Saturday 8 September 2012

Loja, Granada Province.

The September GOOD FORK CLUB meeting.

Den and Jayne.
After a very good days birding it was great to finish off with a brilliant evening / night with friends down in Loja at Jean and Davids house. We arrived at 19:30 to find the table set in the very nice surroundings of the court yard and ready for our next GOOD FORK meal.
Em and Greg.
David and Jean were there to met us and Dennis and Sue were hard at work getting the final parts of the meal ready. Soon Em and Greg, Peter and Silvia and Cherry had arrived and we all settled down to a cracking meal.
David and Peter.
Cherry, Jean and Sylvia.
The food.
We also enjoyed some good wine and by the end of the night some very interesting (sometimes lively) conversation!! Thanks again to Dennis, Sue, Jean and David for all their work and for another enjoyable evening.

Charca del Suarez, Granada Province.

An interest morning for the birds and Dragons.

Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus).
I met up with Beatriz and Juan at the usual spot in Granada but at a much better time of the morning than usual 08:00 and we headed down to the coast to spend a morning birding at and around Charca del Suarez. We were meeting Jacinto at the reserve at 09:00 so as we were a little early we had a look at the damp areas behind the industrial units just of the road down to the port. We pulled up once we were on the side road to get the bins out and had a scan over the nearby fields, Beatriz soon found several Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) which were coming down to feed on the road side along with at least 3 Red Avadavats (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava).
Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).
I then picked up a small raptor in a small tree out in the cane fields which I immediately identified as a Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) and quickly got Juan and Beatriz on to it but the bird was still sat in the same spot as we drove off heading towards the reserve entrance. On the way we also saw Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis). We arrived to find the gates were already open and Jacinto waiting for us so we went in and had a chat with Manuel Mañani the warden and another chap who was doing some ringing.
Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos).
He was just processing some birds including a couple of Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and a Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos). At this point Juan, Jacinto and another birder who was watching the ringing walked back to the spot where we had earlier seen the Kite while Beatriz and I stayed and did a trap round with the ringer.
Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula).
We started by heading down the edge of the site where he had placed half a dozen spring type traps which were baited with a meal worn, not sure how legal they would be, all but one were empty and this had a nice Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula) in it. We returned and the Robin was processed and then we walked out to the back of Laguna del Taraje and checked the long row of 60ft mist nets, here we found another couple of Reed Warbler and a single Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus). We then returned to the hut and the birds were processed, a little later Juan and the others returned and had seen the Kite which was still sat in the same tree.
Not so good looking traps.
We then made our way around the reserve starting at Laguna del Lirio where we added Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) to the list along with Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum) and Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea).
Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus).
We moved on around to the first hide which over looks Laguna del Trébol but this was fairly quiet and we only managed to add a calling Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), four Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca) which flew over and dropped in on the far pool, Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus).
At the second hide over looking the pool we picked up House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Red Avadavat males which were carrying feathers to build their nests and Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata). We then moved on around to the main hide but just before we reached there I spotted a small Dragonfly which settled in a tamarisk bush and allowed just the one shot before disappearing.
Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii).
I had thought when I first saw it that it was a female Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii) but the size and white looking pterostigma’s made me think otherwise. When I got home I sent the shot to Steve Jones (Dragonfly expert and Cornish County recorder) and he confirmed that it was in fact a teneral female Black Percher and the pterostigmas would darken with age and the size of this species can be very variable, sometimes due to a shorter larval stage (Thanks Steve).
I then went into the hide where we had some more nice views of a Kingfisher, Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), a nice Purple Swamp-hen (Calamón Común / Porphyrio porphyrio) which swam right out in the open and showed well, Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and a few fly over Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis).
Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis).
We stayed in here for some time, after about an hour the ringer turned up with a bird bag from which he produce a beautiful Kingfisher which he had just ringed. We all to the chance to take some shots of this cracking bird before he released it on to the main lake. As the time drew near to the closing of the reserve we started to make our way back to the exit via the small reed filled Laguna del Taraje and again we had more views of Kingfishers along with Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), a fine male Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria) and several Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii). We then moved on back to the gates and Jacinto headed off to Malaga and the three of us went north to Granada.

Friday 7 September 2012

Huétor Tájar, Granada Province.

A walk around Huétor.

