Tuesday 2 July 2013

The Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

Another days birding with good friend Andy (72 species of birds, not bad for a day in July).

We started the day picking up a few species around the house and on the way down to the first site, they included Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) heard only, Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) again heard only, Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica).
From here we headed out to the agricultural areas near Moraleda, as soon as we arrived we started to pick up new species for the day including Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Greater Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica). We moved on around the site to see a pair of Rollers (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) which were breeding in the area, in the same area we picked up Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris). On the way back to the road we picked up a couple of fine male Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax). Up around the derilict ortijo we saw a couple of hill topping Swallowtails (Papilio machaon), three or more Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli) and a very tatty Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera).
Our next stop was along the Rio Cacín just below the Dam near the bridge where we walked along the track to the dam and soon added Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), a couple of heard only  Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla) which stayed well hidden but called constantly, Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes) and Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti). From near the dam we walked back along the track back to and passed the car continuing along the road for a while.
Along here we saw a male and female Cirl Buntings (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), several adult and immature Nightingales (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and a Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla). In this area we also added a few butterflies to the species list for the day including Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba) plus a couple of dragons which were White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes) and Copper Demoiselle (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis).
From here we moved on up to the Embalse just along the road, on the way we had both Large Psammodromus (Lagartija colilarga / Psammodromus algirus) and Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida) and a little further on we picked up two raptors on the ridge.
Andy quickly parked and quickly relocated the two birds and soon Identified them as an adult and immature Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus), we watched them for quite a while as they soared right above our heads before moving to the lake. On the muddy margins we counted at least 8 Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and a couple of Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and out on the water a small number of Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra).
On the far bank there were the usual Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa) sunning them selves on a log. I then picked up some movement down in the reed beds and soon a couple of young Wild Boar (Felis silvestris) came out into view, also in the reeds there were several Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) flashing about, a Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) which flew up onto some nearby thistles and a couple of Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) were calling from up on the ridge.
We again moved on, our nest site was along the Rio Cacín just out side the Village of Cacín where we followed a track along side the river. We soon had good views of a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and then a bird Andy really wanted to see after hearing them earlier, a cracking Wryneck which gave us superb views as it perched on some dead branches for a good while.
From here we headed up onto the ridge above the village and followed the road for a while to a view point where we scanned the skies for raptors, we did add Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) to the list but no other raptors. However we saw our second pair of Rollers for the day, Rock / Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia)  along with several Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and dozens of Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus).
We then retraced our step right back up the valley to the crags just below Moraleda, along the crags above the pines we soon picked Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and out on the fields we heard Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis).
On the way back towards the house we called in at Balsa de Rigedor where we added just two new species for the day, the first was Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and the second a cracking pale phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus). We ten went back to the house, on the way in we had a couple of fly over Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae).

Monday 1 July 2013

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

An afternoons birding with Andy from the UK.

Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia).
Friend Andy Mountford arrived at ours around lunch time from Sevilla, after spending some time in northern Spain. We had some lunch before heading up Sierra de Loja to have a look for some of the upland species that this site is well known for, as it was well on into the afternoon we decided to head straight over to the area around Charca del Negra where we have on the last few visits seen the secretive Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis). On our way over we had some very nice views of both Black (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and Black-eared Wheatears (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and mixed flocks of Red-billed Choughs (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
Andy Mountford.
Once we were at we got views of several more Rock Sparrows and Buntings, a nice male Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), singing male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and in the air several Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus). On the rock face we found the remains of a few plants but every thing was pretty much over with and on the pool there were a couple of Blue / Common Emperors (Anax imperator) and a single male Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii). In the water there were lots of Tadepoles of the Sharp-ribbed Salamanders (Pleurodeles waltl) along with a few adults. In this area we also had a few butterfly species which included Spanish Marbled (Melanargia ines) and Iberian Marbled Whites (Melanargia lachesis), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto) and Swallowtail (Papilio machaon).
Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia).
We could not locate the Other Rock Thrush here so we moved on around towards the Goat Cave and further on along the track passing several more craggy spots where we had good views of two Short-toed Eagles (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) one of which was very pale and the other very dark but we did not get a sniff of the Thrush so we turned around and had to admit defeat for the first time this year.
On the way back down we added both Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) to the day list by the small cereal field near the pools and on the wire fence surrounding the new barn a little lower down an adult Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and a couple of singing Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra). Further down a family party of Spectacled Warblers (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) crossed the track in front of the car and both Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) sat on posts at the track side during the journey down to Loja.
Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus).
As we made our way back to the house we added Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) to the afternoons list.

