Saturday 20 April 2013

Venta del Raya to Venta de Zafarraya, Granada Province.

The 2nd local Granada Wildlife walk / drive.

Conical Orchid (Orchis conica).
Today 14 of us met up at the bar just on the outskirts of Venta de Raya before heading south along the road down towards Venta de Zafarraya and at this point we were in nice sunshine but it was not to last!!! Our first stop was a few KM down the road over looking a largish expanse of cereal fields where we had nice views of several Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) including at least 5 ♂ and 3 ♀ . 
Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea).
We also had Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Iberian Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica). We then went on along the road down towards Zafarraya and things soon started to deteriorate as we hit a bank of very thick fog / low cloud and then it started to rain. We eventually got to the first stop but could not see a dam thing and the rain and wind was freezing so we continued on to the second spot but things just got worse. So when we got there we to admit defeat and cancelled the morning and decided to rerun on Friday the 26th.
Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum).
Anyway, Jan and Linda were not going to be here for the Friday trip so we all manned up and braved the weather and got out in to the woods looking for some Orchids, straight away we started to find lots of Yellow Bee Orchids (Ophrys lutea), a few Conical Orchids (Orchis conica) and then a clump of the beautiful Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea) which was made up of around 40 plants. We continued on and added a few spikes of the blue Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum), along with some over with Fan-lipped Orchids (Orchis conica) and some not at their best Giant Orchids (Himantoglossum robertiana). Birds included Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla).
Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanatera longifolia).
We then pushed on North and stopped on the roadside a few KMs up the road and went into the Oak woods and straight away we started to find more Yellow Bee Orchids, Giant Orchids, Conical Orchids, along with some not quite in flower Lange's Orchids (Orchis langei) and some nowhere near in flower Lizard Orchid (Himantoglossum hircinum). We then found a few new species including some of the variably coloured Southern Early Purple Orchids (Orchis olbiensis), Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanatera longifolia) and in another small area of wood a couple of spikes of Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera).
Birds included Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común /Cuculus canorus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus).
and Linda.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

Aprils Andalucian Bird Society Meeting.

Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
I arrived at the lower car park of the Abades service area off the A92 just above Loja to meet up with a group from the ABS, I was expecting to be guiding a decent sized group of around 12 members on to the hill but by the time we headed out numbers had swelled to 27 including myself. In the car park while we were getting sorted I noted House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula). We made a short stop at the lower quarry which was mainly so I could check that every one was happy to walk up to the next larger quarry from the parking area.
Southern Wild Tulip (Tulipa sylvestris ssp australis).
Whilst we were here we did see Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), a couple of Red-billed Chough's (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and a large Raptor which only I saw and was so distant that I could not be sure of its identification.
Viola dmentria.
We moved on and parked on the large cut out turning area on the right a Km or so on and once every one was ready started the walk up the track to the middle quarry, before we had really started we heard and then saw a smal flock of Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), 2 Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and several Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus). On the right hand side of the track we soon started to see some interesting wild flowers and Orchids, the first were Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea), followed by Torcal Toadflax (Linaria anticaria), the small yellow flowered Viola dmentria, Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) and further up the track Southern Wild Tulip (Tulipa sylvestris ssp australis), Southern Red Bartsia (Parentucellia latifolia), Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata ssp pullata), Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), Pink Med Catchfly (Silene colorata), Gorse (Ulex europaeus) and Asphodelus ramosus.
Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes).
On the walk up several species of bird were added to the day list including Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilargo / Sylvia undata), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris),  Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs). We reached the Quarry to find that two climbers were scaling the main cliff face just below the Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo) platform so the birds were not showing but in this area and in the quarry we added Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala). On the way back down Bob Wright and I saw a male Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) in his scope but it flew before we could get any one else on to it.
Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).
Also seen were Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and a fleeting male Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) which flew across the track and disappeared into a bush. Amongst the rocks we found a few spikes of Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera) and a single one of Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum subsp speculum). Other plants were Field marigold (Calendula arvensis), Rosy Garlic (Allium roseum), Rock Phagnalon (Phagnalon saxatile), White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum) and Iberis pectinata. Butterflies included Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Small White (Artogeia rapae) and Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera).
The rather Large Group.
Our next stop was on the crags near the top, we all managed to tuck the cars in close on the one side of the track and then walked up to the bend. On the way we added Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and our first of many Black-eared Wheatears (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).
Narcissus bugei.
Plants on the rocks included  Buckler Mustard (Biscutella frutescens), Chickweed (Cerastium boissieri), Crambe filiformis and Gagea arvensis. The drivers then walked back down to the cars and came back up and picked us all up, we then continued on as far as the first water shed. On the way we located Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), a pair of soaring Ravens (Cuervo / Corvus corax) and European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster). Again we then moved on continuing on up to the valley near the substation buildings where we found our first Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), more Red-billed Chough's, several Black-eared Wheatears and in the air clouds of both Common and Pallid Swifts.
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
On our way up to Charca del negro where we were going to have our picnic's I had brief views of a female Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) but just as we stopped the dam thing flew down into a small dip behind some large rocks and was not seen again. We then took the right turn up near a largish goat herders compound and parked at Charca, Brenda and her two companians could not get up to the spot in their low slung Audi hire car so I walled back down to them. they decided to have their food at the bottom of the slop and then drive back down the hill. By the time I got back up to the others the Picnic was well under way.
Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata).
I got my food and went down by the pool and watched the many Natterjack Toads (Sapo Corredor / Bufo calamita) and Sharp-ribbed Salamander (Pleurodeles waltl) coming up to breath in the clear water. Over the water there were a couple of species of dragonflies, a female of the large and fast flying Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) and both male and female of the smaller Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) including an egg laying female. Once we had all eaten some of us had a look on the nearby crag at a good number of the uncommon Narcissus bugei and some newly flowering clumps of Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis), also on the crags we had nice views of a male Blue-rock Thrush, Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and over the pool more Crag Martins.
Another smaller group shot.
We then moved on in the vehicles around passed the goat cave to the next set of rocky cliffs where we all had great views of a pair of Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes which showed very well. We later walked a little further on to check an area for a second pair of thrushes but we did not see them but had nice views of more Blue-rock Thrushes and Black Wheatears. We then walked back to the vehicles and started on back down the hill but made a stop above the marble quarry where we looked for Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata).
Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo).
Within a few minutes we had a fine display flying male bird which perched a couple of times. We again continued on down hill, some of the group turned up the track to the top quarry to check the Eagle Owl site and were awarded with views of a bird sat on the front of the platform. Our car just managed to add Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) to the list. We eventually reached the car park and all went our own ways. Thank you to Peter and Nick for giving me a lift around all day
and to all the members who made this a very nice days birding.

Thanks to David Hird and Stephen Powell for sending me and allowing me to use their shots in the blog.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

The Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

Another days guiding in the fantastic Cacín Valley.

