Sunday, 8 January 2012

Cacín Valley and La Malaha, Granada Province.

3rd time unlucky.

After a call a couple of days earlier from birding friends John and Jenny Wainwright, Jayne and I headed down to the Embalse de Bermejalis to try and catch up with the three Egyptian Geese (Ganso del Nilo / Alopochen aegyptiaca) that they have recorded there on a few occasions now but I could not find them even with quite a long drive and walk around the shoreline. I did get views of at least 6 Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Grey (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala). Whilst I was birding Jayne had collected two large backs of cones off the pine trees which we were hoping might stop the ****** cats from dumping in every bodies plant pot!!!
We then started the drive back towards home via the Cacín Valley, the gorge was still very quiet as none of the breeding birds had returned to there nests and the wind kept most other species down low in the cover. We did pick up Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
Once we reached Cacín we made the decision to turn east and head for Ventas de Huelma along a winding mountain road looking for the larger raptors but we dipped totally and had to be happy with some nice views of a female Merlin (Esmerejón / Falco columbarius), a male Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), a Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) which sat well for the camera and a Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) which stayed long enough for one shot. We then stopped and had a baguette in the bar on the main junction in Ventas de Huelma (Meson Banardo’s or something similar) and what a baguette, the olive which were given as tapas were fantastic but the baguette was out of this world, mine was huge and stuffed full of very nice pork and Jayne’s cheese and onion was equally as good and all for less than nine euro!!!
Our next stop was a little further on towards Granada at a Harrier and Owl roost, when we arrived there was an empty car but no people but I soon discovered that the occupants were Spanish wildlife photographers (I use the description loosely) as all they did was make loads of noise and kept any birds that were approaching the roost well away in the distance. No Short-eared Owls (Búho Campestre / Asio flammeus) showed at dusk and as we have already seen birds here this winter I can only guess they these pillocks had flushed / disturbed any birds there. I got distant views of at least 3 male and 3 female Hen Harriers (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) but to make things worse just as the birds needed to get into the roost the photographers decided to pack up there hides and made even more noise.
Photographs from the top: Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), a view of the Sierra Nevada from above Cacín and The Moon from the roost site.

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