Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Travelling to and at Rio Velez, Granada and Malaga Provinces.

A windy walk along the Rio Velez.

Jayne and I set off from home heading for the coast at Torre del Mar which is almost directly south of us. We drove down to Huétor over the fields where I had views of Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) which appear to have increased in number over the last few days, Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus). On the short stretch of motorway between we had more Azure-wings crossing between Poplar plantation and a couple of Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) sat in fog shrouded roadside trees. We came off the A92 and went through Salar and headed for Alhama de Granada, the first 10 KM of this were bird free due to thick fog but as soon as we broke free of this we started to see large numbers of Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and Spotless Starlings. At KM 20ish we turned right and headed towards Venta de Zafarraya, again along here we saw loads of Azure-winged Magpies, Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and once out on the agricultural fields Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis). We then drove through what Bob Wright of the Axarquia bird group has call the Magpie woods where Jayne picked up a cracking female Goshawk
(Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis) which was flying along side the car but it dissapeared off behind the Oaks before I managed to stop. We then went through Zafarraya and then down the bendy road to Torre del Mar where I dropped Jayne in the town and went to the Rio Velez for a couple of hours birding. As I got the I met a Spanish chap from the Medio Ambiente who had his scope set up and was just about to start birding but stopped me from driving around the corner and into some very deep mud which was left behind from a storm a few weeks ago. I reversed back up the track and parked on the main road before meeting up with Spanish birder again and we made our way along the river, our first find was a Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) which was my first summer visiting species of the year. We also saw Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), singing Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea). We made our way out on to the beach were there were good numbers of winter plumaged Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba), at least 3 Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and a Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula). I then spent some time scanning out to sea where there were loads of Gulls including Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and along with these there were also Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and at least 25 Common Scoters (Negrón Común / Melanitta nigra) in two small flocks. The chap from the Medio Ambiente then had to go so I had another look at the large freash water beach pool but added nothing new to the list so I also then started to make my way back up towards the car. Just as I was about to leave the beach I turned to have one last check over the sea and immediatly picked up a very big Gull flying towards me along the tide water line from the west. Straight away I suspected it was and adult Great Black-backed Gull (Gavión Atlantico / Larus marinus), this was confirmed when the bird fly right passed giving me some nice views of the head and bill along side three Lesser Black-backs just for comparison. Well pleased with just my second sighting of this species I made my way back along the river and had a quick look out on the fields on my way. Here I picked up Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus). During the day I also picked up several species of Butterfly including Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Small White (Artogeia rapae) and Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria). I then picked Jayne up from Torre and we went to the shopping centre nearby, I was very surprised how quiet it was considering it was the start of the sales. After a bit of shopping we headed towards home, on the way I added Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius).

Photographs from the top: 3x Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba) and Mediterranean Gulls (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus).

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