I met Neal Erickson and his wife Ronna who were very keen birders visiting Granada City from Massachusetts in the US. As soon as we were loaded up we headed out of town and down the motorway heading South towards Motril before turning off and heading along the road to La Malaha. Our first stop was at the Cortijo del Marchaleja where we immediatly located around 10 Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) which were breeding in the main part of the ruined house. Here we also found a couple of Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and several Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) which sat on a wire fence on the opposite side of the road and down in the dry ravine nearby we heard and had fleeting glimpes of both Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta). Also seen here were Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula). We then moved on to La Malaha and out onto the fields to the West of the town where we soon started to find new species including Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster). After turning off the tarmac onto one of the many dirt tracks, along here we saw a few more Lesser Kestrels and soon started to see the first of many Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and a little further along this track we passed a cluster of small plastic lined pools where we were surprised to find a pair of Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus). Here we also added males of both Marsh (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) and just down the track we added a small group of Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) which was made up of a male and at least two females. The male flew out and circled around behind us and a few minutes later it and another male flew right passed us together giving great views, while we were stood watching the Bustards we also picked up a small number of Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) on a ploughed section of field and a single Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) which flew up and dropped out of sight over a ridge. 
Neal and his wife Ronna.
We drove slowly through the rest of the site picking up a couple more Montagu's Harriers, a female Marsh Harrier, Red-legged Partridge and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), along with Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) and Small White (Artogeia rapae).
Our next stop was on the edge of Ventas del Huelma where we scanned the wires and skies picking up good numbers of House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) which was heard in a nearby field, House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus). While we were at this site Ronna performed a rescue mission in a couple of roadside puddles where she realised some stranded Natterjack Toad (Sapo Corredor / Bufo calamita) tadepoles back into the main puddles but ultimately I guess that with the hot weather we are having the puddles will dry out before they develop enough to survive. We then drove along the 14 KM road towards Cacín, on the way we stopped and checked a site amongst some Poplar trees and reeds, here we found a Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) sitting on a nest, so we moved on to the far side of the site so that we did not disturb the bird. In the area we also saw and heard Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and several calling Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi).
Violet Cabbage (Moricandia moricandioides).
We drove on to Cacín, on the way we took a track out into the fields, we did not see a lot of birds along here but we did get views of an Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida) while we were looking for this we saw Purple Viper's Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Pink Med Catchfly (Silene colorata), White Mustard (Sinapis alba), Common Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum), Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), Scentless Mayweed (Matricaria perforata), White Mignonette (Reseda Alba), Field marigold (Calendula arvensis), Eruca (Eruca sativa), White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum), Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris), Wild Clary (Salvia verbenaca) and Gorse (Ulex europaeus) all flowering on the roadside.
We continued on and had nice views of a male Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), heard a couple of Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops) in a nearby Almond grove and as we dropped down into the town another Booted Eagle but this time it was soaring and showing nicely. Once we were down in the Valley we drove South into the Gorge where we parked up and had our lunch whilst we were watching the skies for raptors, on the cliffs and in the sky there were Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura). Eventually we also had views of the female Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus) sat on the cliff.  
Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea).
Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus), Rock Phagnalon (Phagnalon saxatile), Warty Spurge (Euphorbia squamigera), Southern Red Bartsia (Parentucellia latifolia)Kermes Oak (Quercus coccifera) and other plants were also seen here along with my first Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi) of the summer. We finished eating and then moved back up the valley stopping at the Roman bridge but on the way we called in at a particularly showy bank covered in flowers, they included Common Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Violet Cabbage (Moricandia moricandioides), Mallow-leaved Bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides) and by the side of the car there was a nice stand of Yellow Bee Orchids (Ophrys lutea). At the bridge we got views of Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and a singing Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) which remained out of sight.
Our next stop was at the Embalse de Cacín where the water level was still low, on the margins we saw a Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Common Redshank  (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus) and out on the water a nice male Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), several Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and a pair of Northern Shovelers (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata). We also recorded a single summer plumaged Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus) which was feeding up and down the lake. Here we also added Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus).
Southern Water Vole (Arvicola sapidus).
We then moved on to the bridge just below the dam and walked down the road into the woods where we found a couple new species which included a male Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and a hard to see Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) plus a couple of Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) butterflies. Back at the bridge we had more views of European Bee-eaters, Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and in the water channel we found an exhausted looking Southern Water Vole (Arvicola sapidus), we tried to get him to climb a stick to get him out but with out success, so we had to leave him to his own devises.
We then continued on and stopped near the sub-station where we saw several spikes of Ophrys forestieri which were growing right on the road side. We had brief views of a female Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) just as we dropped down to the side of the river to try for better views of the Nightingales we had been hearing all day but as we arrived they all went quiet. We did see a small Iberian Water Frog and a  Signal Crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) which was stranded in some mud. Birds wise we added a Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) to the list but little else.
Southern Water Vole (Arvicola sapidus).
We continued on to our final site of the day which was in the agricultural areas near Moraleda but due to the heat we did not see many birds but we did added Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and had nice views of an immature male Montagu's Harrier. Up near the Cortijo we had a few butterflies including Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Large White (Pieris brassicae) and Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) before heading back to the motorway and up into the city.
I hope that Neal and Ronna enjoyed their day as much as I enjoyed showing them the Spanish Wildlife, Thank you for supporting Granada Wildlife.

Monday 15 April 2013

The Cacín Valley, Granada Province, Spain.

Wildlife Guiding in the Cacín Valley.

