Friday 21 March 2014

Near Padul, Granada Province.

A couple of hours Birding and Orchid hunting with Juan. 

Fan-lipped Orchid (Orchis collina).
Fan-lipped Orchid (Orchis collina).
Juan Pérez Contreras and I headed out in his 4x4 to a site not too far from Padul where in the past we have both seen the locally rare, possible close to extinct in the Province Dupont's Lark (Alondra Ricotí / Chersophilus duponti).
The entrance track was evry bit as bad as Juan thought it would be which was why he suggested we should take his car and not mine. As we drove up the track we saw Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and the first of many Fan-lipped Orchids (Orchis collina) this one was the standard deep pink colour.
We parked the car and walked one of the tracks off to the western side of the site and did a loop around to a gorge on the eastern side before returning to the car.
On the first stretch we saw lots more of spikes of the common Fan-lipped Orchid, a couple of the eaqually common Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum robertiana) and several Common Grape Hyacinths (Muscari neglectum).
During the walk several different colour variaties of the Fan-lipped including an almost gold coloured plant. There were also a few butterfly species in the area including Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus), Province Hairstreak (Cardenillo / Tomares ballus), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice).
Fan-lipped Orchids (Orchis collina).
Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum robertiana).
As we reached the far side of the site we saw a fine male Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) which was quickly followed by a male of the Northern (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) relative.
We dropped down in to a small gorge at the furthest part of the area and then made our way back to the car passed a small pool which was full of Natterjack Toad (Sapo Corredor / Bufo calamita) tadpoles. Birds along this stretch included Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
On the last stretch of the walk we picked up the most fantastic smells as a large flock of goats moved through the herbs.

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

Curse of the Jack Snipe !!!!

I started to catch up on a few jobs and needed to pop down to Huétor Tajar for some bits, whilst I was at the builders yard on the edge of town I could hear a couple of Great Spotted Cuckoo's (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) calling from the trees at the back of the yard. On my way back home I had a very slow drive along side the irrigation channel where Juan Pérez Contreras, Steve Powell and I had seen the Jack Snipe (Agachadiza Chica / Lymnocriptes minimus) on several occasions over the last few weeks. A as I had not got my bins or the camera you could almost guarantee that the dam thing would be there and it was, sat right out in the open showing beautifully. It was great to sit and watch this uncommon bird but as soon as I could drag myself away I shot home and got the camera and returned as quickly as I could. I arrived back just after a young lady had walked along the edge of the ditch with loud music playing from her mobile phone so I was not optimistic and my fears were right as I could not find the bird. To make things worse as I approached the spot a small Crake species, either Little or Baillon's disappeared into a large clump of reeds and did not reappear. The bird was far more patient or just had less jobs to catch up with than I did and remained hidden.After a short while I made my way home seeing Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) on the way.

Monday 17 March 2014

Huétor Fields, Granada Province and Laguna Herrera, Malaga Province.

A quick scan of the lagoon and fields.

Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
I needed a few things from Huétorso I spent a short while out on the fields and picked up a couple of year ticks, a single Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) and on the river a couple of Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius). Other species included Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
Jayne and I headed over to Antequera to have a look at the garden centres and whilst we were there we popped in to Laguna Herrera to check what was about.
On the track in we saw a nice male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) hunting low over the crop fields, a couple of Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) sitting on the tops of telegraph poles and several Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) hovering over the same fields.
Once on the track we flushed up several Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) from the ditch along with the first of several Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus).
On the lagoon there were lots of roosting Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), a few Black-heads (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and a couple of Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), along with a small flock of Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), half a dozen Shelducks (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), several Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), more Green Sandpipers and a single first for the year Wood Sandpiper (Andarrios Bastardo / Tringa glareola).
Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
We then moved on around the fields and added Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and a couple of Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).

Sunday 16 March 2014

Charca de Suarez and surrounding fields, La Malaha and Ventas de Huelma areas, Granada Province.

A morning down on the coast and an afternoon on the fields.

Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos).
I got up and out early to travel up to Granada to meet Juan Perez for a days birding, on the way I saw Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo).
I picked Juan up from his address on the outskirts of Granada and we headed off down to Charca de Suarez on the Granada Coast near Motril.
Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca).
The reserve was not open when we arrived so we checked out the agricultural area to the north west, as soon as we arrived a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) flashed across the road and when parked we could hear a calling Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix) in amongst the sugar cane and pampas grass plants.
Sedge Warbler (Carricerin Común / Acrocephalus schoenobaenus).
Next came a fine male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), several noisy Zitting Cisticola's (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), fly over Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata).
Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa).
A little further on we watched a couple of mating Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops) at it on a fence, heard a couple more Common Quail and added Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), a calling female Red Avadavat (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) to the list. 
Stripe-less Tree Frog (Hyla meridionalis).
After a while we went around to the reserve and met Manu the warden and headed for the main hide for a quick check there to see what was about on the large pool, out on the water there were a few Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), a female Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis).
On the island there were several Great Cormorants (one of which was ringed), a single Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), a Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago) and around the margins Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio).
Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni).
We moved on around the reserve to Laguna del Taraje where we soon picked up several Sedge Warblers (Carricerin Común / Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) and one of the wintering Moustached Warbler (Carricerin Real / Acrocephalus melanopogon). After some time we both caught a glimpes of a small Crake species as it flashed across a channel in the reedbeds but could not put a name to it at that point, a little later Juan picked up the bird again and was identified as a male Little Crake (Polluela Bastarda / Porzana parva).
Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
We saw the bird breifly a couple more times along with a Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) which was equally elusive flashing betewwen the reeds at speed. Laguna del Lirio was quiet and I only added Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca) and introduction Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata) at Laguna del Trebol.
Between the main hide and the side gate we saw Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Viperine Snake (Culebra Viperina / Natrix maura) and Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa).
We returned to Laguna del Taraje hoping for better views of the Crake but there was no sign of the bird, we did see several Yellow-eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta scripta). 13:00 came around all to quickly and we had to leave the reserve, on our way around to the exit we found a Stripe-less Tree Frog (Hyla meridionalis) on a leaf of the flowering Yellow flag-iris (Iris pseudacorus).
We made our way back up to Granada and I dropped Juan off at his home before heading back via the fields near La Malaha and Ventas de Huelma.
Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
On the way I had great views of a couple of Golden Eagles (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos), several Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).
Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius).
Back on the local patch I finished the list off with Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) and Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) before reaching the house.