Saturday 23 March 2013

Balsa de Regidor and Hacho, Granada Province.

Another couple of year ticks.

Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum robertiana).
Jayne and I popped up to Garden Centre on the A92 at Moraleda to pick up a couple of plants and on the way back we called at Balsa de Regidor where I had a quick scan of this man made naturalised pool. On the water there were a fewmale Common Pochards (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), two pairs of Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), a few Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis).
Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum robertiana).
I then picked up a couple of Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) which were roosting in a muddy along with a couple of male Eurasian Teals (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca). In the air and around the margins I located Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator).
Giant Orchids (Himantoglossum robertiana).
Jayne and I then went passed the house and up to the Northern slopes of Hacho where we were looking for more Pine Cones to stop the ******** cats from dumping in the herb patch. While Jayne filled two bags of cones I spent some time looking for some Orchids, there were loads of Giant Orchids (Himantoglossum robertiana) of varying colours, dozens of Ophrys forestieri, a couple of Sawfly Orchids (Ophrys tenthredinifera) and a few Southern Early Purple's (Orchis olbiensis). In the same area there were lots of Yellow Anemone (Anemone palmata).
Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum robertiana).

Birds included Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and down in the quarry a male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius).
Ophry Dyris.
Sawfly Orchids (Ophrys tenthredinifera).

Southern Early Purple Orchid (Orchis olbiensis).
Yellow Anemone (Anemone palmata).

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Sierra de Mijas, Coin, Malaga Province and Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

Shopping, Birds and Orchids.

Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys scolopax).
Jayne and I headed off down the coast and then inland to Alaurín del la Torre where we visited a couple of charity shops hoping that Jayne may pick up some material for her patch work but we were unlucky this time. Our next stop was in the Pine woods on the North West corner of Sierra de Mijas where I was looking for Orchids, on the way up we saw a migrating Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba). 
Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys scolopax).
In the wooded area I heard Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) and saw Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus). 
Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum).
In the grassland I found several Orchid species including some very nice spikes of Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys scolopax), Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea), Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum) and Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera). There were also a few butterflies about, the commonest were African Grass Blue (Zizeeia knysna) and Bath White (Pontia daplidice), these were seen along with the odd Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and a single Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra). 
Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea).
We then moved on up the road to a site a bit nearer to Coin but was very disappointed when I got there to find the the site had been ploughed up to produce a fire break. I did have a good search around but I could find very few of the Orchids which usually covered this area including some extremely rare species. 
African Grass Blue (Zizeeia knysna).
I did find a few Sawfly Orchids and singles of Ophrys dyris and Mirror Orchid. Other things of interest were a couple of Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Large White (Pieris brassicae) and Clouded Yellow. We then dropped back down towards Malaga, calling at a garden center on the way to the Lario's Center in the City. 
African Grass Blue (Zizeeia knysna).
Later we headed back home and called at the flooded fields on the fields north of the town, straight away I located two of the Egyptian Geese (Ganso del Nilo / Alopochen aegyptiaca) that had turned upa few days ago, also see were Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) and on the way back up to the house we saw Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki).
Ophrys Dyris.

Huétor Tájar, Granada Province.

What a day for a day dream.

The Genil at Huétor.
Well it was if you were dreaming of some sun as we got a bit but after the last horrendous 24 hours of rain it was goo to get a glimpse of it. The Rio Genil had burst its banks and we had to go down the coast via Loja.
The Genil at Huétor.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Huétor Fields and Padul, Granada Province.

A sunny start and then rain, more rain and to finish the day more rain !!!!!

Padul in the rain!!!
I started off by going down on to the fields to have a look and see if any of the Egyptian Geese (Ganso del Nilo / Alopochen aegyptiaca) that have been about for a few days were still on site but they had gone. On the flooded fields there were still good numbers of Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and a few Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) and at least a dozen Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallingao gallinago). In the surrounding scrub and in the Poplar plantation there were very good numbers of Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).
I then moved around to the far side of the flooded area and drove along the track on the bank above the Arroyo del Vilanowhere I soon had a very nice male Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) in the bins as it sat in a bare Fig tree, also seen along here were a male Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia). I scanned the floods again but came up with nothing else so I returned back alon the track seeing a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and a surprise male Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis) which was in making its way through some thin scrub along side the car from where I had very good views, seeing the pale eye and confirming this early migrants identification.
Later in the day Jayne and I went up to Granada to Juan Perez and Beatriz'a appartment where Jayne and Beatriz did some English work whilst juan and I went birding down to Padul, as soon as we arrived it started to rain so we went straight into the hide which over looks the main pool and before long the rain was so heavy that we could not see the far side of the lake.
Then the Lightening started and some of the longest rumbles of thunder I have ever heard. Whist in this hide we could see good numbers of Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) along with Sand (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus).
On the marginal areas we recorded Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Snipe, Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), White Wagtail, Common Chiffchaff, Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and then we eventually picked up one of the two Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) Juan had seen earlier in the week. We then decided that the rain was going to win so we went back to Granada and Jayne and I went back home.

Monday 18 March 2013

Torre del Mar and travelling, Granada and Malaga Provinces.

An unplanned trip down the coast.

