Sunday, 23 September 2012

Embalse de Cubillas, Padul and Realenga de Agicampe, Granada Province.

Birding the Granada area wetlands.

I started by dropping Jayne and Barb off at the large Market on the outskirts of Granada City and then headed off towards Embalse de Cubillas which lies just to the north of Granada. In the North east corner where the Rio Cubillas and Blanco enter the lake I spent a couple of hours watching some interesting species. As I got out of the car I immediatly picked a calling Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), several Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and a Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) making its way up a nearby Pine tree. I made my way down to the side of the water which was at a much lower level than the last time I was there but with the lack of rain last winter it is not really surprising. On the margins there were quite good numbers of waders, most were either Ringed (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) or Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) along with a few of both Green (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos). Amongst the waders there were lots of Wagtails most were White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) but in the more vegetated areas there were also quite a few Yellows (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava) of three different subspecies (flavissima, iberiae and flava). On the water I could see a small group of birds which was made up mainly of Eurasian Coots (Focha Común / Fulica atra) but there was also a couple of female Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca) and a single female Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) in the mix. Further back from the waters edge there was a small group of roosting Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) resting along with a few more birds dotted around the area, intotal there were about 25 birds on view. I walked along the margins towards a few dead pine trees which had fallen over in to the water as there were quite a few small birds flitting around in their branches. The commonest specie here was by far Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) with at least 30 birds in the three trees, these were seen along with a couple of Pied (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) and a single Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Great (Carbonero Común / Parus major) and Coal Tits (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis). Down on the waters edge I added a pair of Grey Wagtails (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) which were chasing each other around amongst the rocks, several Serins (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) which were coming down to drink and a little further away there was a single Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta) feeding. I then had a scan out across the water a picked up several hirundines including Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica /
Hirundo daurica) and  Sand (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and on a dead stick an Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus) on doubt one of the 3 birds Juan Perez had seen yesterday. I then started to walk back towards the car seeing several Red Squirrels (Sclurus vulgaris) in the pines along with 3 Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) and a Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) all moving down the lake towards the dam.
I then went back into the city and picked Jayne and Barb up, we were going to have some lunch but the place was not opening for an hour so I suggested that as we had some time to kill we might just pop down the motorway to Padul where Juan had seen three female Mandarin Ducks (Pato mandarin / Aix galericulata) earlier in the morning. We arrived at the spot where he had seen them but found quite a few people were unfortunately walking around the margins and all the birds had flushed. We spent some time in the hide and picked up 5x Great Cormorants (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) all new for the day list.We then made our way back to Granada and had Lunch before heading back home to spend the rest of the afternoon on the terrace. Almost as soon as we sat down a cracking male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) came drifting up from the fields over the Olive trees, we also saw Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), 3x
Short-toed Eagles (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and during the few house we were up there there was a constant passage of hirundines along with dozens of Alpine Swift (Vencejo Real / Apus melba).
Photgraphs from the top: Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus), Red Squirrel (Sclurus vulgaris) and Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea).

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