Saturday 25 January 2014

Charca de Suarez and Padul Wetlands, Granada Province.

A day around the two wetlands.

Moustached Warbler (Carricerin Real / Acrocephalus melanopogon).
I set off from home and made my way down to the coast at Motril to spend the morning birding at Charca de Suarez, I was a little early so I checked out the wet areas to the north west of the main reserve. Once on the small back road I parked and scanned the nearby fields and soon started the day list off with a fine male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), several Red Avadavats (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and 2 Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
I moved a little further along the road and again parked on the verge, as I got out of the car a Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago) flushed up from a small patch of water nearby, three more Marsh Harriers and a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) were all in air and a cracking male Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) scolded me from the walls of a nerby ruin. At the Junction at the far end of the track I made a third stop before I headed in to the resever and added Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Greenfinch  (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo).
Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio).
I headed around towards the entrance but I was still a bit early so I had a walk out on to the beach and checked the small channel that runs from Charca and had a look out to sea. In the channel I located a single Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) and on the sea several Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean  (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and more Yellow-legged Gulls before returning to the gates where Pepe was just taking the padlock off. I went round the reserve in an anti-clockwisedirection checking the hides as I went, from the first I saw Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Gadwall  (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis).
White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
I continued on around to the second hide which looks over Laguna Trebol and started to check through the birds, I soon added Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), three of the intrduction Red-knobbed Coots (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) to the growing day list. John and Jenny Wainwright then joined me in the hide and after a while we all had very nice views of a Moustached Warbler (Carricerin Real / Acrocephalus melanopogon) which was moving along the iris beds just above the water, a cracking bird.
Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica).
After a while I decided to move around to the hide over looking Laguna Taraje via the main hide where I had a very quick scan over the pool seeing Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and two more of the Red-Knobbed Coots. Once in the hide at Taraje I was lucky to have views of a second Moustached Warbler which was again moving along the reedbeds just above the water, along with a fine male Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina). After a while I picked up the warbler again but this time on the near shore just to the right of the hide, as I was watching it it stared to called and to my surprise it was answered by a second bird on the opposite side of the pool in the reeds, I scanned the reeds and soon found this bird as well.
Whilst on the reserve I also heard lots of Stripe-less Tree Frog (Hyla meridionalis) and saw a single Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) butterfly. A little later I was again joined by John and Jenny and then by Steve Powell and his wife Elena and we all had sightings of the two birds and I managed to get some OKish shots of the one. Time had rattled on and it was 13:00 and time for the reserve to shut so we all made our way back to the cars and Steve, Elena and I headed North to Padul, a site the they had not visited before.
Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
Just as we started to head towards Granada we had a Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus) over the motorway and less nice were the roadkill bodies of both Red Fox (Vulpus vulpus) and Beech Martin (Martes foina). Unfortunutilly it was much windier at this site which kept the birds down and we did not see agreat deal but at least they found out where it was. On our quick tour we did see several Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta) along the sticking Channel but little else new so Steve and Elena headed off and I went and sat on the edge of the reeds on the reserve with my camera and got some shots of the Water Pipits and a nice male Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica).
Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
I also heard a couple of Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) and saw Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) before leaving. On the way home I was delayed by an immature Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) which was being heavily hasseled by dozens of Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula). Nearer to home I finished the day with some regular birds on the local patch including Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) and Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus).

Thursday 23 January 2014

Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

A walk around the local patch which produce a couple of new patch species.

Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus).
Jayne was heading out to Trabuco for the weekly craft group meeting and dropped me off at the bar at the bottom of the road (sounds bad!!) from where I started a walk around the local patch. I walked along the Rio Vilano following the track on the southern bank to the road and then continued on the second track down to the railway bridge.
Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus).
Along the first section I had good views of a couple of Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), both White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Grey Wagtails (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata).
Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
Once over the road I checked out the poplar plantations and reedbeds on the far bank and soon caught up with a large flock of around 45 or so Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis). As I approached the railway bridge a group of 10 birds flitted up in front of me and crossed the rio and settled in a scrubby bush giving me the chance to ID them and the turned out to be a flock of Common Waxbills (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild) which was a new species for the local patch and with in seconds the second patch tick appeared in the shape of a Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) which skulked around under the dead Iris leaves.
Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita).
I continued on to the end of the track before turning around and retracing my steps back to the bar, on the way I added Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) in a Rush filled ditch along with a couple of Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), also seen was a Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) which was roosting in a lone poplar tree along the track side, several Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and just as I reached the bar I picked up a Merlin (Esmerejón / Falco columbarius) sat out on a large clod of soil in the field on the far side of the river.
Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo).
On the return journey I did call in for a swift beer before returning to the house along side the barranco, on the way I saw Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos).

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Refugio de Juanar, Malaga Province.

A Spanish lifer and a couple of other nice species.

Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus).
After getting some information from Micky Smith whilst we were at Cabo de Gata last week I decided to go over to Juanar to try and see a pair of Bullfinches (Camachuelo Común / Pyrrhula pyrrhula) which are regularly seen during the winter at the site. I arrived and followed the directions to the spot and sat down on a rock and waited, as the morning warmed up more and more birds started to move around in the woods including Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Crested  (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) and in the air there were several Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris).
I sat on the rock until most of the lower half of my body has lost all feeling so I though that its time to go for a walk further up the valley, in an area of brambles higher I heard and eventually had nice views of a Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis), in the same area I saw Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), a fly over Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus). After having a good look around I headed back down to the poodle where I had bee sat and as I approached a cracking female Bullfinch flew up from the water and landed in a nearby spaling before moring into cover. I could hear a second bird some way off and guessed that it was probably the male but I could not locate it.
I again sat on the rock and waited, this time I had very nice views of a Crested Tit that came down to drink just a meter or so in front on me but the finches did not return so I again went for a walk up the valley and soon heard them calling ahead of me, this time I got good views of both birds. The male was stunning but stayed in the darker bushes and always avoided the camera. The site was in deep woodland so photography was not easy and I did not get any decent shots.

Monday 20 January 2014

Laguna Dulce, Malaga Province.

An unexpected run to Laguna Dulce. 

Eurasian Curlew (Zaoaito Real / Numenius arquata).
We popped over to Antequera to get a few bits and whilst there we had a quick look at Laguna Herrera but found that it was pretty much dry except for a couple of damp patches where there were quite a few roosting Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) but nothing else so we headed off to Laguna Dulce.
Eurasian Coots (Focha Común / Fulica atrs).
By the time we got there it was quite cold, raining and windy so I was not to surprise to find that there was not a lot on the water except for two large rafts of Eurasian Coots (Focha Común / Fulica atrs), whilst I was watching there flocks I noticed that they were being constantly harassed by several immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) possibly getting some practise in at mugging of the species. Also out on the water there were a few Little (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) but little else. The only ducks to be seen were a few Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Northern Shovelers (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata) in the left hand corner.
Common Cranes (Grulla Común / Grus grus).
The commonest species by far were the several hundred Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) which were feed low over the water along with at least three House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica). On the fields on the far side of the pool there were 150 or so Common Cranes (Grulla Común / Grus grus) feeding on a newly ploughed field. 
Jayne and I then had a look in the leather shop just down the road before taking the track out to the back of the lagoon to try and get better views of the Cranes and see what was on the far shore line. As soon as we got round there I picked up a Eurasian Curlew (Zaoaito Real / Numenius arquata) which was feeding amongst a small flock waders including several Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), 3x Black-tailed Godwits (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa), 9x Dunlins (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), a Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and a couple of Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) all of which were sheltering from the wind behind the reeds.
Eurasian Curlew (Zaoaito Real / Numenius arquata).
We continued on up the track a short way and had some better views of the Cranes before turning around as the track was getting progressively muddier. From here we headed back to Antequera picking up a female Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus). After a visit to the shopping centre we made our way home.