A trip over to Grazalema to see Sue and Sam (Day one).
Jayne and I started our day a little later than planned but hit the road heading for Grazalema via Laguna Dulce and Setenil on the way. As we travelled west towards Campillos we saw a few bits from the motorway including Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) around Huétor and Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus) and Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna) on some flooded fields near Coloniade Santa Ana. Once at the pool I went and checked the area from the hide, the wind was keeping most of the birds on the near shore which made things a little easier than the last time I visited. The commonest species by far was the Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), several hundred of them were being herded around between the Tamarisks and reeds by several immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus). Also in amongst all the Coot I located several Red-crested (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) and Common Pochards (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), 6x Tufted Ducks (Porrón Monudo / Aythya fuligula), a pair of Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), a small number of White-headed Ducks (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Little (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Great Crested (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata) and Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo). Other species seen and heard here were Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Purple Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis).
From here we headed on past Campillos to Setenil, one of the many white villages in the area and one which I had until now not visited. By the time Jayne and I had spent a very pleasant couple of hours we wanted to move there it was that nice. Whilst we were walking around the was the continous calling of Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) over head and every time I looked up to see them there were several Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) passing through. Also in the town we saw Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula). We continued on towards Sue's put called in at the Roman Ruins of Acinipo where we walked up to the main ampitheatre and around the two other sites, it was interesting but as with many speacial site in Spain the fencing and other bits had seen better days. Birds here included Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax) and Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus).
We continued on again and stopped for some lunch at a place just outside Montecorto on the side of the main Ronda to Sevilla road before heading to Sue's house.
We arrived and spent some time chatting with Sue and playing games with Sambefore we all headed out to an area nearby to look for Amphibians. We parked at Campobuches and walked along the river checking some small pools on the way where we found loads of Natterjack Toad (Sapo Corredor / Bufo calamita) tadpoles. A little further on we saw lots of spawn in another pool and a freshly dead female toad. We continued on a short way and found one of the plants I have very much hoped to see on this visit, the Hoop-petticoat Daffodil (Narcissus bulbocodium). In the same area we were checked out by a nice Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychlorus) which sat and sunned itself a few times between energetic flights. After checking a few slower moving pools in the river and only turning up several Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi) we retraced out steps but stayed slightly higher up the bank out of the swampy bits and found several flowering Narcissus cerrolazae (formaly fernandesii), Romulea bulbocodium, Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) and Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea). Birds in the area included Great Spotted (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and Green Woodpeckers (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala). Well into the evening we made our way back up to the house, had a nice meal and relaxed with Sue and Sam.
Photographs from the top: Red-crested Pochards (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), Jayne and Sam at Campobuches, Hoop-petticoat Daffodil (Narcissus bulbocodium), Sam at Campobuches and the Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychlorus).