Thursday, 23 August 2012

Padul, Mesia and Balsa del Regidor, Granada Province.

Day Two of Steve's visit.

Today started with a visit to the market at Santa fe on the out skirts of Granada where we had a walk around a rather depleted number of stalls due to there being a local fiesta on at the same time. After the market the plan was to drop Jayne off in the city and for the rest of us to go down to the Padul wetlands but Lynn and Adam decided to join Jayne in the city. Once we had dropped the others off Steve and I headed south to Padul where we started our visit from the access track along the main canal. In the area where we parked we soon picked up Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and in one of the fig trees a nice Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus). We started to make our way along the stream at the side of the main track which we were surprised to find was mainly made up of raw sewage and stank badly which for a part of a well know nature reserve did not give a good first impression and this stench continued right down to the hide. On the way we picked up several Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea) and a Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) which considering the water quality we thought we were doing quite well! From the hide the birds included Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), a single immature Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and several Water Rails (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) most were heard but one did show quite nicely along the back edge in the reeds. Whist we were watching the birds a nice female Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) sat on a reed in front of us and several Iberian Bluetails (Ischnura graellsii) and a single White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes) moved around in the dense marginal plants. We then left the hide and retraced our steps back to the foot bridge but then continued on around the boardwalk to the lake. On the first stretch we found the first of many Mediterranean Skippers (Gegenes nostrodamus), a couple of Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli), Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae) and Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas). Dragons included Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum) and a single Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria) which was the first time I had seen this species at this site. In the flooded woods we heard and saw Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major). We reached the covered seating area and a single Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / argynnis Pandora) behaved nicely for Steve’s camera as did one of the many Med Skippers we were seeing. We continued on along the trail to an area of fresh flowing water were we both got some nice shots of a male Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) before checking out the lake margins from an area which was screened by reed fencing. Here we added White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina) and Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) to the day list along with male Black-tailed Skimmers and Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias crocea), African Grass Blue (Niña esmaltada / Zizeeia knysna), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia) and Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria). We then retraced our steps and headed back towards the car, on the way seeing Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) for the bird list plus Iberian Water Frog (Rana Común / Rana Perezi), Viperine Snake (Culebra viperina / Natrix maura), Spanish Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa) and what looked like a great many very tall spikes of Fen Ragwort (Senecio paludosus). We then made our way around to a couple of the more open canal on the more agricultural parts of the area but only saw more Red-veined Darters and not a great deal else until we reached the other side of the lake where we had a quick walk along the margins, we did not see any new dragons but did add a very nice couple of Short-toed Eagles (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) one of which was carrying a rather large snake, lots of European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and a male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus). We then headed back into the city to pick the wanderers up before heading back to the house. Later Steve and I headed out again to a couple of local sites, the first was where the Rio Cacín joins the Genil at Mesia, here we saw several more White Featherlegs and a single Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) but not a lot else. So we made our way across country on the dirt tracks towards Balsa del Regidor a small well naturalized man made water deposito on the side of the A92 near Moraleda. On the way we saw several flocks of Azure-winged Magpies along with a few of the less common Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), a single male Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) which was rapidly leaving a small fig tree as we drove passed and several more European Bee-eaters. Steve then spotted a couple of Raptors above us which when we stopped and got out had move away but were quite obviously a pair of Goshawks (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis), the female disappeared quickly behind the olive trees but the males showed nicely as it drifted towards the A92. We eventually arrived at the pool where we quickly picked up a good number of Common Pochards, a few Northern Shovelers (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), 30+ Little Grebes and a couple of Cattle Egrets which had climbed to around 25 by the time we were leaving due to birds coming into roost. We walked along the northern shore and out onto the concrete jetty where we saw the first dragonflies, these were a trio of Lesser Emperors which were chasing each other around the rush tussocks. One of the males landed nicely for Steve to get what he thought would be his best shots of this species so far. We also had a few male Black-tailed Skimmers, Violet Dropwings and Red-veined Darters. I then had a scan along the western shoreline where I was surprised to find two adult Night Herons (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) which were only the second and third birds of this species I had seen at this site and the first adults. Steve managed quite a nice shot even though they were quite distant. We then went back to the car and back to the house via the supermarket.
Photographs from the top: Iberian Bluetails (Ischnura graellsii), Mediterranean Skippers (Gegenes nostrodamus), male Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) and Steve's shot of the Night Herons (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax).

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