bistita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta).
In the port we were disappointed with Gull numbers but there was a lot of activity with more of the large concrete storage areas where the Gulls usually roost being full. We did get numbers of a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls and also added Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus) to the list.
Our final stop was a brief rush to a couple of the hides at Charca del Suarez, here got some cracking views of a winter plumaged Water Pipit (Bistita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), loads of Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), a couple of Western Swamp-hens (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and a very nice Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) which passed low over the hide. Three species of dragonfly were still on the wing, Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) and Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta).
Water Pipit (Bistita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta).
Other birds recorded here included Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Crag Martin and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
Juan dropped me off at the car park near Aki and instead of going on the motorway I went back across country to Santa Fe and joined the A92 there mainly due to the traffic at the roundabout exiting the car park. On the way I saw a male Merlin (Esmerejón / Falco columbarius) another Booted Eagle, Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), a small flock of around 40 Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) and a single Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus).
Western Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio).

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

Still the Bustards elude us.

On our way down to the supermarket Jayne and I had a quick tour around the fields again to try and locate the missing Bustards, the female Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) again showed very well as did the Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) and Black Redstarts (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros). On the fields by the river we spent some time searching through the flocks of Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) looking for any Common but with out any success. In this area we also recorded around 90 Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), a couple of hundred Woodpigeons (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), 80+ Collared Doves (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and a flock of 32 Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) which were just sat in the center of a newly cut Lucerne field resting. We continued on around the area but again we failed to hind no sign of the Bustards but did add Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula).

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Loja to Zafarraya Road, Granada Province.

In search of later Orchids but only finding ones for next year.

Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) female.
After a brief visit to the English in Loja meeting I headed off down the valley towards the town of Zafarraya to look for some Orchids. On the way down a small group of 8 or so Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) were soaring in the fantastic blue skies over the western slopes of Sierra de Loja and at several points along the road Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) were perched up high looking for their next meal. Once in the area I started to find the leaf rosettes of Giant Orchids (Himantoglossum robertiana) by the dozen this looked good for next years show. In the Oaks surrounding this site I could see and hear Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) which along with White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) at this time of year are almost constantly on view where ever you are. I moved a little further on towards Zafarraya and stopped in a lay-by and walked for a KM or so back towards Loja. During this walk which was on a nice sunny length of road I picked up quite a few species of butterfly including Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Brimstone (Limonera / Gonepteryx rhamni), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias crocea), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Small White (Artogeia rapae) and Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) not bad for the first of November! 
Southern Autumn Crocus (Crocus serotinus).
In all the areas visited the commonest wildflower was the Southern Autumn Crocus (Crocus serotinus) which grew in therir hundreds. Birds included Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), singing Blackcaps (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).
On the way home I went back across the fields north of Huétor Tajar to see if I could find the late arriving Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) flock which for the last five years had been on site by now. I did not find the Bustards but I had some stunning views of a female Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus), lots more Iberian  Magpie, Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and a snoozing Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) which look very happy having a nap in the nice warm sun.