Saturday, 1 February 2014

RAM Seabird Survey, Motril Port, Charca de Suarez, Golf Course and Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

A Morning down on the coast birding.

I met up with Juan Perez Contrerasat AKI in Granada to headed down to the coast at Motril, we arrived at Cabo Sacratif near Torrenueva just to the east of Motril where we spent some time sat on a very windy rock looking out to a quiet (bird wise) sea. We did record a few Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), small numbers of Balearic Shearwaters (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), along with Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Mediterranean Gulls (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus). Whilst there we also saw lots of Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Feral Pigeon (Columba livia), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
At the end of the seawatch we headed to the Port where we spent a while trying to find Gulls, let alone any with rings on. The Port has got far busier in the last year or so and the bird numbers have dropped drastically but we did find a few Lesser-black Backed and  Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) but none with rings on. Whilst driving around we disturbed a female Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) which was feeding on a Collared Dove, quite a big catch and when she flew it made her work quite hard. In the area we also picked up Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and a Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) which was sat on the end of a distant concrete sea wall. 
Our next stop was at Charca de Suarez, we started by having a look from the small hide at Laguna del Taraje where we heard but did not see the Moustached Warbler (Carricerin Real / Acrocephalus melanopogon) which was singing from the reeds at the back of the pool. Here we had nice views of Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Purple Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla). We then retraced our steps back to the gate and went around the reserve in the usual direction calling at the hide over looking the first pool, here we had 3 Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera),lots more Crag Martins, Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula). We continued on passing an area of willow scrub on the way and picking up 4 adult Night Herons (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) roosting amongst the tangled branches. We arrived at the hide looking over Laguna Trebol and scanned the margins and chatted to some Spanish Birder that were also taking photo's, whilst there I got some more shots of the female Common Stonechat that had been there a week or so ago on my last visit.We also saw three of the introduced Red-knobbed Coots (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), GreyWagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti). Our next stop was at the main hide where I spent some time getting some photographs of a couple of Little Grebes which were in the reeds just in front of the hide, one in good summer plumage the other in full winter colours. Other species seen were Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), 2 more Red-knobbed Coots and 2x Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis). We returned to the small hide that we started at, on the way we looked throught the screening and located a female Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca) and a male Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina). At the hide we could still hear the Warbler but again we did not see it so after a while we decided to head down the road and check a small pool on the side of the Golf Course. Over the pool I had my first Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) of the year which was mixed in with a good sized flock of Crag Martins. A little further on we had a most unexpected Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla) which showed well in a small Pittosporum bush.On the beach we saw several more Northern Gannets and a couple of Balearic Shearwaters which landed on the sea. We headed back towards the car checking another pool on the course on the way but this produced nothing new.
We then started to make our way home via the agricultural areas near Charca but again we added nothing new there so we made our way back to Granada and then I headed towards home. I took the short cut from the Motorway across through Mesia and over the fields, just after turning on to the first track I picked up a flock of Common Waxbills (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild) which were feeding on weeds near a couple of new pools dug out in the fields. When they went up I counted 37 birds but missed a fewso I guess that there were somewhere between 40 and 45 birds in the flock, before I got home I also so saw 55+
Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), 120+ Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus).
Thanks for a cracking day Juan, see you soon. Photographs from the top: Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Lesser Black-backed Gull (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Red-knobbed Coots (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata), Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca), Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Common Waxbills (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild).










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