Friday, 2 November 2012

Travelling to and in the Grazalema Area, Cadiz Province.

Birds, Amphibians and Rain !

Jayne and I started out quite early to make our way over to visit our good friend Sue Eatock and her young son Sam near Grazalema. On the way we made a short at Laguna Duce near Campillos and had a look what was on the pool and surrounding fields. The water level was starting to rise again, last winter lack of rain was being somewhat made up for by the rain which had fallen over the last week or so and was also going to added to through the next few days. On the water there were a few birds but not the number I had hoped for, Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina) and Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) were fairly numerous but the commonest ducks present were the 170+ White-headed (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) which formed several largish rafts in the centre of the lake. Also on the water were Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), 2x Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Black-necked (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus). On the far shore there was a small flock of around 50 Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), a couple of Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and over the reeds at least 3 female type Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus). The surrounding fields looked water logged but there were still a small flock of 10 or so Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) away in the distance and a small group of Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) off to the right hand side of the hide. In the marginal reeds and scrub I heard or saw Purple Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) and right infront of the hide a single late immature Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus). I then went back to the car and started off towards Campillos where we were calling at the supermarket to collect a few surpplys to take to Sues. But just as I reached the end of the slip road back on to the main carrageway a couple of Common Cranes (Grulla Común / Grus grus) flew over along with a female Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido /Circus cyaneus) which flapped lazily away over the lake. After calling at the supermarket we haded on to Ronda adding Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) and Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) to the trip list. We arrived at Sue's at about 11:30 and after a chat and some lunch we headed out towards Libar Valley near Montejaque where we were going to have a look for some amphibian speices in the wet areas near the head of the valley. But before we left I added 6 Siskin's (Lúgano / Carduelis spinus), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Great (Carbonero Común / Parus major) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula) in the garden.
Once we were up in Libar new species were coming all the way along the track, we started with Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) near the village. As we continued on up Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) and Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis) all got on to the growing list. Up in the Oak woods we made a stop to have a look at the Black pigs which were being kept under the trees and added a few more birds including Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea). We parked in the open area past the refuge and walked along one of the streams which were flowing well due to the recent rains, in one of the deeper pools we quickly found several Natterjack Toads (Bufo calamita), along with several Spanish Psammodromus (Psammodromus hispanicus) which were amongst the rock surounding the area. In the main pool we found lots of young Fire Salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) along with somewell developed tadpoles of the Iberian Water Frog (Rana Común / Rana Perezi) and some very large Great Silver Water Beetles (Hydrous piceus) thanks Sue. In the same are there were a couple of  Water Pipits (Bistita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), loads more Griffon Vultures and amongst some Spotless a few Common Starlings (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris). We then started our walk back to the car passing through carpets of Southern Autumn Crocus (Crocus serotinus) on the way back. We then drove back down the valley adding Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia) to the list before the rain came and we headed back to Sue's via the visitors centre to drop the 4x4 back to Clive. Back at the house we went through a lot of my unidentified insect shot and put names to quite a few.  End of day one !!! 
Photographs from the top: The Pigs, 2x Natterjack Toads (Bufo calamita), young Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra), Spanish Psammodromus (Psammodromus hispanicus), Jayne, Sue and Sam getting the picnic ready, Southern Autumn Crocus (Crocus serotinus), Old Oak in the pig area and Wolf Spider species (Tarantula lycosa).

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