Friday 21 September 2012

Torremolinos, Malaga Province.

A day on the beach.

We set off from home and drove down to the sea front at Torremolinos where we were going to spend the day on the beach getting some sun. So when we arrived to a grey overcast sky we were unsure what to do but eventually we just went and got some sunbeds and braved it. It certainly was not cold and a distant crack of blue in the grey gave us some hope. I had a very nice dip in the see which was not as cold as I thought it might be and then we went and had some lunch in the bar behind us. As we were eating the sun came out and that was the way it stayed until we venchered off the beach at about 18:30 for the trip home. I did take the bins but its hard birding with so many people half dressed on the beach but I did see Balearic (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) and Cory's Shearwaters (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea), Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii). While we were lying the I also noticed a good passage of House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) heading west along the coast.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Guadalhorce, Malaga Province and Near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

A Morning with the Axarquia Bird Group.

Eurasian  Oystercatcher (Ostrero Euroasiatico / Haematopus ostralegus).
I set off from home at around 07:00 to get down to Guadalhorce nature reserve a while before the start of the Axarquia bird group meeting so that I could spend some time on the beach at the first sea watch point. I arrived just after 08:00 and set the scope up at the end of the embankment and immediately started to pick up some interesting species including Balearic (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) and Cory's Shearwaters (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea), Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), a single Eurasian Oystercatcher (Ostrero Euroasiatico / Haematopus ostralegus) which I could hear ages before it landed on the main beach with a Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), a couple of Ringed (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) and Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus).
Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus).
Up the river there was a small group of around 50 gulls but all 5 species I would expect to see were there, Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis). On the margins a Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta) was feeding, a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) sat on one of the larger rocks and a male Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) darted around on the track.
Mediterranean Gull (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus).
I then started the walk down towards the bridge where the group were meeting, on the way I saw a single Little Tern (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons) which was feeding in the pool near the beach, Cetti’s (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticolajuncidis), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur).
Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus).
I reached the meeting point in plenty of time and was soon joined by John and Jenny Wainwright from Salar who were also a bit early, while we were waiting for the others to arrive we picked up several more species including an Western Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus) which was perched in one of the distant dead trees, Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica).
At just after 09:30 20 more birders arrived for the walk around the reserve including Bob Wright, Andy Paterson and Steve and Elena Powell just to name a few, after the customary chinwag we set off and made our way over the bridge and out towards the first of the hides which over looks the reed fringed pool on the track out to the far sea watch hide. Straight away we started to see new species including 3 Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera) and a Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) on the river, a female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) over the main lake and just before the hide we had the first of half a dozen Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernisapivorus) pass over head. From the hide we saw Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca) before moving on to the wader hide where we added a single Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and a Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus) to the list.
Western Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus).
In some small bushes a few yards further on we started to locate a few small brown jobs flicking between cover, these included Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), another Common Redstart, a Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) which was heard but not seen and on the opposite side of the track an immature Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) showed well from the top of a tall Shrub Tobacco (Nicotinana glauca) plant. We moved on down towards the beach scanning the wet area off to the right of the track where we saw several move Black-winged Stilts, a couple of Sanderlings (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba) and a calling Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia).
Next we had a look from the sea watch point but the sea had now gone flat calm and we only managed to locate a few gulls all of which I had seen earlier, the Eurasian Oystercatcher did a fly-by and the only Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) of the day flew up the river. We then made our way along the beach towards the track back onto the
reserve, during the track through the sand we added a single Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and a couple more Sanderlings. Once back on harder ground we made our way to the main hide where we quickly busted the list with Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Sand Martin (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia) and just as we were leaving 3 Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) flew around but did not land.
White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala).
We moved onto the last hide over the narrow pool where I eventually caught up with White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) and picked up a single Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) which flew up from the margins. After a while Bob and the birders that were left decided to walk back to the car, I went back via the beach and had another quick look at the main hide on the way but only added a second Osprey to my list before heading back to the car and driving home.
I spent the rest of the afternoon on the terrace with Jayne and Barb, while I was there I saw several new species for my day list including Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), an adult Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos), 3x Sparrowhawks (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), a good number of passing Alpine Swift (Vencejo Real / Apus melba) along with several late Commons (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and a scattering of Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) amongst the flocks of other hirundines.

