Thursday 6 December 2012

Around Trabuco, Malaga Province.

More wintering birds.

Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra).
Jayne's craft group had moved to one of the ladies house today due to the Holiday so I dropped Jayne off there and headed out into the hills above the town. My first stop was in the valley between two parts of Sierra del Jobo where there was a very nice looking temporary pool which looked perfect for Amphibians but was behind a barbed wire fence with lots of keep out signs. After spending some time listening to try and confirm whether there were any Frogs or Toad present I started to walk up and over into the valley on the opposite side to Trabuco and quickly picked up a small flock of 4 circling Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) away in the clouds.
Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla).
This group grew steadily until there were 17 birds in total soaring in and out of view amongst the low clouds that were scurrying along the vally in a stiff breeze. In the Oaks closer to me there was a flock of Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) numbering around 30 birds, a couple of Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) were calling from trees above me on the ridge and several Common Crossbills (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) were perched high on wires which crossed the area, some singing and displaying.
Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla).
I then dropped down the hill to the denser Oak woods adding Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs).
Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus).
I then headed along the lower track towards the Fuente de los Caños but before this site I stopped and sat on the road side and spent sometime watching a small group of bushes where a pine tree had fallen, in this area I saw several Cirl Buntings (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), a couple of Nuthatchs (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) and lots of Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) some of which I got some shots of but they were not great as the light was poor. In one of the nearby Pine trees a cracking Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus) spent quite a long while in view whilst it was flycatching from its lower branches.
Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus).
I then moved out on to the fields around the motorway which were still very wet from the earlier rain which caused a lot of damage in the general area, birds included Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and a small number of Brambling (Pizón Real / Fringilla montifringilla). 
Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula).
I did a drive around towards the new prison (nice to build but not got the money to open it !!! and back to Trabuco to pick up Jayne.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Huétor Fields, Huétor Tajár, Granada Province.

Good numbers of wintering birds on the local patch.

Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus).
I headed down to the fields at the end of our road for a couple of hours birding on the local patch. I started on the track behind the bar and sat on the side of the river and scanned the fields, on the river there were several Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) bathing on a shallow spit and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) could be picked out all the way along the margins off into the distance.
Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki).
There were a lot more Northern Lapwings out on the fileds, in total during the couple of hours I must have noted getting on for a 1000 birds. They were joined by flocks of finches which flushed up on a regular basis allowing the different species to be picked out, they included Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) but surprisingly the commonest species with about a 100 birds was Brambling (Pizón Real / Fringilla montifringilla) a wintering species that turns up in varying numbers each year. Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) were also on the fields in good numbers along with a few Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and half a dozen Calandra's (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra). Both Spotless (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Common Starlings (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris) were on the wires and feeding in the Ponigranete bushes, they were joined by hordes of House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Blackcaps (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla).
Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallingao gallinago).
I then checked the fields down towards the town and noticed that all the Northern Lapwings down that way were up and some were mobbing a mid sized Raptor which turned out to be one of the three regular female Hen Harriers (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) which are wintering here. On the side of the irrigation canal there were lots of Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) feeding amongst the Horsetail plants and a cracking male Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) which was bobbing its tail on the concrete edges.I then moved a little further along the river down one of the many dirt tracks, new species seen included a decent sized flock of about 30 Iberian  Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), a couple of Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis) and on the return drive along the same track there was a couple of Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis). I then drove down the track towards the Mesia road and just after crossing the railway bridge I saw another Green Sandpiper on a small pool on the side of the track, on this same pool I found several Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallingao gallinago) some of which showed well, a winter plumaged Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta) and in a nearby Fig tree a pair of Common Stonechats (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallingao gallinago).
I spent quite a while here taking a few shots of the Snipe and hoped to get the Water Pipit but it stayed just out of sight of the camera. After a while I moved on to the fields on the Mesia side of the site and continued to follow the river back around to Huétor, on the way a Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) flew along infront of me, a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) flushed out from a stand of Poplars along with a Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) andjust as I reached Huétor a Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) flapped lazily over the fields. I then made my way back across country to the railway bridge and parked there for a while and scanned the fields, mixed in with a nearby flock of Northern Lapwings I counted at least 19 Golden Plover (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaia) which were my first sighting of the winter for this species. I then drove back along the river and towards home, on the way a few more species were added including Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus).

Monday 3 December 2012

El Purche, Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A double dip in the snow and ice !

Frost on Rose hips.
I dropped Jayne off near the city centre and then made my way up to El Purche on the lower slopes of the Sierra Nevada. The conditions were good and clear but very cold. I started the search for the two target species above the main area below a rocky crag that Juan Perez Contreras had shown me on our last visit. Here I was hoping to see Ring Ouzel ( Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus), I searched the area for nearly two and a half hours but did not locate any of the birds Juan had seen here recently. However I did pick up Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) and Dartford Wabler (Curruca Rabilargo / Sylvia undata). I then walked back towards the car but my attention was drawn to several birds calling away to my left on a crag below the track, the calls were distant but I was sure that they were coming from a small flock of Alpine Accentors (Accentor Alpino / Prunella modularis).
Eventually I located the Accentors but they remained well out of range of the camera, the flock consisted of five birds, one of which flew closer and landed for a few seconds giving me just enough time to get started with the setting up of the scope before rejoining it companions on the crags. Whilst I was in the small valley I also added Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) to the list but no Ouzels were seen (dip one). 
Sierra Nevada through the clouds.
I then started to make my way back down to the road where I was meeting Juan, I parked right on the junction and as I was a little early I had a stroll down the hill checking the Hawthorn bushes for my second target of the day. Yellowhammers (Escribano Cerillo / Emberiza citronella) are regular at the spot but are in very small numbers, usually only two or three birds each winter so they take some finding and today was not going to be my day. Before Juan arrived I saw several more Rock and Cirl Buntings, Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and several Common Crossbills (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra). Juan arrived and we had a good look around the area of Sweet Chestnut trees on the slope above the road but we did find any Yellowhammers, just loats of Common Chaffinches, more Long-tailed Tits and a small flock of Rock Buntings.
Some Fungi found on the many cow pats.
We then drove a couple of Km down the road and parked amongst the Hawthorn bushes and started searching again, new species included Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and a crackin little Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus). During the loop around the Hawthorn scrub we also had very good views of Dartford Warbler, Cirl Bunting and Iberian Green Woodpecker before heading back to the cars and going home.