Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Huétor Fields, Huétor Tajár, Granada Province.

Good numbers of wintering birds on the local patch.

I headed down to the fields at the end of our road for a couple of hours birding on the local patch. I started on the track behind the bar and sat on the side of the river and scanned the fields, on the river there were several Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) bathing on a shallow spit and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) could be picked out all the way along the margins off into the distance. There were a lot more Northern Lapwings out on the fileds, in total during the couple of hours I must have noted getting on for a 1000 birds. They were joined by flocks of finches which flushed up on a regular basis allowing the different species to be picked out, they included Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) but surprisingly the commonest species with about a 100 birds was Brambling (Pizón Real / Fringilla montifringilla) a wintering species that turns up in varying numbers each year. Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) were also on the fields in good numbers along with a few Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and half a dozen Calandra's (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra). Both Spotless (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Common Starlings (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris) were on the wires and feeding in the Ponigranete bushes, they were joined by hordes of House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Blackcaps (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla). I then checked the fields down towards the town and noticed that all the Northern Lapwings down that way were up and some were mobbing a mid sized Raptor which turned out to be one of the three regular female Hen Harriers (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) which are wintering here. On the side of the irrigation canal there were lots of Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) feeding amongst the Horsetail plants and a cracking male Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) which was bobbing its tail on the concrete edges.I then moved a little further along the river down one of the many dirt tracks, new species seen included a decent sized flock of about 30 Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), a couple of Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis) and on the return drive along the same track there was a couple of Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis). I then drove down the track towards the Mesia road and just after crossing the railway bridge I saw another Green Sandpiper on a small pool on the side of the track, on this same pool I found several Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallingao gallinago) some of which showed well, a winter plumaged Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta) and in a nearby Fig tree a pair of Common Stonechats (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).I spent quite a while here taking a few shots of the Snipe and hoped to get the Water Pipit but it stayed just out of sight of the camera. After a while I moved on to the fields on the Mesia side of the site and continued to follow the river back around to Huétor, on the way a Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) flew along infront of me, a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) flushed out from a stand of Poplars along with a Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) andjust as I reached Huétor a Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) flapped lazily over the fields. I then made my way back across country to the railway bridge and parked there for a while and scanned the fields, mixed in with a nearby flock of Northern Lapwings I counted at least 19 Golden Plover (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaia) which were my first sighting of the winter for this species. I then drove back along the river and towards home, on the way a few more species were added including Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus).
Photographs from the Top: Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) and 2x Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallingao gallinago).

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