Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Huétor Fields and Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

Some birding on the local patch and then Sierra de Loja but in reverse (no I did not drive backwards all the way).

We started by having a look down on the Western Lucerne field where we got the day list off to a desent start by seeing several Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) and Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Northern Wheatears (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).
From here we drove over to Salar and made our way up the hill from the back road, a way that I have not bothered to do for some time but which proved to be quite productive. Before we started to do the climb we had very nice views of a couple of Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) which were still hanging around, more Spotless Starlings and several House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus). Down on the lower areas in amongst the Olives we picked up a male Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Serins (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and I heard a distant Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis) several times. We continued on climbing steadily all the time until we reached some of the lower rocky areas amongst the goat fields were we saw 3 Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), a nice male Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus).
We reached one of the disused roadside marble quarries and had a short walk in to it and along the main track where we added Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and heard a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) calling from the opposite side of the valley.
Again we moved on up the road and as we came out onto a leveller area near a much larger working quarry we had the first of two immature Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis). we watched these birds but nether came close enough for a desent shot so we moved on and quickly picked up the first of several Spectacled Warblers (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) and Black-eared Wheatears (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica). Near a small group of Hawthorn bushes we located a nice Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla), followed by Subalpine (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) and Orphean Warblers (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis) and another very nice Black-eared Wheatear. Next came Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) and a family group of Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica).
We eventually dropped right down on to the Loja side of the hill and went up the track to the small quarry, parking in the shade of a pine tree and had a late lunch. Ken and I walked up towards the quarry and picke up a couple of Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) on the way along with 70+ Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus),30 or so more Black Kites, Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), a second Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) and Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops). We then dropped down the hill and had amazing views of a roosting Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo) at a new spot for me.
We later headed off up the Motorway and stopped at Laguna de Regidor where we found several Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Barn Swallow, House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) for the bird list and Lesser Emperor (Anax Parthenope), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) and Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum) for the dragons.
It was getting on and quite warm so we headed back in to the house over the fields from the Mesia road adding Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) on the way.

Photographs from the top: Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo), Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis), Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica), Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Lesser Emperor (Anax Parthenope).

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