A photography Day along the Cacín Valley.
(Deb and Ian Day Six).
|Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) taken by Deb.|
We started the day on the side of the very noisy A92 looking for a Black-winged Kite
(Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) I had seen in the area a few days earlier. We started by scanning the wires and pylons in the area but could not find the bird but we did get the list going with Hoopoe
(Abubilla / Upupa epops), Iberian Magpie
(Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Collared Dove
(Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Corn Bunting
(Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Crested Lark
(Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Feral Pigeon
(Columba livia) and Spotless Starling
(Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
From here we went out on to the fields near Moraleda looking for some special birds, straight away we found a Short-toed Lark
(Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) sat out on the road and just as we turned into the areas of the fields a Calandra
(Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) did pretty much the same but on the top of a stand of cut hay.
|Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) taken by Deb.|
We drove past the first of the Almond plantations and up to the ruin on the ridge, as soon as we were out of the car we heard but could not locate a flock of Black-bellied Sandgrouse
(Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis). We could also hear a distant Little Bustard
(Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) on the fields near to the lower Almond groves, eventually we located the bird and had good views. Whilst we were watching the Bustards
a pair of Rollers
(Carraca / Coracias garrulus) flew over the ruin and started to display in the nearby Almond Grove giving us great views. Around the ruin we watched a single Swallowtail
(Papilio machaon) which was flying rapidly around the building along with several Small
(Artogeia rapae) and Bath Whites
(Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) and a Wall Brown
(Lasiommata megera). We got back into the car and dropped down to where we had seen the Bustard
to try and get Debs camera within range but the bird had moved a considerable distance down the field.
| Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) taken by Deb.|
We continued on and had more nice views of a Short-toed Lark
which sat out on the track just in front of the car, further on we turned onto an area harvested hay and soon had another Little Bustard
in our sights and this time it performed superbly for the camera and for those of us with just the bins. We spent quite a while watching this brilliant bird before it wandered over a small ridge and gave us the chance to move on with out disturbing it, We returned part way along the track we had come on before heading along another track into another area of Almonds and with in seconds we had the main target bird for the day in our sights. in a dead looking Almond about 100meters in front of us was a cracking 1st summer Great Spotted Cuckoo
(Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius). Deb had the camera rattling quickly and after she had taken some distant record shots we moved in closer and she took some more and then we move a little closer and then closer until we were just 20 meters or so away.
| Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius).|
I then took some shots through the scope,
before we closed right in and parked about 3 meters from the bird on the track, Ian managed to get some very nice video through his little compact camera, at this point I was getting concerned that the bird was ill or injured in some way so I got out of the car and walked towards the bird to check it out. I was only a meter away from the bird when it flew off and looked fine and fit, we came to the conclusion that it was just well chilled out and was happy to pose. We moved on again but not far as just around the corner we relocated the pair of Rollers
and they also performed well for the camera and just showed well for us all. In the same area we also had Jackdaw
(Grajilla / Corvus monedula), a pair of Montagu's Harriers
(Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail
(Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Little Owl (
Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Red-legged Partridge
(Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Common Buzzard
(Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and Barn Swallow
(Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).
|Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) taken by Deb.|
From here we dropped down into the Cacín Valley and made our way along the river to a spot in the Pinewoods and scanned the ridge opposite were we soon had a fine Bonelli's Eagle
(Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus) soaring over the pines, several Coal Tits
(Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) which called nearer to us, Turtle Dove
(Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Golden Oriole
(Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) and Wren
(Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes). A little further along the road but still in the Pines we added Long-tailed
(Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Great
(Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Blue Tits
(Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) to the day list along with Woodpigeon
(Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Chaffinch
(Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Nightingale
(Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and glimpsed a couple of Common Crossbills
(Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) which were very elusive in the dense branches.
|Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) taken by Deb.|
On the side of the road here we found a dead Horseshoe Whip Snake
(Coluber hippocrepis) again run over, it was by far the larges example of this species I had seen and must have been at least 1.3 meters in length.