I finished the day off on 82 species.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Medina Azahara and Codoba City, Cordoba Province.

A day out with Jayne's sister.

Aljama Mosque.
Jayne, Barb and I set off quite early and headed west then north up to the famous Medina Azahara a place we had wanted to visit for some time. We made good progress and after weaving our way through the western edge of the city we arrived at the visitors centre. We first of all watched a film about the site and then had a walk around the museum area before catching a bus up to the main site on the slopes above. We spent the next 2 1/2 hours around the ruins and gardens, there was a lot of work going on so some areas were shut to the public but there was certainly plenty to see.
Cooking Oven.
On the wildlife front I picked up several species including Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Western Cattle Egret Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Alpine Swift (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), a stunning male
Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), singing Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional /Lanius meridionalis) and Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla).
Jayne and Barb.
Later we caught the bus back to the carpark and headed into the city and parked in a free spot near the river. We were by this time quite hungry so we stopped and had lunch before walking along the river and crossing into the city via the reformed Roman bridge, on the walk I saw Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), Common Sandpiper Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris).
Courtyard of the Pillars.
We spent a pleasant couple of hours around the back streets of the historic section, had a very nice ice-cream before wandering back to the car and heading home, on the way adding a few Common Buzzards (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo). 
Arch ar the far end of the Cordoba Roman Bridge.

The Roman Bridge.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Home near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

A bit more Migration over and through the Fig tree.

Pale morph Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus).
The day started off OK, Jayne and Barb headed down into Huetor to have a look at the market and do some food shopping whilst I waited at home for a Log delivery ready for the winter. By 12:00 there was no sign of the Logs so I gave the chap a ring and in my broken Spanish asked why he had not delivered the load, I understood that he was eating and would get to us asap , but not the load I was expecting as this was the wrong log man but I did not know this at the time. So just as Jayne and Barb got back the load of logs arrived and I carried them in and stacked them. We then had some lunch and while we were sat up on the terrace in what can only be described as overcast conditions I started to pick up a few Short-toed Eagles (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) which due to the conditions were coming through quite low. These were followed by two Booted Eagles (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) one of each colour morph and shortly afterwards a duo of Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans). Short-toed Eagles continued to come through and by the end of the couple of hours of scanning the skies 14 had passed over along with another 26 Black Kites which came through in one flock and a single Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus).
Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca).
At lower levels a couple of Pied Flycatchers (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) stopped off to spend some time feeding up and a single Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) was also seen briefly down in the barranco. Up to this point the day had gone well but then the bell rang and I went and met another Spanish chap with an even bigger load of logs on a trailer, I asked him what he wanted and he replied that you rang earlier and asked for a log delivery, I said that I had not but he showed me my number at the time I thought I was talking to the first log guy. Anyway to cut a long story short we ended up unloading another great big load of logs, this time Jayne and Barb gave me a hand (Sorry) and we had it done in just over an hour. We have now got enough wood to last us until the new year but the yard does look a little full! This will teach me to check that I am ringing the right chap the next time!!!!!

Monday 17 September 2012

Home near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

A bit of Migration over the Fig tree.

Jayne and I set off down to Malaga Airport to pick up her sister who was coming over for a 10 day break. We met Barb and then came straight back up to the house as she had been up since 03:00 and just fancied a quiet afternoon on the terrace. We arrived back at about 12:30 and sorted out some drinks and a snake and went up on the back and spent the rest of the day there relaxing and watching the world (and a few birds) go by. The local residents were all knocking around in the garden including Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major). Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) were all seen flying over the olives.
During the afternoon several Raptors were recorded including three different Golden Eagles (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos), two immature birds (one with a couple of primaries missing) and a very smart looking adult. Other species seen were Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) x2, Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans) x1, Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) x2 and a single Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) which was mobbing one of the immature Golden Eagles. Whilst we were sat there I also saw a couple of male Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), a female Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Geranium Bronze (Cacyreus marshalli), Small White (Artogeia rapae) and a Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychlorus).
Later we had a nice meal sat out and just as it was going dark two Red-necked Nightjars (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis) did quite close fly-bys.