Monday, 22 April 2013

Laguna Herrera, Fuente de Piedra, Laguna Dulce, Teba Gorge and Arroya Marin, Malaga Province.

102 species of bird seen on a Day Tour.

I met Chris Pedroza at the very nice hotel Almohalla 51 in Archidona over the border in Malaga Province and we were soon on our way to Laguna Herrera on the old Cordoba road out of Antequera. Once on track down to the site we started to hear the first of a great many  Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) seen at this site and through out the day. First of all we parked on the side of the track and checked out a flooded field on the right side of the track, straight away we started to see some nice wader species including Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea), Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), Wood Sandpiper (Andarrios Bastardo / Tringa glareola), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus). On the same field we had nice views of Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and in the gully amongst the reeds we added Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and above us there were a couple of Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), along with masses of Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), both Pallid (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and to finish a group of three cracking Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) which were pushing through North. We then had a scan over the main Laguna where we soon located Eurasian Coots (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and a couple of male White-headed Ducks (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala). In the air there were large numbers of Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) calling noisily as they were feeding between the two areas of water. We then made a move along the track getting good views of a Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), a nice pair of summer plumaged Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), a flock of around 40 or so Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus) which flew out from the flooded fields on the right, circled around and dropped back in again. In the flock there was just a single immature bird which stuck out like a sore thumb, when we checked the flood from the far end we found another 15 or so Immature birds in a separate flock from the adults. Whilst we were up on the bank we also picked up a single Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) sat on a pylon and a group of fly over European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) and all the time we walked along the bank there were dozens and dozens of newly emerged Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) coming up out of vegetation. The plants on the bank included White Mustard (Sinapis alba), Warty Spurge (Euphorbia squamigera), Small Melilot (Melilotus indica), White Mignonette (Reseda Alba), Pink Med Catchfly (Silene colorata), Pitch Trefoil (Psoralea bituminosa), Purple Viper's Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Scentless Mayweed (Matricaria perforata), Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis), Mallow-leaved Bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides), Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas) and Eruca (Eruca sativa).
We continued on around the site into the fields and took the left turn back towards the main road, near the junction we saw a pair of Ravens (Cuervo / Corvus corax) on another pylon, Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) and a pair of Red -rumped Swallows which gave us cracking views as they entered a colvert along side the road. We continued on a short way and found the fields on both sides of the road were flooded and held good numbers of birds included 30+ Wood Sandpipers which was by far the largest number I have seen at a single site locally, 3 more Curlew Sandpipers, dozens of Black-winged Stilts, several Avocets, 5 or 6 Greenshanks (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), Gull-billed Terns, Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and a Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta). A little further along the same track we had several singing Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and a single male Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) which was displaying in a distant field. We then jumped back on to the A92 and headed to our second site at Fuente de Piedra, on the entrance road we scanned the pool on the left where we had some more Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, a couple of Wood Sandpipers and a female type Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax). We parked and then walked out on the board walk and on to the raised back over looking the main lagoon, here we added Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata) and out on the main area of water there were loads of Greater Flamingo's, good numbers of Black-necked Grebes and a few immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus). We turned around and walked back towards the visitors centre, on the way we had views of a female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), an immature Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and another single Wood Sandpiper. Once back on the main track we went around the back of the centre to look at the hides, on the way a calling Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) landed in a distant willow tree and then flew back towards us and stright over our heads giving great views. In the small open hide over looking the first small pool we heard a couple of Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and a calling Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua). In the pool there were lots of Stripe-necked Terrapins (Mauremys leprosa) and crooking Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi) along with a couple of Lesser Emperors (Anax parthenope) and more Red-veined Darters. We then moved on to the main large hide and straight a way we found fine male Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), later we located several more including a couple of females. Also on the pool we had Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), more Avocets, Black-winged Stilts, Black-headed Gulls but not a lot else. We moved around to the next hide on the way we had nice views of a male Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) which was singing from a nearby bush, from the hide we did not see anything. On our way back around the centre we saw a Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) going into a nest hole in the wall of the centre.
Once we were back into the car we started the drive around the eastern side of the lake to the view point which over looks a largish pool surrounded by largish reed beds, here we could hear Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and watched a flock of nine Ravens soaring together over a nearby hill side covered in the purple flowers of Bugloss. On the lake there were more Gull-billed Terns, Common Pochard, a couple of Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and a single  Purple Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio).
We moved on from here and headed to Laguna Dulce where we had our lunch in the hide whilst watching a trio of beautiful Grebe species, the Black-necked Grebes were the finest in their summer plumage but close on the looks front came both the Great Crested and Little Grebes which were both seen just in front of the hide. Off to the left there were several White-headed Ducks and a single female Red-Knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata). Also on the lake we picked up two Whiskered Terns (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus), Red-crested Pochards and Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator).
We again moved site and headed towards Teba stopping at the Sierra and then at the gorge, here we added a few new species including a Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) which soared around above the crags whilst being mobbed by a group of Red-billed Choughs (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and above the cliffs there were good numbers of both Pallid and Alpine Swifts (Vencejo Real / Apus melba). From the crags we moved to the bridge which over looks the gorge and straight away we had more Alpine Swifts, good numbers of Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and a Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae). We also had a few butterflies at the site including Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Common Blue (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta).
There were also lots wildflowers here, some of the showiest were Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum major), White Snapdragon (Antirrhinum controversum), Wild Clary (Salvia verbenaca), White Mignonette (Reseda Alba), White Mustard (Sinapis alba), White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum), Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum), Pitch Trefoil (Psoralea bituminosa), Purple Viper's Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Bellardia trixago, Linaria hirta and Navel-wort (Omphalodes commutata).
From here we started to make our way back towards Archidona, on the way we had the only Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) of the day which was a fine 1st summer male, considering the habitat we had been in for most of the day I was surprised we only had a single bird of this species.
We went through Archidona and dropped down to our last stop of the day which was down in the wooded valley of the Arroyo Marin. We parked near the quarry at the entrance to the valley and walked on, straight away we had Nightingale singing all around us and a nice male Serin singing from the dead branches of a tree right over our heads. I then heard both Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis) and Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla) in quick succession but Chris missed both of them and they remained silent of the rest of our time at the site. We continued on and within a few seconds had added Melodious (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Orphean (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis) and Bonelli's Warblers (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) to the day list. Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) soon followed along with Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs). We then retraced our steps back to the car and we returned to the Hotel up in Archidona where we had a coffee to finish the day and while we sat out side we had a Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) fly over, a great way to finish what had already been a great day. Thanks Chris for your company and for surpporting Granada Wildlife.
Photographs from the top: Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), male Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), female Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), Wood Sandpiper (Andarrios Bastardo / Tringa glareola), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), verge covered in Purple Viper's Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), hillside covered in Purple Viper's Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Chris at Laguna Dulce and Chris at Teba Gorge.

2 comments:

juani espejo jurado said...

Preciosas imágenes y que gran montaje
Un gran saludo de un gran seguidor

Anonymous said...

Mick
A perfect description of a pe4rfect day. Words and pictures just bring back to me one of my best birding experiences
Chris Pedroza