Tuesday 11 June 2013

Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

A day down in the valley.
(Jane Hibbert, Day two).

Swallowtail (Papilio machaon).
We set off for our second days birding in one of my favourite places to spend a day. We started down on the fields not far from the house, along the river we saw a couple of Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), a pair of Grey Wagtails (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos). In the poplars near by we also saw Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and on the track in front of us a pair of Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and perched on a large umbellifer plant a Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
Our second stop was at Balsa de Regidor, a small man made lake that has become well naturalised, the first bird of note was a Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus) which was perched of one of the many logs in the water, we did see it in flight later. Other species included Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus).
From here we moved on to an area of agricultural land near Moraleda, on the way in we had a fine adult Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), a singing Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), several Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and once we were on the site we soon added Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), two soaring Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and near the disused Cortijo we has stunning views of a pair of Rollers (Carraca / Coracias garrulus).
We drove on into the site and very quickly located the first of at least three Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus). On the far side of the site we relocated the Rollers which were seeing off the first young Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) which had strayed a little to close to their nest site.
Swallowtail (Papilio machaon).
Whilst we were watching the Rollers and the Cuckoo a pair of Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) came into view over the tops of the Olives and quarted the nearby fields. In the area we also saw Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and I heard but did not see a Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis).
We also had a small number of butterflies here including Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Small White (Artogeia rapae) and Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera).
We dropped down in to the valley and checked out an area of pine trees along the side of the large irrigation channel, we soon had new birds on the list including a singing Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata). Our next stop was near the bridge which crosses the Rio Cacín, from the willows right next to the bridge we had nice views of a singing Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Nightingale, Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and a cracking male Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) which gave us really good views whilst catching Crane Flies on the wing. We then strolled along the river and through the Pine and Eucalyptus woods, a small flock of Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) were the first new birds for the day list and they were soon followed by European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and a Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) but this was a heard only record. On the way through this area we also saw a couple of spikes of Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera), Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba), Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Bellardia trixago, Little Robin (Geranium Purpureum), Southern Daisy (Bellis cordifolia), Iberian Water Frog (Rana Común / Rana Perezi) and Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). We walked back to the car to make our way up to the Embalse near by and picked up Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus).
Red-necked Nightjar (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis).
At the Embalse we did not add any new species but had nice views of both Pallid and Common Swifts which were passing over head low. On the far side of the pool we also saw several Stripe-necked Terrapin's (Mauremys leprosa) which were sunning them selves on a log. From here we went into Cacín and had some lunch before having a brief look at the Rio Cacín just out side the village, from here we did see White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and heard a distant Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla). We continued on down the Valley to the gorge, on the way we had nice views of a male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) singing from the top of a dead tree and several Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) feeding along the river. We then retraced our way back towards Cacín and up on to a nearby ridge looking for raptors and during the next hour or so we had good views of Booted (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Golden (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) and Short-toed Eagles (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) before heading across country back to our starting point at Balsa de Regidor where we had a look for some Dragonflies, from the concrete jetty we had vies of Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum), Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum) and Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii). On the way back to the car we found a newly emerged Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) which we managed to get some nice shots of. We then headed back to the house and later went down to our favourite tapas bar in Huetor Tajar of a drink. On the way back we crossed the fields hoping to locate a Red-necked Nightjar (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis) on the track on the way. No sooner had we turned off the tarmac and there in front of us was our target and it allowed us to get with in a couple of feet before taking off. We also had a brief vie of a second bird near the house.

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