Thursday 26 April 2012

Home near Huétor Tajar and Huetor Fields, Granada Province, Spain.

From the Terrace and a new species for the local patch.

Today we were staying local party because I am shattered and also Jayne needs the car to go to craft group in Trabuco. We spent most of the morning birding from the terrace where the Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) kept upsetting the local Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) by perching up high in the fig trees. In the olives we could hear at least two possibly three Golden Orioles (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) calling along with a male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) which was singing from further up the Barranco. Several Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) were seen flying low over the tree tops and both Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus) and Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) were heard. 
Other species seen before we went out birding properly were European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus).
We had a lift off Jayne down as far as Huétor before starting to make our way out on to the field from the south. On the walk through the small industrial estate we picked up Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata). 
We continued on past the model aircraft landing strip and up onto the railway bridge, along the way there were several Tree Sparrows (Gorrión Molinero / Passer Montanus) mixed in with the large numbers of House Sparrows, singing Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Serins (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) which were feeding on a small weedy field and in the air lots of Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus). Just as we reached the far side of the bridge two birds got up out of a nearby field and flew straight towards us, they were a pair of Collared Pratincoles (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola) an new species for my local patch and only the second and third I had ever seen in the province. 
We continued on across the fields towards the bridge over the Arroya and then took the track that follows it to the east adding Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix) and Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) on the way. From the track we has cracking views of a nice male Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), heard and saw several Golden Orioles (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and had several Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) collecting reed tops for nesting material. 
We then heard a calling Eurasian Scops Owl (Autillo Europeo / Otus scops) from in one of the poplar plantation but we could not see the bird so we continued on along the track and went under the low railway bridge crossing the Arroya. This was an area I had not been into and it was quite different to the other side of the bridge where we had just come from as the irrigation channel feeds in to here and instead of being completely dry it had running water and was lush and green. 
Here we had several singing Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), a single Green (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and a pair of Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and a migrating Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis). 
We then made our way back out under the bridge and followed the track on the opposite side of the dry Arroya back towards the bar at the bottom of the road, on the way we saw Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata).
We stopped off at the bar and had a couple of beers and some tapas just to keep us going and then made our way back up towards the house. Jayne came home and later we were joined by another birder who was visiting just for the one night, Andy Mountford. We went down to Huétor for a meal before heading home.

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