Saturday 29 September 2012

La Zubia, Granada Province.

Día de las Aves with SEO Sierra Nevada.

Jayne and I headed up to Granada and made our way to the largish shopping center in the La Zubia area of the City where SEO Sierra Nevada had a display of photographs and a couple of tables with information to promote bird conservation and SEO / Birdlife. There were also a couple of tables with lots of things for the younger children to do. It was good to see Juan Francisco and Jorge Garzón again after quite some time and catch up with things that had been going on and to see Juan Perez and his with Beatriz there as well. After having a good time with the birders we had a look around the centre and headed home. On the way I picked up two small flocks of Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) along the A92 along with a single Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus).

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Padul Wetland, Granada Province.

A few hours birding in the first rain of the Autumn.

Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
Jayne and Barb again fancied a few hours around the City of Granada (and who can blame them it is a great place) so I dropped them off and headed down to Padul wetland just to the South where I had been a few days earlier looking for three female Mandarin Ducks (Pato mandarin / Aix galericulata) seen by good friend Juan Perez. 
I again headed for the hide which looks out over the main lake but again there was no sign of the Mandarins but I did find quite a few nice species even though the rain at times was quite heavy. On the margins large numbers of Goldfinches (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Serins (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) were coming down to drink and the they we siting up in some nearby bushes where they spent sometime preening and sorting them selves out which gave me the chance to get a few shot. 
Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus).
They were joined by a few House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and a female Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus).
Out on the lake there were around 8 Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), a few Western Cattle (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and a single Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and on the near bank a least 3 Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago). 
Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis).
In the bushes behind the hide I added a Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and a male Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) to the list as I went back to the car and started to drive a little further around the reserve.
In the area along the drainage ditches I picked up the first of around 15 Whinchats (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra), a male Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and a nice male Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe). I then made a stop on the track side near a few small little elotiment type areas when I saw a small group of birds fly up out of the weeds on the back edge of one of the fields.
Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra).
The group turned out to be a party of Ortolan Bunting's (Escribano Hortolano / Emberiza hortulana) a new species for my Granada list, it consisted of 2 males, 1 female and an Immature. Also in this area were a few more Whinchats, Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and a small flock of Yellow Wagtails (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava) of mixed races. 
Ortolan Bunting (Escribano Hortolano / Emberiza hortulana).
I had some good views of the Ortolan's so I decided to have a look at the hide which was on the side of the smelly canal on the other side of the lake. I did not find the Mandarins here either but I did get nice views of a Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), some migrating Sand Martins (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
Ortolan Bunting (Escribano Hortolano / Emberiza hortulana).
I then decided as I still had some time to go back to the site where I had seen the Ortolan's to see if I could get some better views, as I pulled up the flock again flew up into one of the dead fruit trees in the hedge at the back of the small fields but this time I counted 10 Ortolan's amongst the finches and bunting flock. Other birds included Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and a single male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus). 
Ortolan Bunting (Escribano Hortolano / Emberiza hortulana).
I then made my way back into the city and we headed home, the weather was not to good so we were forced to sit inside for the first time in Barbs stay.

Monday 24 September 2012

Near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

Around the Fig Tree.

A quieter day spent at home, after sorting out some outstanding jobs we again settled down on the terrace. It was a bit cooler with a thin layer of high white cloud so spotting the higher flying birds would be easier but there were only a few today which included 2x Common Buzzards (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), 3x Short-toed Eagles (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) and a single Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus). Also seen in the garden were Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus) and Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) these were all seen along with a constant flow of Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) moving South. Other wildlife noted included Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) and Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii).

Sunday 23 September 2012

Embalse de Cubillas, Padul and Home near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

Birding the Granada area wetlands.

Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca).
I started by dropping Jayne and Barb off at the large Market on the outskirts of Granada City and then headed off towards Embalse de Cubillas which lies just to the north of Granada. In the North east corner where the Rio Cubillas and Blanco enter the lake I spent a couple of hours watching some interesting species. As I got out of the car I immediatly picked a calling Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), several Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and a Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) making its way up a nearby Pine tree. I made my way down to the side of the water which was at a much lower level than the last time I was there but with the lack of rain last winter it is not really surprising. On the margins there were quite good numbers of waders, most were either Ringed (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) or Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) along with a few of both Green (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos). 
Amongst the waders there were lots of Wagtails most were White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) but in the more vegetated areas there were also quite a few Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) of three different subspecies (flavissima, iberiae and flava). 
Western Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus).
On the water I could see a small group of birds which was made up mainly of Eurasian Coots (Focha Común / Fulica atra) but there was also a couple of female Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca) and a single female Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) in the mix. Further back from the waters edge there was a small group of roosting Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) resting along with a few more birds dotted around the area, intotal there were about 25 birds on view. I walked along the margins towards a few dead pine trees which had fallen over in to the water as there were quite a few small birds flitting around in their branches. 
The commonest specie here was by far Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) with at least 30 birds in the three trees, these were seen along with a couple of Pied (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) and a single Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Great (Carbonero Común / Parus major) and Coal Tits (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis). Down on the waters edge I added a pair of Grey Wagtails (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) which were chasing each other around amongst the rocks, several Serins (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) which were coming down to drink and a little further away there was a single Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta) feeding. I then had a scan out across the water a picked up several hirundines including Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica /
Red Squirrels (Sclurus vulgaris).
Hirundo daurica) and  Sand (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and on a dead stick an Western Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus) on doubt one of the 3 birds Juan Perez had seen yesterday. I then started to walk back towards the car seeing several Red Squirrels (Sclurus vulgaris) in the pines along with 3 Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) and a Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) all moving down the lake towards the dam.
I then went back into the city and picked Jayne and Barb up, we were going to have some lunch but the place was not opening for an hour so I suggested that as we had some time to kill we might just pop down the motorway to Padul where Juan had seen three female Mandarin Ducks (Pato mandarin / Aix galericulata) earlier in the morning. 
We arrived at the spot where he had seen them but found quite a few people were unfortunately walking around the margins and all the birds had flushed. We spent some time in the hide and picked up 5x Great Cormorants (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) all new for the day list.We then made our way back to Granada and had Lunch before heading back home to spend the rest of the afternoon on the terrace. Almost as soon as we sat down a cracking male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) came drifting up from the fields over the Olive trees, we also saw Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), 3x
Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea).
Short-toed Eagles (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and during the few house we were up there there was a constant passage of hirundines along with dozens of Alpine Swift (Vencejo Real / Apus melba).