I met Juan Perez Contreras up in Granada and we made our way down to the coast near Motril and then on to Cabo Sacratif where we spent some time counting sea birds as the passed the headland or just hung around in front of us, which was what lots of Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus) were doing which made counting then difficult. We had small numbers of Balearic Shearwaters (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) moving east and a single Great Skua (Págalo Grande / Stercorarius skua) which went through heading west. Other species recorded included Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Mediterranean Gulls (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and a flyby Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus).
After the survey we moved on to Charca del Suarez for a few hours around the pools which in general were quite quiet. From the first hide we had nice views of 2 male and a female Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), several Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) which flashed passed in front of the reeds and masses of Common Chiffchaffs which were by far the commonest bird seen all day.We moved on around to the next hide but a couple of workers were there doing some maintainance on the hide so there was not much to be seen close but further out we located two adults and a youngster of the reintrduction Red-knobbed Coots (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata). We continued on to the main hide but the light was terrable from here so birding was hard going but we picked up two winter plumaged Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Purple Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata) and Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus). Onward again we walked around to the last small hide, on the way we saw Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and several Speckled Woods (Pararge aegeria) and a Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea). From the hide we had nice views of a couple of Swamp-hens, several more Little Grebes and hundreds of Common Chiffchaffs but we did not see anything new for the list except for a late flying Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope). We later made our way to the exit and just as we were leaving we found two beautiful Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) before heading towards home. On the way our only new species were a male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), several Common Magpies (Urraca / Pica pica) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and once I was back on the patch I added Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) which finished the days birding off nicely.
Later Jayne and I went to friends Jean and Davids house in Loja where 20 or so English and Spanish friends were meeting up for a Christmas meal and lots of puddings, Thanks all for a great evening.
Photographs from the top: Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), 2x Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis).