Saturday 13 December 2014

RAM and Charca de Suarez, Granada Province.

The sea bird survey and a visit to Charca.

Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata).
I met Juan Pérez Contreras near his home on the outskirts of Granada and we headed off down to the coast under an overcast dark sky. We arrived at our seawatch point near Torrenueva and walked up to the top of the sea cliff with a few spits of rain still falling but this soon cleared and we carried out the survey with out it being a problem. We were joined half way through and for the vist to Charca by Fran Espinosa Alemany a ringer from Padul.
Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta).
During the seawatch we recorded good numbers of Balearic Shearwaters (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus), Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), 2x Great Skuas (Págalo Grande / Stercorarius skua), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and Juan picked up 5x Shelducks (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna) passing west but I did not manage to get on to them.
Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio).
Birds closer to hand included Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and on the rocks by the sea as we were leaving we saw a nce male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius).
Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).
We returned to our cars and made our way to the entrance of Charca de Suarez and walked around the reserve in an anti-clockwise direction, near the entrance we packed up Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos).
Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis).
Once we were in the first hide we were seeing lots of Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), a couple of calling Cetti's Warblers (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and a single Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata) from the introdution birds. Between here and the second hide we saw an adult and immature Night Herons (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) having a fly round near there normal day time roost. From the next hidewe saw another three collared Red-knowbbed Coots and the uncollared youngster from this year along with Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio) and Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus). We walked to the next hide picking up a dark phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) which was being mobbed by two Common Kestrels (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) on the way. 
Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo).
From the hide we only added a fine female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) which was hunting the reedbeds. Our next stop was at the main hide, straight away Juan found a female Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca) and its hybird youngster with a Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina) in a small flock of Common Pochards along with a pair of Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera). Other birds seen in this area were Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Red Avadavats (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava).
Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis).
We continued on and had a lookover the new pool adding Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta) and a Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) which Juan saw but I missed it when it darted in to the reeds.
From the last hide on the way round we had great views of a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) and fine wintering male Little Bittern (Avetorillo Común / Ixobrychus minutus).
Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta).
1 o'clock came round quickly and we were soon on our way back up the motorway to Granada, I dropped Juan off and then made my way home via the fields on the local patch boosting the list with
Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) and Common Magpies (Urraca / Pica pica), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) and Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua). During the visit we also heard lots of Stripe-less Tree Frogs (Hyla meridionalis) and saw a couple of Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and Small Whites (Artogeia rapae).

Thursday 11 December 2014

Cologne to Home.

An end to a very nice trip.

We were up for a very early breakfast and again with Jayne reading the very accurate instructions from the IPad we were soon at the car drop off point at the airport where a very nice young lady passed the car as fine on return so we headed in to the departures area where I left Jayne to go and just confirm that the ridiculous €1000 deposit was taken off my credit card with the car hire people. I got to the desk and said that the car was back and that all was well and that I wanted to make sure nothing was still left on the card. The chap said that it takes an hour or so for the keys and the papers to get to him and then he would do it, I was happy with that but as we are always told, if you are not happy with some thing then let them know so I asked to see the manager of the desk but was told that he did not get in until 10:00 so I explained why I was not happy with the events when I collected the car and was amazed by the reponce I got. When I had finished the chap said well it sounds as though you will not use EASYCAR or us (THRIFTY) again anyway so why should we give a shit and with that he got up and walked off and left me and another customer standing there amazed.
Anyway after that we went through security and caught our flight home and the drove back to Loja all with out further incident.

The trip had been great, both Hotels had been very good and served our perposes well. The German people were very nice and we enjoyed everything about the trip apart from the Car Hire company.
Would I return to this part of Germany at this time of year? now that I have seen the Christmas Markets probably not but only because it was so dam cold. I would like to go back again at a warmer time of the year though.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Cologne City.

A full day around the city of Cologne.

We spent the whole of our last day around the City visiting several Markets again, the rather over priced Chocolate Museum, a very interesting Purfume Museum, the bridge of locks and other bits before again heading back to the hotel to pack and get ready for our trip back to Spain and some relative warmth.
I did again see a few bits in the city and along the Rhine including Common  (Gaviota Cana /Larus canus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Herring Gulls (Gaviota Argéntea Europea / Larus argentatus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and a Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) around the Cathedral towers.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Bergen to Cologne (Koln), Germany.

A long drive back to Cologne but some new markets.

Drinks at the Market.
After saying bye to Alan last night Jayne and I packed up, had an early breakfast and set off for the last two days of our trip which were to be in Cologne.
Food Store.
The drive went well again following directions from Jayne's IPad we were at our hotel just out side the city in just under four hours which included a stop and a traffic jam. During the journey I did see a few bits including a single Great White Egret (Garceta Grande / Egretta alba) on the side of the motorway around Hanover, Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus).
Around the Market.
We unpacked again and were then soon out and on the tram up in to the city centre which took about 15 / 20 minutes from the hotel. right by where we got off the tram there was the Gnomes Market which had a very large Ice skating rink as the main feature but also loads of food and nicnac stalls.
During the afternoon and evening we found three more markets in the city and by the time we had finished these we were well done in so headed back to the hotel on the tram again.

Monday 8 December 2014

Celle, Lower Saxony, Germany.

Back down to Celle Market and town.

As Alan was working Jayne and I headed back down to the town of Celle where we had had a nice evening back on Friday. We did the Market again and spent some time around the shops in this very picturesque town.

Sunday 7 December 2014

Near the Hotel and Bergen / Belson POW / Concentration Camp, Germany.

A day of mixed feelings.

I started the day with a short walk from the hotel through a small wooded area where I picked up Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes).
Later we picked up Al and headed just down the road to the Bergen / Belsen Monument where we walked around the grounds, wooldlands and remains of the POW / Concentration Camp, this was a couple of hours of mixed emotions. After the grounds we spent another three hours in the documentation centre, this was a place that really opened your eyes to how bad the human race can be.
In the grounds and woodlands I recorded several very nice species including an immature White-tailed Eagle (Pigargo Europeo /Haliaeetus albicilla), Black Woodpecker (Picamaderos Negro / Dryocopus martius), Great Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Norteño / Lanius excubitor), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Fieldfare (Zorzal Real / Turdus pilaris), Goldcrest (Reyezuelo Sencillo / Regulus regulus), Marsh Tit (Carbonero Palustre /Parus palustris), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea).