Thursday, 28 November 2013

Huetor Fields, Granada Province.

A couple of hours on the local patch with friends from the ABS.

I met up with David Hird and Micky Smith at the Hotel Cotijo de Tajar at just before 08:30 for a few hours birding on my local patch. We set off and headed for a field out on the Loja side of Huétor which the Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) have favoured for the last few winters and soon found a small part of the flock there. I counted around 40 birds but that was with just a quick scan, on the same area we also saw Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), lots of Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) with a few Commons (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulg aris) scattered amongst the flock and huge numbers of White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba). From this spot we moved on to the river at the back of our local bar and had nice views of a couple of Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), lots of Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) up on the wires and plenty of finches down on the maze stubble including Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and  Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs). We moved on just a few hundred meters and parked by the edge of the barranco and had a walk to a small goat pen another couple of hundred meters along the river. Along this track we saw loads of Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) a nice male, Tree Sparrows (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and again lots of Common Chaffinches but no Bramblings (Pinzón Real / Fringilla montifringilla). Once back at the car we moved just a few meters down the road to where we found a large flock of finches and this time I managed to find just a single Brambling but the whole flock went up before I managed to get David and Micky on to it. Our next stop was along the track to the railway bridge following the river again, new species along here included Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major),  Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis). With time ticking away we started to make our way back towards the bar along the river and then on down the road to the railway line where we checked the fields again so that Micky could find a Common Starling after missing all the one David and I had seen earlier, after a while he cracked it and found two or three in amongst lots of Spotless and a few Northern Lapwings.Whist Micky was searching David and I came up with just the one new species in the shape of a distant Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) sat out in the fields. Our last stop was down by the town where we had soon counted over 150 Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) out on their roost field, quite a sight!!
From here we headed back to the hotel and Micky and David headed off further North East to Puerto de la Ragua where they were hoping for the uncommon Citril Finch (Verderón Serrano / Serinus citrinella). Hope to hear how they got on at some point in the future and I went back home to continue the prep for the upcoming talks at Padul. Thanks David and Micky for you company and some nice birding.

Photographs from the top: Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis) and one of the many Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus).

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