Friday 14 September 2012

Travelling to and at Rio Velez, Malaga Province.

Lots of visible bird migration.

Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus).
Jayne and I set off down to Torre del Mar on the cross country route via Salar and Venta de Zafarraya on the way we saw several Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) which were still in the usual spots along the way along with Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Crested (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata) and Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).
Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba).
I dropped Jayne off in Torre and went down to the Rio Velez for a couple of hours birding, straight away I stared to see interesting species including Green (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta). I then walked down stream towards the beach for a while adding Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus), Great Reed (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Cetti’s Warblers (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula).
Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba).
I then went back up on to the track and walked down as far as the pump house and then started to have a look across the fields from some of the many tracks. Here migration was quite obvious with large numbers of Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) moving west through the site along with a lot of House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and just a sprinkling of Sand Martins (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia). There were a couple of fields which had been left fallow for some time and were now covered in quite a dense growth of weeds / wildflowers and amongst them I located a couple of Dartford Warblers (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), a single Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), several Willow Warblers (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus), a single male Subalpine (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) and in one of the fruit trees the first of at least 3 Orphean’s (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis).
Immature Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
Also seen out in the more open areas was a single male Black-eared (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) and 4x Northern Wheatears (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), a flock of 9 Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), the more usual Thekla and Crested, 5x Common Waxbills (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis).
I then made my way out onto the beach and immediately found 3 Sanderlings (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba) running with the waves. I then set the scope up and scanned through the birds out to see and quickly counted over 90 Cory's Shearwaters (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea) most of them sat on the sea in a couple of rafts, a couple of Balearic’s (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) flew through heading east along with quite a few Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) and Sandwich Terns (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis).
Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer Montanus).
After a few minutes a lot of the Shearwaters and the loafing Gulls flew and gathered around an area of what looked like newly discharge sewage just off the coast which gave me chance to get some nice views, while I was scanning through the flock I was surprised to pick up a Sparrowhawk in amongst the scrum. Gulls included Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and of course Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis). I then ad a look at the beach pool but apart from a few Lesser (Anax parthenope) and Blue / Common Emperors (Anax imperator) it was empty, not even a Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra).
Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus).
I then made my way slowly back along the Rio looking for more Dragons as I went adding Black Percher (Diplacodes lefebvrii), Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea), Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii), Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and a single male Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta). New bird species included Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Spanish (Yellow) (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Grey Wagtails (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), a small flock of Tree Sparrows (Gorrión Molinero / Passer Montanus), 2x Squacco’s (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides) and a single Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), two Garden Warblers (Curruca Mosquitera / Sylvia borin) which were a bit of a surprise, Western Cattle (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), 3x Kingfishers (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), Pied (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) and Spotted Flycatchers (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata) and just as I was getting back to the car a single Honey Buzzard (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) which was making its way west.

A total of 81 species of birds were seen during the trip there and back and at the Rio, a very pleasing total.

Monday 10 September 2012

Marbella and Coin area, Malaga Province.

Checking the aftermath of the Malaga / Marbella Fires.

Some distant burnt of woods.
Ian Phillips and I went for a drive around a loop following the coastal motorway from Malaga to the edge of Marbella and then north past Ojen and around west via Monda, Coin and then down to the top of Sierra Mijas to look at which areas had been devastated by the horrendous fires of the previous week. We could seen no signs of any damage as we drove along the coast and this stayed the same until we reached Ojen on the road north, here the hillsides to the east of the town were totally burnt off and there had also been a sizable fire just to the south which jumped the road and continued on west for a short distance.
Some more burnt off areas.
We then drove along the northern edge of the area but could see very little from the road or at any of the special wildlife sites we called at on the way. We then reach Coin and took the road down towards Mijas, this was the area we had thought would show the worstdamage and when we looked off to the west from one of the ridges we could see totally scorched hill sides but the areas of pine woods we had thought had been burnt (from the maps and information in the papers) had remained untouched.

Sunday 9 September 2012

Huétor Tájar, Granada Province.

Zoco, Andalusí

The Event poster.
Jayne and I went down to the Zoco as we have done for the past 6 years and again we really enjoyed the fantastic atmosphere as the Spanish families were having a great time. We particularly enjoyed the Medieval dancing which was performed by around 40 people in the afternoon heat and was well worth watching.
Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo).
I also had an interesting talk with the falconer who had bought a  couple of Harris and a Red-tailed Hawk along but these were easily out shone by the beautiful 15 year old female Eagle Owl.
Bread stall.
We had a couple of drinks in the local bars around the Plaza de Andalucía and spent a very enjoyable 4 hours at this local event.
Crate climbing.
Kids on the Dragon Swing.