Our next stop was at the bridge across the Cacin just below the embalse where we first of all had a look at the reeds along the river and had views of Reed Warbler
(Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Blackcap
(Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Rock Sparrow
(Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Linnet
(Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and European Bee-eater
(Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster). We walked along the road and into the mixed stretch of woodland along side the river were we found a few orchids growing in the deep shade including Bee Orchid
(Ophrys apifera), Small Woodcock Orchid
(Ophrys picta) and some tatty looking Yellow Bee Orchids
(Ophrys lutea), plus Southern Knapweed
(Centaurea pullata ssp pullata), Rosy Garlic
(Allium roseum), Red Phlomis
(Phlomis purpurea) and Pitch Trefoil
|Horseshoe Whip Snake (Coluber hippocrepis).|
Birds included Robin
(Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Woodchat Shrike
(Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Spotted Flycatcher
(Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Mistle Thrush
(Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and a Short-toed Treecreeper
(Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) which popped into its nest behind a peeling strip of Eucaliptus bark right next to the track. We retraced our steps back to the car and went up to the lake above this site and scanned the water. The water level was back to its normal level but it was very coloured which was probably why the number of birds was low, we did however record Mallard
(Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard
(Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Common Moorhen
(Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot
(Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Little Grebe
(Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis). In the sky above the site we picked out Pallid
(Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and Common Swifts
(Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Red-rumped Swallow
(Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), House
(Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martins
(Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris).
|Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera).|
By now our thoughts were turning to food so we headed towards the bar in Cacín but on the way we picked up a raptor which was sat on the top of a roadside pylon but was well obscured making Id difficult, eventually we got to a position to see that it was a cracking female Goshawk
(Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis) which flew off giving us nice views in flight before it turned and disappeared into the nearby Poplars. We had lunch at the bar before starting out again and heading up out of the valley on the road towards Ventas del Huelma, once we were up on the tops we picked out a soaring Booted Eagle
(Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) and whilst we were watching this we also had a male Peregrine Falcon
(Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) and a Common Kestrel
(Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) pass over.
| Deb photographing the plants.|
In the same area we heard and saw Common Magpie
(Urraca / Pica pica), Alpine Swift
(Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Serin
(Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Thekla Lark
(Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Zitting Cisticola
(Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis). Further on we parked on a bend with a great view over the surounding countryside up to the Sierra Nevada and whilst scanning from here we soon had a pair of Golden Eagle (
Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) in the bins. we again moved on and headed to a track out into the campo where I regularly search for the larger raptors found in the area, as soon as we came off the road we had more close views of a Booted Eagle, Iberian Grey Shrike
(Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and another Common Buzzard.
At the furthest point along the track we had another pair of Golden Eagles
which put of a fine aerobatic show in the strengthening wind, also seen here was another male Little Bustard,
several Lesser Kestrels
(Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) and Marsh Harrier
(Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus).
|Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).|
We retraced our way back to the road and started to head back towards Cacín, we stopped on the way to watch the Golden Eagles again and take some shots of the wildflowers in the area which included Large Blue Flax
(Linum narbonense), Linum tenue
, White Flax
(Linum suffruticosum), Crambe filiformis
, Cynara cardunculus
, Salvia lavandulifolia
, Ground-pine Germander
(Teucrium pseudochamaepitys) and Yellow Restharrow
(Ononis natrix). Other birds seen here included Melodious Warbler
, White Wagtail
(Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Common Stonechat
(Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Dartford Warbler
(Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata).
A little further towards home we stopped in an Olive grove where Deb got some cracking shots of a group of Hoopoe's
and just above Cacín we had a pair of soaring Short-toed Eagles
(Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) a good way to end the birding for now but not the day.
|Us with Santi senior.|
We got back and Jayne and I headed up to Joyce's house out in the campo near us where she had kindly held Santiago's First Communion party, we had a nice time and some good food with the family before heading back to have a drink with Deb and Ian. We sat out on the roof terrace and had a glass or two of wine, during this we saw a passing Red-necked Nightjar
(Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis), heard both Stone Curlew
(Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and Little Owl
(Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and later well after ark we heard at least a couple of Greater Flamingo's
(Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus) pass over, a good end to a very good day.