Thursday, 22 November 2012

Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

An afternoon stroll around the local patch.

Jayne had gone over to Trabuco for the weekly Craft Group meeting and the sun was out so I decided to go and have a stroll around the closer parts of the local patch. I left the house and walked down hill through Realenga and out into the Olive groves further down the hill. On the way the first species to be seen included Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris). I then moved out into the agricultural area which surround the town and continue along the Rio Genil right the way to Granada in the west and way on past Loja in the east. The first bird that showed up was a very confiding Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) which showed down to about a meter in the very edge of an Asparagus field which had been left to grown to fronds over the winter. Crested Larks (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) flew up from the ploughed field on the opposite side of the road along with loads of White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) which winter around this area in huge numbers. Next came the first of the three female Hen Harriers (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) I saw during the walk, quickly followed by a male Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus) which was perched on one of the many over head cables. As I walked down the road towards the bar more species were added including Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus) and Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops). I then passed the bar (that took some doing) and went out on to the fields and walked along the river. On the harvested fields to my left there were a small number (25) of Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), around 50 or so Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), the second female Hen Harrier which was easily separated from the first as it looked much darker in the wings and a huge flock of Azure-winged Magpies which flew the full length of the open area between La Fabrica and the nearest Poplar plantation and must have contained nearly 150 birds. I continued the walk along the raised bank which followed the river down to the first reedbed where it got to muddy to continue, along here there was a sizable flock of finches which was made up mainly of Common Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Serins but as they flushed up into the Poplar trees there were at least 5 Bramblings (Pizón Real / Fringilla montifringilla) mixed in with them. On the river which was quite swollen after resent rains there were a small number of Common Moorhens (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), a single Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and a male Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) which had a completely blue throat with out a spot. I retraced my way back along the bank and checked the ground between some young Olive trees which gave me some nice views of a female Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) which when it saw me flew up and landed in a Poplar tree nearby. Within the next few meters of the walk I also had a male Sparrowhawk which was sat up in a conifer tree slightly further along the bank eating a male Greenfinch it had just caught, unfortunately it flushed but only dropped on to the opposite bank of the river where it continued to pluck and eat it catch. I got back onto the main track along the river and scanned the fields down towards the town, in one of the Lucerne fields I could see some brown heads and necks sticking up which belonged to a few of the wintering Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) and in a nearer ploughed field there were at least 70 Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) in one of their day time roosts roosting. The Curlews (up to 900 in a good year) usually collect on a small area of land near the town but this year the strips in this area are still planted with maze so they are scattered but still in good number, it just makes counting tem difficult. This winter we have had a couple of Black-winged Kites (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) on the site but I had not seen them for a week or so but while I was checking this same area I picked up one of the birds perched in a very low bush near the railway line. I was pleased with this and even better was a sighting of the second bird which dropped out of the top of a dying Oak tree, again down near the railway line. I then walked back passed the bar and on along the road back up to Realenga, along here I added Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) before getting home.

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