Peter and Nick.
I arrived at today's meeting point early and while there I saw Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and a rather surprising Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) which flew over nearby fields. Peter and Nick arrived and we got straight on with the days birding, we were sooner up on the nearby agricultural areas.
On the way we stopped in the urbanisation where we spent some time watching a group of cracking Red-rumped Swallows which were entering a small porch on one of the houses that was a little rundown. Also in the same area we picked up the first of many Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Collared Dove, Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and a female Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala). We were soon out in the fields and started to pick up good numbers of Corn Buntings and then a Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) a new bird for both Peter and Nick was seen perched in a nearby Almond tree and this was followed by a good fly view of a Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus). We then went out on the tracks into the area where we were searching for some Steppe species, we started off on the right hand track.
Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).
We parked and searched around a ravine area about 300 meters along, here we soon located a couple of Mirror Orchids (Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), Field marigold (Calendula arvensis), Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata ssp pullata), Pink Med Catchfly (Silene colorata), White Mignonette (Reseda Alba), Common Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum), Soft Stork's-bill (Erodium malacoides), Mallow-leaved Bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides), Purple Viper's Bugloss (Echium plantagineum) and Scentless Mayweed (Matricaria perforata). Bird wise we added a singing Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) and more Thekla Larks singing high over the Almond groves. We then moved on up to the Cortijo on the ridge top where there were several species of Butterfly coming to feed on the Eruca (Eruca sativa), they included Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Bath White  (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Small White (Artogeia rapae) and Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta). We then had a walk down the hill towards the Solar panel area, on the way we heard a Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) calling, we eventually located a cracking male bird and as usual it was much further away that we first thought. Whilst we were watching this bird a flock of 5 Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) flew across over the tops of the Almond groves, these were soon followed by another 4 birds, all 9 birds gave us some excellent views. While we were following the Sandgrouse we picked up a Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) flapping through the site quite high. We moved on around to the far side of the site and parked up in the Almond grove and had a walk. On the way up we saw another couple of Stone Curlews and amongst the wild flowers in between the trees we saw several Clouded Yellows (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina) and several Silver Y Moths (Autographa gamma). On the road as we were leaving we found a dead Ladder Snake (Culebra de Escalera / Etaphe scalaris) and later in the day we found a squashed Montpellier snake (Malpolon monspessulanus) on the road near to Vantas de Huelma.
We then headed off the fields and made our way down into the valley through the village of El Turro and then south along the road following the river thought the Pine woods. We made a stop amongst the Pines and soon had Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) and a sculking Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta).
European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
 We then moved on a short way down the river to the bridge over the Rio Cacín, straight away we picked up a male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) over the nearby ridge, this was soon joined by both Golden (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) and Short-toed Eagles (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) all soaring close together and a little later we had a second Golden join the first and watch them both soar together.. In the trees and reeds along the river we saw another much more showy Melodious Warbler, Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster). I then scanned the crags off down stream and picked up a roosting Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo) and over head there were good numbers of both Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus). We moved on along to the Embalse de Cacín and scanned the lake which was still very low and quite a large areas of mud were showing. On the water we saw small numbers of Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), a single male Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), a pair of Northern Shovelers (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Moorhens (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and a pair of Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus). On the mud we also recorded 2 Green (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and 6 Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and a single Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus). In the air we watched masses of Swifts, including at least 4 Alpine Swifts (Vencejo Real / Apus melba). We then moved on south down the valley where we turned off towards Cacín village and we parked on the right and had a walked along the river, new birds seen here included Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus).
Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra),
Again we continued on to a point over the crags further south where we were going to have our lunch but almost straight away we had a stunning  Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus) soaring in front of us giving incredible views. While we had our food we also added Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) plus a calling but unseen Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia). Here I also saw Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra) and Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas). We then started to retrace our steps back North calling in at the Roman bridge where we had better but still not good views of Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia). We returned to Cacín and went up through the village and onwards onto the El Temple area above but the first half of the drive produced nothing new but on the second half we added Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), another Golden Eagle and Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa)which was only heard. We then stopped at a road side spot and took a very quick look at a Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) sat in a poplar tree and below in the flooded trenches there were some very loud Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi) calling / croaking. We called in at a bar in Vantas de Huelma for some extra water and then took a track across country to Castillo de Tajarja, on the way we had some nice views of some more Lesser Kestrels, another nice male Little Bustard which was calling from a roadside field and whilst we were watching this bird we heard a Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) calling from a nearby Olive grove.
Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator).
We then went and had a walk around the trees but we could not locate the Cuckoo but we did get better views of the Little Bustard we had been watching earlier. We continued on towards the town and then on back passed the mornings starting point and back to the meeting point where Peter and Nick collected their car and then followed me to Laguna / Balsa de Regidor where we saw several more Common Pochards, Northern Shoveler, Mallard and on the logs around the side hundreds of Stripe-necked Terrapin's (Mauremys leprosa). I then said goodbye to Peter and Nick but I was just a short one as we were meeting up again on Wednesday on the Andalucian Bird Society meeting on Sierra de Loja.
Thanks for a good days birding and for supporting Granada Wildlife.