Friday 8 March 2013

Alhambra Hills and Dupont's Lark site, Granada Province.

A good mixed day with a bit of everything.

Narcissus cantabricus.
I headed up to Granada city, passing through the fields on the way and was very pleased to find that the wintering Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) was still about and was sat in its usual tree. On the way through I also saw Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus).
I continued to Granada via the log shop to confirm it was open later as we need a few to keep us going and then continued on up passed the Alhambra car park and out into the campo above the site.
Narcissus cantabricus.
I parked the car and started out along one of the tracks to an area of land which was burnt off a few years ago which cleared the scrub. This allowed the uncommon Narcissus cantabricus to flurish and this year was no different with several plants in flower.
Narcissus cantabricus.
They all grow on one Northish facing slope and it looked truly superb. On the way out and back I also saw good numbers of Wall Browns (Lasiommata megera), Bath (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Large (Pieris brassicae) and Small Whites (Artogeia rapae), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta).
Narcissus cantabricus.
Along the path side I also heard several scuttling sounds amongst the shrubs, most of which were Large Psammodromus (Psammodromus algirus) but at least one was a small Horseshoe Whip Snake (Hemorrhois hippocrepis) which moved away at an incredible speed.
Birds were few and far between but there were several Common Crossbills (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Dartford (Curruca Rabilargo / Sylvia undata) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei).
All the way along the walk there were Hummingbird Hawkmoths (Macroglossum stellatarum) whizzing passed and searching along the banks of Field marigolds (Calendula arvensis). 
Winter Webworm (Ocnogyna baetica).
Once back at the car I drove further up the hill and then turned right on the tarmac road and then I parked. From here I immediatly started to hear the distinctive call of the newly arrived Great Spotted Cuckoo's (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) which were making the local Common Magpies (Urraca / Pica pica) lives difficult. Also around here there were quite a few spikes of Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera) growing under the pines, in the same area there were also Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus). 
Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca / foresteri).
I then moved back down the hill picking up Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Winter Webworm (Ocnogyna baetica) and several spikes of Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca / foresteri)
After driving back back down the hill I went back to the wood yard again where I filled the boot and headed off to Juan Perez's. From here Juan, Beatriz and I went out birding in their very smart new to them Land rover freelander, which made going up the track to the Dupont's Lark site a lot easier. 
We arrived and walked around this moorland type place listening for Lark species, straight away we had Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea) on the list, along with Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa). 
After some time we got back to the car and took another track off to a small pool which Juan knew about and a rocky gorge a little further on. On the way we picked up a cracking male Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) which was a year tick for us all and in the small pool we found a couple of Natterjack Toads (Sapo Corredor / Bufo calamita) latter we heard several toads calling, I was surprised how far the call carried. 
We had a little further on down into a gorge where Juan had seen Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo) but we dipped on this visit but did add Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba). 
We got back to the car just as it was starting to get cool but just before we got there we had another Natterjack Toad but this time it saw hopping across the track infront of us which gave me the chance to get some shot.
Natterjack Toads (Sapo Corredor / Bufo calamita).
We then headed back down to the city and then I went off home getting back at about 21:00.

Monday 4 March 2013

Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

A couple of hours on the local patch.

Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).
I started off in the Olives around the house where I soon had a nice flock of Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) just over the barranco and lots of other species singing in a brief splash of sunshine including Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major). I then continued down the hill, passed the bar and out onto the fields where I immediatly added Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor). On the shingle islandat tha back of the bar there was a single Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and a couple Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus). I then went along the track to the tarmac road from Huetor and the back on to the riverside track again a little further along, I located a couple of Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) low over the water and a Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) which was skulking around in some rotting reeds. A Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) was calling noisily from in a nearby Poplar plantation where there were also dozens of Woodpigeons (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) resting in the top branches and lower down in the reeds there were still good numbers of Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), a Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and a nice Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta) which was just starting to show signs of it's summer plumage.
Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).
I continued on along the track but found it to be a bit muddy but I got through and at the far end near the railway bridge I added a second Water Pipit to the list along with Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallingao gallinago), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and a group of Linnets (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) which were perched in a leafless Fig tree preening after bathing in the river which gave me the chance to get the camera on them. I turned around and headed back to the road and then headed down towards Huétor, I parked on the bridge and scanned the fields from the raised point. From here I picked up just three Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) one of the birds was a cracking male and he was displaying franticly to the two females that remained in the area. The Bustards usually move off for the summer, scattering around the area to breed but these birds are looking quite settled but it is unlikly that they will stay as the fields are to small and busy. But I am lucky that I do not need to go far to see them in the summer in their full spender. Also seen in this area I also foundmore Meadow Pipits, Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla). I moved on around to the garage on the far side of the site where I finished off by finding a dozen or so Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) which was sat on a nearby roof top. During the trip around the site I saw several Bath (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) and Small Whites (Artogeia rapae), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).

Sunday 3 March 2013

Cerro Gordo and Travelling, Granada and Malaga Provinces.

A couple of Orchids for the year list and a new Narcissus for my Granada List.

Two-leaved Gennaria (Gennaria dyphyla).
Jayne and I went down to the coast at Torre and then on to a Car-boot sale at Nerja where Jayne was looking for matterials for her patchworking hobby. On the way down I saw Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis). After the first car boot we stopped off at Cerro
Narcissus Baeticus.
Gordo where i was hoping to find some of the many spikes of the uncommon Two-leaved Gennaria (Gennaria dyphyla) that I had seen last year but I was reather disappointed to just find a single plant. The whole area had been rooted out by Wild boars and apart from a good number of Narcissus Baeticus (which was the new province species) not much else had servived. A little further down the back found a spike of Sawfly Orchid (Ophry tenthredinifera). Birds included Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros). We then continued on along the coast and found another car-boot at almunécar before heading home.