Sunday 30 June 2013

The Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

Day two of Gretchen's Tour.

Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).
Today started up in Granada City again where I met Gretchen before we headed off back along the motorway towards Moraleda where we came off and went to our first site, Balsa de Regidor. The site is a small naturalised pool which had several pairs of Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina) breeding on it and they were out on the water with good numbers of ducklings. Also on the water there were several Eurasian Coots (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhens (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis).
Also seen in the air and around the margins were Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus).
Whilst we were along side the lake we could hear a Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) calling from in the Olives so we took a walk down the track towards the farm, we did not see the Curlew but added Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
We walked back up to the car and drove the short distance up on to the agricultural areas nearby, on the way we had views of both Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and just as we arrived at the site a pair of Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) sat on a rock pile. Once we moved out on to the fields we quickly located a small group of 4 Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) which were out on a harvested crop field, also here we saw and heard both Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) along with a couple of Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) which were walking around amongst straw bails on the fields nearby.
Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
We again moved on down through the site to a spot where a pair of beautiful Rollers (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) were breeding in a dead tree, we arrived and found that there were three more Hoopoes and a family party of Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis). After a short while the first of the Roller adults flew in and fed the youngsters while we watched and this bird was soon followed by the second bird, we had great views. We moved further along the track where we had cracking views of a European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) which was feeding from the tops of dead Almond trees. In the same area we saw a fly over Stone Curlew, Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
From here we dropped down into Cacín where we had a late breakfast in the bar before continuing on down the valley where we stopped by the bridge over the Rio Cacín, almost straight away we picked up a group of feeding European Bee-eaters, heard a calling Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla) some way along the track towards the dam, a Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) which soon skulked back off into cover and then a very nice male Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) which sang from the top of a White Willow near the dam.
Down near the dam we hear a Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) calling but did not see it, luckily Gretchen got flight veiws later as we walked back to the car, on the dam we saw White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and up in the pines a Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius). We then walked back to the car and on the way we got views of a distant immature Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus) which circled over the ridge. We passed the car and continued on down the road and picked up a Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei) which we had heard call a few times, a singing Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) which sat nicely in a low bush and a calling Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) but it remained out of site.
From hear we drove up to the Embalse where we picked up more Common Pochards, Eurasian Coots, Common Moorhens and White Wagtails. On the muddy margins there were a small number of Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and a pair of Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius). From here we dropped down the valley and stopped above the gorge and scanned the cliffs where we got nice views of both Common and Pallid Swifts, Crag Martin, several Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) were seen collecting something from the cliffs but we could not work out what from our view point. Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) could be hear down in the gorge and what was possibly the same immature Bonelli's Eagle we had seen earlier soared above us and gave us some really nice views.
From hear we headed back along the gorge and stopped at the Roman bridge where we had some more views of Rock Sparrows, Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and then a surprise species a male Spanish Sparrow (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis) which perched in a small Almond tree near the bridge. We continued on up the valley to Cacín and stopped on the river and walked up the river, near the bridge we saw a Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) several times as it came into its nest in a gnarled willow tree.
We also had good views of Nightingale, Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea). We moved on along the road and up onto the ridge above where we quickly picked up a Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) on a road side Pylon.
We continued on across country through Ventas del Huelma and on to another agricultural area near the large industrial area at La malaha. We worked our way across the fields where we got nice views of a Hoopoe, Short-toed Lark and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata). Our last stop was at a disused Cortijo on the way back into the city where we got nice views of a couple of Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), lots of Feral / Rock Pigeons (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia) and around the side of the buildings we found a plant that I did not know. From here we headed back into the city where I said goodbye to Gretchen and had a walk up into the city to collect a couple of bits a friend had left in a Hotel before heading home.