Saturday 26 January 2013

Exhibition opening at the Grazalema Visitor Centre.

Exhibition and other events in Grazalema.

Sue Eatock and Clive Muir have put together an exhibition of photographs of the flora and fauna of the Sierra Grazalema, this along with other events including a mini birding marathon and craft demonstrations should make this an interesting place to be this Saturday and Sunday. The photographic exhibition continues until the 21st February.

Friday 25 January 2013

El Temple, Granada Province.

Were has the Sun gone !!!!!

Short-eared Owl (Búho Campestre / Asio flammeus).
Jayne and I went up to Granada to see Juan Perez and Beatriz for our weekly language meeting, on the way up went across the fields where we had a quick scan across the river and picked up at least 4 Stock Doves (Paloma Zurita / Columba oenas), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), 100+  Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) and 40 odd Golden Plovers (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaia).
We continued on up to Granada and whilst Jayne and Beatriz started on the English part of the afternoon Juan and I headed out to El Temple for some birding. When I had arrived at Juan's the weather was not to good but by the time we got to the birding site it was down right dismal but being the roughty tuffty birders that we are we stuck it out and at times the visibility came up from absolutely dismal to just dam awful which gave us the chance of seeing a few species. 
Short-eared Owl (Búho Campestre / Asio flammeus).
The first species seen were Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) which seemed to be singing from every stick, tree, bush and fence post, Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros). Then we picked up a female Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) which passed distantly off to the west and almost at the same moment a very pale Short-eared Owl (Búho Campestre / Asio flammeus) got up out of the rough ground behind us and spent the next hour or so showing from posts or quartering the scrub land. We stayed until just before dusk but we did not see anything else of interest as the weather just kept getting worse.

Thursday 24 January 2013

Above Trabuco, Malaga Province and Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

Wet, windy and just dam horrible!!!

Woods above Trabuco.
We do not get many days like this thankfully and as I have not done much birding back in the UK for seven years so I am out of practise at birding in inclement weather. For this reason I was soon sat in the bar waiting for Jayne's craft group meeting to finish. But while I was out I went up to the highest point in the sierra's behind the town but I did not see a single species in the low cloud, wind and heavy rain so I dropped back down into the Pine woods where the first bird seen was a cracking male Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis) which was perched on top of a pile of rocks under some Oak trees. The Goshawk sat there for another 30 seconds or so before heading off to terrorise some of the local birds. In the same area I also added Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major). I moved sligtly further along the same track and sat watching an area of bramble scrub but not a lot was added except for a singing Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).
100 cannons (or something like that) water feature.
I then made my way back down towards the bar on the way I picked up Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto). Once the meeting had finished we headed home via the fields near the house where Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) were all seen along with a stunning adult Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) which was balancing on a roadside wire just 2 minutes from the house.

Monday 21 January 2013

Outskirts of Granada and Padul, Granada Province.

A windy days birding.

I started off by taking Jayne into the City where she was hoping to do some patchwork matterial shopping. I then went back out to Aki where I met Juan before we headed just a short way down the Motorway where we were looking for a trio of exotic birds (thankfully not the sort that hang around on the industral estate nearby). We arrived and walked out to an area of unharvested Maize, on the way we heard a couple of Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus) which flew in and started to feed in a small orchard stuffed full of unpicked Persimmon trees.
Juan and Chika in the main hide.
Also in this area we saw Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris). We continued along the track and found a sizable flock of Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus) which were feeding in in the maize along with around 10 Red Avadavats (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava). We then move around to another viewing point where we hoped to find our last target species Black-rumped Waxbill which Juan had seen several times over the last few weeks but this time we were unlucky but we did see Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris).
We then made our way back to the car, on the way we had another flock of Monks which number ten along with White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus).
We then went down the motorway to the Padul wetlands where we made our way around to the far hide along side the main lake where we ate the sandwich that Juan had made us but had to hide against the back wall out of what was a very strong cold wind that lashed across the lake. On the water there we a few Northern Shovelers (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and  Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) and in the reeds there was a single Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea). We then did a slow drive around the reserve on the way we saw Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula).
Sierra Nevada from Padul.
We then went had a coffee in a local bar before walking out on the board walk to the hide in the centre of the reserve, on the way we saw a couple of Water Pipits (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), along with dozens of Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), a single Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallingao gallinago), Reed Bunting ( Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) and Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea). From the hide we picked my only year tick of the day a male Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca) which was sat in the bottom of a tree out in the water. Also seen here were more Eurasian Coots, Common Moorhen and a single Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis). We then started our walk back seeing a Fox on the way back to the car.
I dropped Juan back at Aki and then went and met Jayne up in the city and then we went back to home, on the way I saw a small flock of Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) and single Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) which was perched on a road side telegraph pole.