Thursday 17 November 2011

El Temple, Granada Province.

Second try for the rare Harrier.

Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo).
I headed out towards the site where the Harrier had been seen but this time cut across country and covered several areas on the way picking up several big flocks of both Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) but the numbers of these species were dwarfed by the huge numbers of Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) which were everywhere. One flock of Buntings must have numbered well over a 1000 individuals. Also seen were several Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
Once on site I had a male Merlin (Esmerejón / Falco columbarius) flash past within a few feet of the car followed by a nice but much more distant Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) and a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and that was it for raptors. I spent another couple of hours in the area and did not even manage any of the Hen Harriers seen on the last visit, in fact I saw very little else of interest so I pushed on down to Embalse de Bermjalise to see what was about and not a lot was the answer, I picked up a couple of Great Cormorants (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and a Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and that was about it. 
I then started to move north up the Cacín Valley back towards home. In the lower gorge I had some nice views of a pair of Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus) and a male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) which sat and called nicely right up till I was about to take its photograph. 
Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
Further on up the Cacín road I stopped at the smaller Embalse which by normal standards was also quite quiet and held just a few Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), lots of Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), both Green (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and a noise but shy Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti). I finished off at a site near by where I had nice views of at least 24 Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis), a huge female Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus), another Merlin and a couple of Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus) which helped to boost the raptor list. Also seen in this area were Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and dozens of Black Redstarts (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros).

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

A couple of hours on the local patch.

Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
I spent a couple of hours on the fields just to the north of Huétor Tajar just having a look at some of the species that were about. On the track along the Arroya I was hoping for the Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) flock we had seen a couple of days ago but found a tractor ploughng up the cut Lucerne fields. Around 30 Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) were following his plough picking off any thing that was disturbed. 
Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
Good numbers of Crested (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Sky (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) and Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) were joined by lots of Meadow Pipits (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), Linnets (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Tree Sparrows (Gorrión Molinero / Passer Montanus) on the rougher stubble areas. Several smal flocks of Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) and Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) were in the Poplar plantations along with at least 25 Mistle (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and equal numbers of Song Thrushes (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos).  
Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) were everywhere and some birds were perched up high singing (well rattling) just like a spring morning. In some small drainage ditches on the side of the Mesia road Cetti’s Warblers (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) were also blasting out their notes and over head the songs of both Calandra and Skylarks could be heard. 
Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus).
Other species seen included Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).