Saturday, 8 September 2012

Charca del Suarez, Granada Province.

An interest morning for the birds and Dragons.

I met up with Beatriz and Juan at the usual spot in Granada but at a much better time of the morning than usual 08:00 and we headed down to the coast to spend a morning birding at and around Charca del Suarez. We were meeting Jacinto at the reserve at 09:00 so as we were a little early we had a look at the damp areas behind the industrial units just of the road down to the port. We pulled up once we were on the side road to get the bins out and had a scan over the nearby fields, Beatriz soon found several Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) which were coming down to feed on the road side along with at least 3 Red Avadavats (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava). I then picked up a small raptor in a small tree out in the cane fields which I immediately identified as a Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) and quickly got Juan and Beatriz on to it but the bird was still sat in the same spot as we drove off heading towards the reserve entrance. On the way we also saw Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis). We arrived to find the gates were already open and Jacinto waiting for us so we went in and had a chat with Manuel Mañani the warden and another chap who was doing some ringing. He was just processing some birds including a couple of Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and a Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos). At this point Juan, Jacinto and another birder who was watching the ringing walked back to the spot where we had earlier seen the Kite while Beatriz and I stayed and did a trap round with the ringer. We started by heading down the edge of the site where he had placed half a dozen spring type traps which were baited with a meal worn, all but one were empty and this had a nice Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula) in it. We returned and the Robin was processed and then we walked out to the back of Laguna del Taraje and checked the long row of 60ft mist nets, here we found another couple of Reed Warbler and a single Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus). We then returned to the hut and the birds were processed, a little later Juan and the others returned and had seen the Kite which was still sat in the same tree. We then made our way around the reserve starting at Laguna del Lirio where we added Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) to the list along with Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum) and Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea). We moved on around to the first hide which over looks Laguna del Trébol but this was fairly quiet and we only managed to add a calling Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), four Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca) which flew over and dropped in on the far pool, Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus). At the second hide over looking the pool we picked up House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Red Avadavat males which were carrying feathers to build their nests and Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata). We then moved on around to the main hide but just before we reached there I spotted a small Dragonfly which settled in a tamarisk bush and allowed just the one shot before disappearing. I had thought when I first saw it that it was a female Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii) but the size and white looking pterostigma’s made me think otherwise. When I got home I sent the shot to Steve Jones (Dragonfly expert and Cornish County recorder) and he confirmed that it was in fact a teneral female Black Percher and the pterostigmas would darken with age and the size of this species can be very variable, sometimes due to a shorter larval stage (Thanks Steve). I then went into the hide where we had some more nice views of a Kingfisher, Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), a nice Purple Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio) which swam right out in the open and showed well, Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and a few fly over Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis). We stayed in here for some time, after about an hour the ringer turned up with a bird bag from which he produce a beautiful Kingfisher which he had just ringed. We all to the chance to take some shots of this cracking bird before he released it on to the main lake. As the time drew near to the closing of the reserve we started to make our way back to the exit via the small reed filled Laguna del Taraje and again we had more views of Kingfishers along with Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), a fine male Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria) and several Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii). We then moved on back to the gates and Jacinto headed off to Malaga and the three of us went north to Granada.

Photographs from the top: Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula), Clap Trap, Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus), female Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii) and Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis).

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