Saturday, 26 April 2014

Malaga to Vejer del la Frontera, Malaga and Cadiz Provinces.

GRANADA WILDLIFES spring tour.
Day One.

I met up with Judy, Lynda, John, Nick and Mike in Malaga and we all started the tour with a drink and lunch in a bar not too far from Guadalhorce (after the groups sleepless night a coffee was needed to start the eyes again) where we started the list off with Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
Our first proper birding stop was at the mouth of the Guadalhorce on the Guadalmar urbanisation, once we were up on the back we soon picked up a couple of Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), two Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), a Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and a very smart Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus) which was feeding up and down the river mouth. We then walked out to the sea watch poing and scanned a very quiet patch of water but we did add Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), a single Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) and lots of  Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis). After a while we took a walk a short way back along the river, in the reeds along the margins we saw a single Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), several Eurasian Coot  (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and one of many Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus). Along the river bank we also had Green-Striped White (Euchloe belemia), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris) and a couple of Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
We did not go onto the main reserve due to the number of car robberies, so we headed off down the coast via the three toll roads to Los Barrios marshes and the Rio Palmones. We checked the marshes from a nearby minor road but they were generally quite quiet but we did see several Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) and a few Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) on the ground but the real action was in the air with good numbers of Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) passing through, along with several Short-toed  (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) and Booted Eagles (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) and Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus). In this area we also saw the first Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) for the trip.
Around on the other side of the motorway amongst the fields and along the river we picked up more of the above and added Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) heard only and a fine male Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) which was perched on a fence near the road. Monarch (Danaus plexippus) and Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) were also added to the Butterfly list. In the same area we identified a few wildflowers including Blue Alkanet (Anchusa azurea), Fedia (Fedia cornucopiae), Field marigold (Calendula arvensis), Spanish Thistle (Scolymus hispanicus), White Mignonette (Reseda Alba), Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), Hoary Cress (Cardaria draba), Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum carinatum var discolor) and Eruca (Eruca sativa).
From here we then headed up to Vejer de la Frontera to the Hotel El Paso, a very nice little place on the side of the main road below the town. We settled in and some of us went for a short walk down to the cliffs nearby to view the breeding colony of Bald Ibis (Ibis Eremita / Geronticus eremita). We counted 12 nest on the ledges and also saw good numbers of Cattle Egrets coming in to roost and saw a couple of dozen Jackdaws on the same cliffs before heading back and having a nice evening meal at the hotel cooked by the owner Sandra.
Over night some of the group head both Tawny (Cárabo Común / Strix aluco) and Scop's Owls (Autillo Europeo / Otus scops).

Photographs from the top: Bald Ibis (Ibis Eremita / Geronticus eremita), Green-Striped White (Euchloe belemia), Crown Daisy (Chrysanthemum carinatum var discolor) and Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).

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