Saturday, 1 December 2012

RAM, Motril Port, Charca del Suarez, Granada Provinvce and Fuente de Piedra, Mlaga Province.

A day of two halves and another Granada Province Lifer.

This months meeting with Juan Perez for
our monthly sea watch seemed to come around quickly this time but I was at the usual place in Granada for 07:30. We set off in Juans motor heading for Cabo Sacratif which is on the eastern side of Torrenueva near Motril, Juan parked up and we made our way up the hill to the watch point. On the way we picked up a few species along the way including Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis). We got set up and started the recording session, straight away we were counting good numbers of both Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) and Balearic Shearwaters (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) which were coming through in small flocks along with at least 3 Great Skua's (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua), a few Sandwich Terns (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Great Cormorants (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo) and the usual Gulls which included Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Yellow-legged plus a couple of immature Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) both of which I missed. During the first half of the watch when I was going long distance Juan called a group of ducks which were flying low over the sea about half way out, I got onto them just as he said they were Common Scoters (Negrón Común / Melanitta nigra) and the flock of ten birds was mixed males and female which could be picked out even at the range we were watching them at. We continued to pick up new species but they were all on the landward side and included a singing male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), a couple of fly over Siskins (Lúgano / Carduelis spinus) and several Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis). On the walk back down Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), a nice male Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) were all seen. As were several species of late flowering plants, which were Yellow Sea Aster (Asteriscus maritimus), Field Marigold (Calendula arvensis), Cut-leaved Lavender (Lavandula multifida), Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima), Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris) and several bushes of Withania frutescens.
We then made our way to the fish port to have a look for ringed Gulls but the port was very busy and the only Gulls about were on a roof where we could not get to view them so we headed to Charca early only adding Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta) to the days growing total. On the way we went and had a look at a couple of the pools on the nearby golf course, our best finds were a fine male Eurasian Wigeon (Silbón Europeo / Anas Penelope) on a small pool near the beach andon the beach a single Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus). On the drive back to Charca we had some very nice views of an immature male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), picked up a small flock of Reed Buntings (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus) in the disused cane fields and had a pale phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) circling over the sites back entrance.
Charca was open by the time we got there so we headed for the hide over looking the first pool walking anti-clockwise, here we picked up Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) along with a fly through Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) and lots of flyover Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris). Whilst there we also heard Cetti'sWarbler and then a couple of Penduline Tits (Pájaro Moscón / Remiz pendulinus) one of which was a very smart female which showed briefly but well in the reeds. We then moved around to the next hide, on the way we scanned the willow trees near the track which often have a
Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) or two roosting in them and we were not disappointed when Juan picked up an adult and I located a Juvenile bird. We continued on the the hide which proved to be very productive, starting with the female Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca) which had been at the site for some time but had eluded me on my last two visits, a group of  Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), a couple of mixed up displaying Purple Swamp-hens (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Water Pipit (Bistita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), calling Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), dozens of feeding Common Chiffchaffs, a confiding pair of Common Stonechats and Juan had distant views of a Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) which had disappeared into cover by the time I got onto the spot. On our way around to the hide on the opposite side of the same pool we saw a couple of Common Buzzards (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla). From the hide we added Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and two  Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) before going to the main hide where we saw Manu the warden. From here the light was terrible but we still picked up Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina) and Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata) before leaving to go to the last hide. On the way around we added Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs).From the last hide we did not add any more bird species but we did hear the Penduline Tits again and pick up a few dragonfly species including Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta). Juan and I then walked back to the car and started to make our way home, during the journey I had fleeting glimpses of both Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) in a motorway side Quarry. We got back to Granada and Juan went home and I headed back towards Huétor for lunch, on the way I saw Woodpigeons (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) by the hundred, Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata). I went back from Huétor to the house across the fields picking up one of the wintering Black-winged Kites (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus), a flock of Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), a couple of Common Starlings (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris) amongst the hoards of Spotless and a Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) on the Arroya. Once I got home I had lunch and waited for a call from Juan to say that he and his wife Beatriz were on there way over to met us at the Cortijo de Tajar hotel near the A92  and continue on to Fuente de Piedra. The call came and we started the journey over to Fuente, on the way I saw a Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) on some overhead wires and a couple of Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) which flew across the carrageway near Salinas. We arrived at Fuente but a couple of coach trips had been though first so there had been a lot of disturbance already but we went for a walk out on to the board walk where the only waders were about 5 Black-winged Stilts and a few Snipe. On the far side of the area there was a large patch of weeds which held a good number of feeding Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra),as well as a few Reed Buntings and some House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus), Juan picked up a Spanish Sparrow (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis) but it had dived in to the thistles before I got onto it. We then retraced our steps and walked out infront of the centre and viewed the main Lagoon, here we saw hundreds of Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber),1000s of Northern Shovelers, a Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) along with thousands of Gulls which were
coming into Roost. The main hide which looked over the larger of the two fresh water pools was full so we went down to the smaller hide but there was not a lot to be seen, Juan then found a couple of Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) amongst the dozens of Little Grebes on the tail end of the larger lagoon.I the saw a movement from on to of the back which turned out to be an Egyptian Mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon) which disappeared down a Rabbit hole but reappeared after about ten minutes giving us some great views. We then went to the other hide which had now empted, from here we added Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera) to the list but nothing else. It was now nearing 18:00 so we went into the visitor centre to attend the meeting we had come for which was the release of the new book about the Birds of Fuente de Piedra. We listened to the presentation and then had a chat with a few of the Spanish birder I knew and met Eva and her husband who run Ronda mountain walking in Grazalema for a chat. After quite a while we all got back into Juan's motor and headed home.

Thanks Juan for doing all the driving.

Well what a day, long, busy but well worth it with 86 species being seen in total (3 of which I missed).

Photographs from the top: Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca), 2x Purple Swamp-hens (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), The talk about the Book and the front cover of this very good publication.

2 comments:

Jesús Del Valle said...

Hi Mick. Nice to see you coming into my blog, I appreciate it.
I have had a watch to yours and let me say you are kind of another Birds fundamentalist! fantastic...
I also have red you are in contact with extremely wise Juan Perez he has a 500mm on each of his eyes, good.
If you move around Loja, maybe you know some of my architectural performances around there, my latest is in Torre de la Gallina half way from El Salar to Alhama, a weddings and allsort of events building. Hotel La Bobadilla in Loja is my most known design altough Bodega Señoría de Nevada is probably my most popular buiding.
I might be engaged very shortly on another job in Algarinejo so maybe I pay you a visit on my way from Almuñecar to there. I hope you have nothing against architects!
Hope to keep you around blog. JESUS

LojaWldlife said...

Hola Jesus.

Thank you for you comments about the blog, as you say it is go to know that someone is reading our efforts. I have no problems with Architects, I have visited the Bobadilla hotel (very impressive) and if you have the time when passing this way it would be good to meet up. Yes I was very lucky to meet Juan Perez not long after arriving in Spain, he has help me with information about sites and identification on many occasions and we have had some good times together birding.

Thanks Mick.