Saturday, 2 August 2014

RAM and Charca de Suarez, Granada Province.

A good day down on the coast in good company.

After a lapse of several months Juan Pérez Contreras and I headed down to Cabo Sacratif where we spent some time carrying out a sea watch, during this time we saw good numbers of Cory's Shearwaters (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea), a couple of Balearic Shearwaters (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus), Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Sandwich Terns (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) all out at sea but we did not record a single Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus). I know that the vast majority are breeding further North but we usually still see a few immatures and none breeding adults even at this time of the year. Other birds seen whilst we were on site included Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula). 10 minutes before we were due to finish the survey Jesús Díez Castro arrived, it had been quite a while since we had last met so it was good to have a chat here and later around Charca. Jesus writes the blog El Blog de Phyllobates which is a very good and interesting site about birding and bird identification in Spanish containing some superb shots taken by Jesus.
We finished the sea watch and headed along the coast to Charca de Suarez, we eventually found somewhere to park and walked back to the entrance where we started off by walking up the out side track to check the new pool near the visitors centre, on the way we picked up Red Avadavat (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Cattle Egret, Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata) and a couple of Common Kestrels. On the pool we found a couple of Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), 4x Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), a group of 4 or 5 Mediterranean Gulls which had been pushed inland by the high winds along with plenty of Yellow-legs as well. Along the margins there were a couple of female type Scarlet Darters (Crocothemis erythraea), a very nice male Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria), several Iberian Blue-tails (Ischnura graellsii) and a couple of Small Red-eyed Damselflies (Erythromma viridulum) on the floating mats of weed.
We moved on around towards the main hide over looking Laguna de las Aneas, on the way we saw several more Spotted Flycatchers, Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica). From the hide a male Little Bittern (Avetorillo Común / Ixobrychus minutus) was seen flying along the back reed beds and out on the water there were Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Purple Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), a female Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca) and possible some of here young hybrids with Common Pochard. Also seen here were Blue / Common (Anax imperator) and Lesser Emperors (Anax parthenope), Iberian Water Frog (Rana Común / Rana Perezi), Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa), Viperine Snake (Culebra Viperina / Natrix maura), Black-winged Stilts, Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis).
We moved on around to the hide ove looking Laguna del Trebol, here we had views of 4 of the introduced Red-knobbed Coots (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata) two adults, last years and this years youngsters along with Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and a female Blue / CommonEmperor which sat for ages in reeds next to the hide. After a while I had a walk around to the next hide, Jesus joined me for a short way before headed back to Granada and Juan stayed chatting in the hide for a while. On my way around I saw nothing new until I reached the small hide at Laguna Taraje where on the far side of the pool I had fleeting views of a Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) as it flashed between reed clumps. Here I also saw another male Little Bittern, Kingfisher and Purple Swamp-hen. Juan caught me up and we stayed in the hide for a while but I then went on back to the new pool to see if the dragons were going to allow me to get some shot but they were all hiding from the wind except for a nice Scarlet Darter and a female Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma). I did pick up a nice group of 3 passing Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), a cracking adult Audouin's Gull, Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and several Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) butterflies before I returned to the hide where Juan had caught up with the Water Rail. By now it was time to leave as the reserve closes at 13:00, so we returned to the car and headed back to Granada.

Photographs from the top: Immature Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), 2x Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Cattle (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) and Epaulet Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysostigma).

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