Wednesday 12 December 2012

Huétor Fields, Huétor Tajár, Granada Province.

Two visits to the fields.

The first visit was just a drive through on my way back home from the supermarket in Huétor, but it produced some nice species. On the newly harvested Lucerne fields just out side the town I relocated part of the wintering Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) flock which had been quite elusive for the past two weeks or so. They were mixed in with around 700 Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) and 30 or so Golden Plovers (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaia). In a small tree quite some distance away I could just make out one of the two Black-winged Kites (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) and in some very dry tatty looking Pomegranate trees there was a good flock of around twenty Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki). On the drive back up to the house I added Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).
Later in the afternoon Juan Pérez Contreras and his wife Beatriz came over to ours and whilst Jayne and Beatriz did some language studies Juan and I went Birding. We started down by the river picking up a few decent species including a cracking male Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis) and Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula). Our next stop was along side one of the Poplar plantation where we heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and saw Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla). We then moved on to the fields where I had seen several good species earlier in the day but everything had been flushed buy a farmer ploughing in an area of Maize stubble, the whole area was very busy possibly workers trying to get some of the jobs done before the weekends predicted rain. There were dozens of fires burning in the fields where the Asparagus tops had been cut which made the air quite smokey and unpleasant.
We moved on and had a look on the main Montefrio road for the wintering flock of Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) but this year the numbers are extreamly low and we only found a very poor 15 birds. In the same area we did see Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata). We crossed to the Northern side of the railway line and scanned the fields there finding more Northern Lapwings, Common Magpie, House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and a nice adult Black-winged Kite which was perched on a pole near a small farm building in the fields, later it flew from here to a willow tree nearer to the road and we managed to get some nice views from another track.
We next went to the eastern side of Huétor on the Loja road to check some more fields for the Bustards but they were not at that site either but we did see Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) before heading back to the bar and crossing the river at the ford. On the fields on the far side we soon found an immature male Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) sat on the end of one of the larger furrows and another Common Buzzard in the same Pomegranate tree I had seen the Iberian  Magpies in earlier. We then headed out on to the Mesia road looking for the Little Bustards but only added Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and a small flock of Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) which were heading off to the nearby roost along the A92 at Morelada. Juan and I then headed back up to the house and continued with our Spanish Lesson (sorry Juan and Beatriz I know this is hard work!!).

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Guadalhorce, Malaga Province.

A very quick look on the beach.

Jayne and I spent the morning around the City of Malaga but could not find the material shops she was looking for. We then went up to the Larios centre and had some lunch before I then disappeared for a couple of hours birding at Guadalhorce but did not bother going onto the main reserve but sat at the end of the raised walkway near the sea. From here I soon had all the Gulls I had expected to see on the list including Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and just a single Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) which landed briefly on the rocks in the river mouth. Also out to sea there were good numbers of Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), a few Balearic Shearwaters (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) along with a single group of three Cory's (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea) all of which passed away to the West.
On the river behind me at least 3 Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) were fishing  and half a dozen or so Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) were roosting in the reeds. Also on the river there we Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo). Other birds around the beach were Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus) and on the reserve an Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus) which was sitting up in one of the usual trees.
I then drove down to the entrance bridge, as soon as I got out of the car I picked up a group of 3 soaring Booted Eagles (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) one of which flew towards me and landed in a nearby Eucalyptus tree which gave me a chance of some great views. On the river a single Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) put in a brief apperance and whilst I was stood on the bridge I also added Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and several Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) which were feeding up over the far side of the reserve. I then went back into the City to pick Jayne up before we headed on to our next stop.