Several new species for returning birders Peter and Nick from the UK.
Peter and Nick had arrived at our house back on Saturday before Jayne had left to come down to Malaga to collect me after the 8 day tour of Western Andalucia and this was our first day out and about. We started by headed down along the Rio Vilano and out on to Huetor Fields and quickly started to pick up species as soon as we were clear of the bar including Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus). On the second stretch of the river we checked out the reedbeds and Poplar plantations as we made our way down to the dead end at the railway line, in the area we added Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and a very quick fly through of a Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes) and a female Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) Nick unluckily missed both of these species.
We moved on and made our way through Mesia and along the Motorway service road to Balsa de Rigedor but it was quite quiet and we only added Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) plus more Common Moorhens, Mallards, a Little Egret and lots of Barn Swallows. We then crossed the motorway and headed out on to the agricultural areas nearby but approached from the Northern side through the olives instead ot the normal drive in through the urbanisation, on the way through the olives we picked up Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Garden Warblers (Curruca Mosquitera / Sylvia borin), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) and another Hoopoe. Once we were through the olives we entered the Almond groves and decided to park on an area of rougher ground and almost straight away we heard a Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) which we quickly managed to get views of and this was followed by a pair of Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis). Out on the fields we started to pick up new species including Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), a couple of male Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) and eventually a cracking Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus).
From the fields we dropped down in to the Valley and made a stop in amongst the pine woodlands along the river picking up Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), Nightingale, Sardinian Warbler, Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Spotted Flycatcher, Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla).
We moved a little further along the valley stopping along side the river and having a walk, from the bridge we picked White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Nightingale, House Sparrow, Common Chaffinch, Red-rumped Swallow, European Bee-eater, a roosting Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) and Cetti's Warbler. From the bridge we took a short walk along the irrigation channel adding a dark phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus). We returned to but went passed the car and continued on in to the woods along the road in the opposite direction, along this way we saw a male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and a Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla) which showed well in an open pine tree. We again returned to the car and made our way up to the Embalse just up the road but saw nothing new for the list so we moved on down the valley in to the southern end where we had good views of two more Bonelli's Eagles, Golden Oriole, Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax). Back along the gorge at the Roman bridge two more male Blue-rock Thrushes which showed very well.
We went back up the valley to Cacin and took the road across country to Ventas de Huelma, on the way we saw a pale phase Booted Eagle, European Bee-eater and Red-rumped Swallow.
We then started to make our way back towards the house but added several Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) and a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) to the day list before we got there.
Photographs from the top: Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).