Thursday, 3 July 2014

Balsa de Regidor and Moraleda Fields, Granada Province.

A few hours birding with friend Andy Mountford from the UK.

Unfortunately Andy and I only got to spend a few hours birding during his trip to Spain this year but we saw a few really nice species whilst we were out. We started off from the house and headed out to the small pool on the side of the A92 called Balsa de Regidor and found a few pairs of Common Pochards (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina) with young, along with at least 2 families of Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and several Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos). Other breeding species on and around the lake were Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto). Due to the wind dragonflies were scarce but we did see several Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), along with a few Broad Scarlets (Crocothemis erythraea), Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii) and a single Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum). In the water and on the dead trees around the margins we saw lots of Stripe-necked Terrapins (Mauremys leprosa) and Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi).
We moved on through Moraleda and out on to the nearby fields taking a roadside track through a large area of Almond Groves. Just after entering the grove we located a beautiful adult Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) followed a few seconds later by an immature bird both of which flew off before I could get the camera pointed in the right direction. We continued on through the trees to a field on the far side, on the way through we saw Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis) and Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops). 
From here instead of going back to the road we crossed a harvested field to the track near the disused cortijo seeing the Rollers again on the way across as well as Pallid (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis). Once we were up on the track we passed the cortijo and dropped down towards the Solar Panel farm picking up the Rollers yet again but this time they sat a little longer and allowed a couple of shots, on the way we also saw Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina). At the far side of the site we picked up what we were guess was a second family of Rollers in the Almonds along with Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis). We dropped down out of the site through yet more Almond trees and parked on the track side and had a walk through one of the groves, on the way we saw two Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), a Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) and three cracking Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which were the main targets of the morning. During the walk we saw a few butterflies including Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera) and  Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus).
We returned back to the car and headed back to the house for some lunch before Andy continued on down to Malaga Province for the last few days of his Spanish break. 

Photographs from the top: Immature Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus), adult Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) and Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).

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