Friday 13 September 2013

Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

Another cracking day down the Cacín Valley.

I met Paul Wiess dawn at the bar at the bottom of our road for a days birding along the Valley, we started off by making our way across the fields towards Moraleda on the far side of the A92, on the way we started the day list off by seeing Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae). We passed through Moraleda and out onto the agricultural areas nearby and straight away we found both Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) near the entrance to the site and we heard but did not see a distant late Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) and had a fly over Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus).
We moved on and went out towards the disused Cortijo out amongst the fields, on the way we had good views of Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and a fine pair of Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which we saw well on the ground and in the air. Whilst in this area we flushed up a single Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) which was another of the main target species at this site. Whilst we moved around the area we added Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), another Peregrine, Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), a migrating Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and good numbers of Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
We moved on down into the Valley and stopped in the Pine woods near a disused Substation where we checked the roadside trees out for birds, frist came a female Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) which flew up from a damp patch on the roadside and disappeared into the trees before Paul saw it but we did see several more later in the day. Other species seen in the area around the Substation and during the walk along the road included European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and in the air over the trees we had Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) and Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) drift over.
We then moved on down the road and stopped near the bridge and continued on along the track which leads to the fence around the bottom of the dam, along here we saw White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Grey Wagtails (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula). On our way back along to the car we scanned the nearby ridge and this paided off big time, first we picked up a group of migrating Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus), then a single larger raptor which turned out to be a Western Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus) heading south.
A few minutes later we had a flock of Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans) and a little further along the road we had an adult Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) do a closs fly-by and then soar along the ridge. Other species seen included Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia), a male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and to finish off at this site a nice female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus).
The next stop was at the Embalse just above this site, here we added a few new species to the day list and they included Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Sand Martin (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia) and Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra).
We then moved on down to the gorge but did not add much but Paul did still get another couple of new species in the shape of Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris).
 From here we returned to Cacín and then went up on to the ridge above the village where we were hoping for some more larger Raptors but we only managed to get a Northern Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis) but had good views of lots of Tawny Pipits.
From here we headed back towards the meeting point but not before adding Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus).

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