Jayne and I set off to pop down to the supermarket and before we knew it we were on our way down to the coast at Torre. On the way down we went past Salar, Venta de Zafarraya and onwards down through Vinuela and I picked up Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros).
Down on the coast we had a very nice walk along the prom and had an nicer lunch at one of the chiringuito's on the sea front. During the walk I recorded Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) on the seaward side. On the inland side I picked up Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Crag Martin, House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Spotless StarlingWe had a look around the town and then headed back towards home and on the way added Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius).

Sunday 17 March 2013

Charca del Suarez area and the Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

80 odd species in a day.

Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris).
I met up with Juan Perez at 07:30 and we made our way down towards Charca del Suarez near Motril, on the way in we checked out the agricultural areas near the site and a couple of pools on a Golf Course near the beach. On the road thought the crops we found a Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) out on the tarmac, Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta) which sat preening in a rush tussock, a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) which was sitting on a farm building roof, Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) calling from the pampus grass fields and in the air above the site there were quite good numbers of Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and a fine male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) which quartered the fields.
Sand Martin (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia).
We then moved on down the coastal stripe and checked out a pool on the edge of a golf course where we soon had Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Sand Martin (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), several Spanish (Yellow) (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) and Blue-headed (Yellow) Wagtails (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava flava), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis) and Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti). We then had a look on the beach and found three adult Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), also in the area where several Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), 20+ Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba) and Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo).
Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica).
On our way back to the car we scanned another pool on the golf course where we added Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus).
Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).
At 09:00 we got to the entrance and went into the reserve and into the first hide. Almost as soon as we got in there the rain started to pour and went on for a good while. From this hide we located the first of several Sedge Warblers (Carricerin Común / Acrocephalus schoenobaenus), more Little Grebes, Common Moorhens and Eurasian Coots. The rain eased a little so we moved around towards the next hide checking out the willow scrub where we located at least three Night Herons (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) roosting in the lower branches.
Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).
We then continued on around the walk way to find that the first hide is barriered off so we continued on to the next location where we stayed for a while mainly due to the fack that it was humming it down with rain. The rain forced some of the hirundines to perch on the reed tops which gave me the chance to get some shots, at one point there were Barn and Red-rumped Swallows, House and Sand Martins all sat on the same reed stem but they all flew off before I could get the camera on to them. From the same spot we also added Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallingao gallinago), Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).
Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo).
Around at the main hide we were again pinned down for a while by the rain but picked up Eurasian Wigeon (Silbón Europeo / Anas penelope), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Crag Martins which were flying in and landing on the shelves on the out side of the hide, Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and several quite noisy Stripeless Tree Frogs (Hyla meridionalis). We then moved on around to the last hide but we saw very little but we did get some cracking views of a couple more Sedge Warblers and heard the crocking row from a couple of Western Swamp-hens. Juan and I then headed down the coast a short way to the eastern side of Salabrena where we were looking for a Great White Egret (Garceta Grande / Egretta alba) but we dipped even though we had Juan's nice big 4X4 to go along the embankment in which gave us good views. We did see more Mallards, Little Egrets, Spanish (Yellow) Wagtails and hundreds of hirundines. After we dropped down off the embankment we crossed the agricultural area again on our way back to the motorway junction and added two cracking male Black-eared Wheatears (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica). We then headed off up the motorway back to Granada where Juan dropped me back to my car before heading home, I headed home but the long way round via La Malaha and the Cacín Valley. My first stop was at a large disused Cortijo where I soon had my first Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) of the year along with Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei).
Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo).
From here I headed west to the large industial area near La Malaha and spent some time driving around the fields in this area where I saw lots more Lesser Kestrels, a single Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), several Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), along with Crested, Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis). I continued on heading west through Ventas de Huelma and on to the road to Cacín, after a few KMs I turned off on to a dirt track and drove out into the fields where I soon located more Lesser Kestrels, Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria).
At the far end of this track I stopped and parked and whilst I scanned the fields a flock of 9 Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which flew up from near the track and dropped down on the top of a ridge half way down the field. I then made my way back to the road and continued on towards cacín, on the way I found an immature Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) hanging in the strong winds coming up of the ridge, the bird was being mobbed by 20 or so Jackdaws but they had little effect and the bird continued hunting. I made a short stop at the Rio Cacín but only added Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) in the willows.
Further along the valley I called at the Embalse de Cacín where I was surprised to find that even after all the rain we have had the water level was still low and there were some quite large muddy margins. On the mud there were quite a few Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), a couple of Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and lots of White Wagtails. On the water there were a few Eurasian Teal, Common Pochard, Northern Shoveler, Mallard and a couple of Little Grebes. In the air a male Marsh Harrier was display flying over the reed beds and over the water there were large numbers of hirundines including Sand, Crag and House Martins along with both Barn and Red-rumped Swallows.
Egyptian Goose (Ganso del Nilo / Alopochen aegyptiaca).
I then moved North along the Valley through El Turro to the crags, on the way I saw dozens of spikes of Ophrys forestieri growing on the roadside. At the crags I soon had both Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) on the day list along with Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater).
Egyptian Goose (Ganso del Nilo / Alopochen aegyptiaca).
My last stop of the day was on the local patch at the flooded fields along side the railway line, from the bridge I could see several Green Sandpipers, Little Ringed Plovers, a couple of Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), a Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Little Egret, Grey Heron and to my surprise there were three Egyptian Geese (Ganso del Nilo / Alopochen aegyptiaca) grazing on the far side of the water. Other species seen in the area included Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Grey (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), White and Spanish (Yellow) Wagtails. I then made my way back up to the house after seeing 85+ species during the day.