I met Juan Perez at the usual place and we made our way down to Cabo Sacratif to Carry out the RAM sea bird survey for November. After the winds and rain of the previous week I was very pleased to find that the weather down on the coast was much more mild and there was just a steady breeze in off the sea. We started the sea watch at 08:30 and soon started to record good numbers of Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) and Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) with the Gannets moving both east and west but all the Balearic were passing eastwards. During the watch we also saw a few Cory's Shearwater (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea), 3 Great Skua's(Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo),Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii).
Sea bird passage was not all that was going on, whilst we were sat on the headland we were well aware of an almost constant passage of passerines west along the coast. Flocks of finches which were made up of mainly Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Serin's(Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) were flying by but amongst the common birds we also picked out a few Siskin (Lúgano / Carduelis spinus) which were a new species for my Granada list and at least three Brambling (Pizón Real / Fringilla montifringilla) a year tick.
We then moved on to Motril Port to spend some time looking through the wintering Gull flocks to read some of the colour rings. We made a good start with a couple of Med Gulls one which was from Hungary (HUR3) and another from Italy (OCAJ), a Black-headed Gull (TJYW) from Poland and Lesser Black-backs from Belgium (LCA.T), Norway (TW) and UK plus other places. Our next stop was at Charca del Suarez where we started at the small hide on the anti-clockwise route around the reserve but there was a work party in the reeds so we did not see much from here and decided co continue on around to the next hide which was much quieter. Here we added Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and Purple Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio) to the list along with Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), a single Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) which had either decided to winter or was just a bit late passing through, Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Cattle Egret(Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and a female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus).
Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii).
We moved on around the reserve, a few Dragonflies were still on the wing, the commonest were the 20 plus Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) we saw but we also recorded a few MigrantHawkers (Aeshna mixta) and small numbers of both Lesser(Anax parthenope) and Blue / CommonEmperor (Anax imperator). A few butterflies were also seen during the visit including Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Small (Artogeia rapae), Large (Pieris brassicae) and Bath Whites(Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), a single Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus) and what Juan thought was probably a Plain Tiger((Danaus chrysippus) but I missed getting good views which was a pain as I have not yet caught up with species in Spain. We moved on again and spent some time in the main hide scanning the main pool, new species here includedLittle Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta),Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Wigeon (Silbón Europeo / Anas Penelope), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla), Common Pochard(Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Great Tit(Carbonero Común / Parus major), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis).
We spent some time at the last smaller hide looking for a female Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca) but dipped on it and did not add anything new to the day list. At 1 o'clock we made our way back towards the exit and had a drive out to the rear of the reserve to check the wet areas, as we were searching the site we bumped into two more Spanish birders who were doing some ringing on the area. During the morning they had seen a couple of Common Cranes (Grulla Común / Grus grus), a male Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) and had caught and ringed a Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix) which again was either on a late passage or as the ringer suspects a wintering bird. We went and had a look in some areas Juan knew trying to catch up with the Cranes as the chap that saw them thought that they had landed not far away but we could not find them.
We did however add Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus), Song (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) and Mistle Thrushes (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula), Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and a sizable flock of Siskins (30+) to the list.
We then started to make our way back to Granada where I dropped off Juan and headed home, on the way a splendid adult Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) was seen perched on a telegraph pole at the side of the A92 and on the fields to the north of Huetor I also addedAzure-winged (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) and Common Magpies (Urraca / Pica pica), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) and a female Hen Harrier.
Photographs from the top: 4x Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) and 2x Mediterranean Gulls (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus).