Sunday, 26 October 2014

Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

A few hours birding on the local patch with Manuel Cayuela López from Zaragoza area.

I started the morning by having a look at the fields which are favoured by the Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) flock but the area was surrounded by several gun totting hunters who as far as I could see were blasting branches of Asparagus plants but hitting little else. I had a quick scan of the area but only saw Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and several Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) which were disappearing in to the distance. I moved on around to the far side of the town and out on to the Mesia fields but this was where I made the big mistake of the day by parking at the start of the ditch where I have seen a Jack Snipe (Agachadiza Chica / Lymnocriptes minimus) several times in the last week or so to set up the camera which was still on the back seat in a rucksack. As I stopped I glanced down in to the ditch and there right in full view was the Snipe, I reached over got the bag and started to grab the bits I needed and just as I was ready and I pointed the camera out of the window the bird flushed and dropped down in to the ditch 20 meters or so further on but into a dense patch of reeds. I again approched the spot but it flew off and dropped into the smalled ditch which crosses the fields and out of sight. I checked the rest of the ditch, fields and the two small pools where I found a fine male Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula). 
I next moved over towards the river and checked the fields and pylons in the area and soon added Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), 40+ Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), my first Song Thrushes (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) of the winter, Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), a couple of Common Starlings (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulg aris) in a mixed flock with Spotless and a single Stock Dove (Paloma Zurita / Columba oenas) which were all feeding on a newly ploughed field. 
I next checked out the other end of the river which had recently been dredged so I did not expect to find much but did manage to add a Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), a calling Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) which was perched on a concrete well top.
As I was returning along this track when Manuel gave me a ring and we met a few minutes later down by the ditch where the Jack Snipe had been earlier. We checked the area and had a couple of brief views of the Jack, a couple of Green Sandpipers, Bluethroat, Kingfisher, Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and then the bigest surprise two Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix) which flushed up from the edge of a Lucerne field as we checked the far ditch. We finished off at this spot and went to check the fields
 along the river but we did not see any thing new here so we checked the fields again for the Bustards but there were still hunters there so we checked another track out in to an area of Lucerne fields and found just a dozen of the scattered Little Bustard flock. Our next stop was up at the house and then we made our way back to Manuels car and both made our way off after a good morning.  51 species on the local patch, not back in just 3 hours.

Photographs from the top: Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and a small group of the flocks of Woodpigeons (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) seen during the morning.

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