Jayne and I made our way down to the part of the ring road around the town near to where the main road crosses the Genil and started to walk anti-clockwise around the town. The first stretch was along the Genil but the only things seen were the Feral Geese that escaped from the duck pond in the park and have so far refused to return. We continued on along side the park and passed the agricultural stretch where in the quite natural looking irrigation channel there were a couple of Iberian Bluetails (Ischnura graellsii) resting on a species of Pondweed possibly Potamogeton gramineus but I will have to check it some other time. Also seen in this stretch were Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice).
Birds included Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), the Iberian race of Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica). We then went up passed the cemetery and on to the Northern side of the town where we had good views out over my local patch, here we added Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica).
The last third of the walk was down the western side of the town past the feria ground which was being prepared ready for next weeks fiesta and down to the river again and back along to the car. Along here we saw a single Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta) and an albino Collared Dove which stood out well in the Tamarisk trees along the river. During the walk a few more plants were seen including Xanthium spinosum, Hoary Mullien (Verbascum pulverulentum), Spanish Thistle (Scolymus hispanicus), Shrub Tobacco (Nicotinana glauca), Squirting Cucumber (Ecballium elaterium), Mediterranean Daphne (Daphne gnidium) and Borage (Borago officinalis).

Thursday 6 September 2012

Frigiliana, Nerja and Rincon de la Victoria, Malaga Province.

A day on the Costa.

Jayne and I set off reasonable early for the coast after getting an email from a person who was getting me some stationary from the UK to say she had my order. On the way down to Velez Malaga we went along the usual route via Salar, Venta de Zafarraya and down through the English enclave of Cruce de Don Manuel until we reached the coastal motorway.
On the way we saw several interesting species including an immature Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Crested (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra).
We drove along the coast and were soon in Frigiliana and had soon found the market but unfortunately Janet had been sent the wrong books when we opened them up so we left bookless but decided to say and have a look around this very nice white town and in some of its shops (mistake). Will I stared it off with a decorative frog for the back terrace and then Jayne joined in by finding a throw for the settee which was in just the colours we wanted, so it was not a wasted journey.
We then continued on to Nejar where we again had a nice walk around, this was followed by a brief visit to the centre at Velez Malaga and then a trundle along the coast road towards Malaga. A while ago a friend Brenda Jones had told us how nice Rincon de la Victoria was so when we reach this area we parked up and had a walk along the prom and she was quite right it was very nice. We headed west and through a large tunnel in the coastal cliffs and then took the cliff top walk down into La Cala del Moral where we had a drink at a nice beach side bar before walking back again, in total it was a nice 3 ½ hours walk.
Like a plank did not take my bins on the walk but I did see Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), a couple of Cory's Shearwaters (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea) which passed incredibly close into shore and a very green Iberian Wall Lizard (Podarcis hispanica). Once back at the car we made our way home via the motorways, on the journey the only new species was a Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) which was taking a break on an electrical pylon.

Sunday 2 September 2012

Home near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

Migration through the Fig tree!

After getting past the worst of a nasty stomach bug that I have had for the last couple of days I was up and around a little earlier this morning and spent a few minutes having a look in the fig tree out side the back door. I was instantly drawn to a large warbler which dropped from view the second I got on it but I was fairly confident that the bird seen was a male Orphean (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis). A few seconds later it popped back into view and my initial id was confirmed as the bird was an immature male a new bird for the Garden list.
I continued to make my coffee and a tea for Jayne but again I was side tracked by the scolding calls of another bird from in the tree, this time it was an easy one to pick up as it was just a couple of meters away feeding on one of the nicely ripe figs. This time it was a Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus) which was also a new bird for the Garden.
After breakfast we got on with a few jobs which for me included clearing up the fallen figs as they attract the ants and wasps, whist I was sorting the larger of the two trees there were several Iberian  Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) feeding in the upper branches and a male Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) which flew in right next to where I was standing, saw me and disappeared rapidly into the other tree.
In the garden there were the usual Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus) and Serins (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) but up in the roses near the road I picked up a couple of birds low down in the bushes, the first was a male Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla) which was nice but not unusual but the second was a male Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) a much less regular visitor.
Before I knew it that was the morning gone but it had been quite a good one with two new species for the garden list. Later in the day I watched a small group of around 10 Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) come over the house and drop down into the olives towards Huétor Tájar, a good end to the day.