Saturday 3 January 2015

Sierra Nevada and Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

A day trying to find a bit of snow amongst the hordes of people.

Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica).
Jayne, Sue, Sam and I set off up the Sierra to have a snowball fight but we struggled to find any snow at the lower levels. Most of the snow down low around the ski resort was the man made stuff on the runs, eventually we found a patch in a small valley where there was enough for half an hours entertainment for Sam. 
The snowballers.
Species seen on the way up and at around 2400 meters included Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Coal Tits (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica) plus a couple of butterfly species, Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).
The ski Resort.
After calling and having some thing to eat on the way down we headed home, once we were there I dropped back down to the supermarket in Huétor via the fields where I added Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Water (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta) and Meadow Pipits (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) to the day list.
Sam enjoying his lolly on the way down.

Thursday 1 January 2015

Alhama de Granada, Granada Province.

New Years Day walk. 

The tapa's in the bar in Alhama.
Jayne, Sue, Sam and I set off towards Alhama de Granada with friends Allan and Lesley following us in their own car. On our way down I started the year list off with Common (Urraca / Pica pica) and Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
Jayne and Sue.
Once we reached the spot for the start of the walk we went and had a coffee near the Pantaneta de Alhama, later I had a look over the pool picking up Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo).
The Church in Alhama from down in the Gorge.
From the lake the group walked along the Alhama gorge throught the woods to the town of Alhama de Granada where we had a drink before returning along the same track.
Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).
During the walk I recorded several nice species including Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Red Squirrel (Ardilla común / Sclurus vulgaris) and a single Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria).
Looking back down the Valley.
Once back at the pool we all went into the nearby bar and had a good lunch before heading off home.

Some of the Highlights from 2014

Best year yet for Loja / Granada Wildlife.

Third place in the bird catigory goes to Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin (Alzacola / Cercotrichas galactotes), locally a very rare species. We have just one site in the area but the birds showed well and posed beautifully for the Camera.
Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin (Alzacola / Cercotrichas galactotes).

In second came the stunning Little Swifts (Vencejo Moro / Apus affinis) which we saw during the very successful spring tour in Western Andalucia, these were a Spanish lifer (seen in UK and Morocco before).
Little Swift (Vencejo Moro / Apus affinis).
Little Swift (Vencejo Moro / Apus affinis).
Bird of the year for me was not actually a lifer but a rare and difficult to see species which I spent a superb hour and a half watching at Padul Wetland near Granada. This Baillon's Crake (Polluela Chica / Porzana pusilla) performed in the smelly ditch and showed down to less than a meter for a lot of the time, too close to focus on.
Baillon's Crake (Polluela Chica / Porzana pusilla).
Baillon's Crake (Polluela Chica / Porzana pusilla).
Dargonflies featured well in 2014 with a couple of tour dedecated to the superb insects. In third came the stunning Orange-spotted Emerald (Oxygastra curtisii) with several insects being see during a tour at the end of May.
Orange-spotted Emerald (Oxygastra curtisii).
Orange-spotted Emerald (Oxygastra curtisii).
In second and I can not believe it's only in second came the amazing Splendid Cruiser (Macromia splendens) which lead Steve Jones and I a merry dance back in May. A super rare species which we were lucky enought to get some shots of after a lot of hard work.
Splendid Cruiser (Macromia splendens).

Top slot for the Dragons goes to a species I had heard of but never expected to see, the Green Hooktail (Paragomphus genei). Thanks must go to Fernando Enrique Navarrete for showing us this stunning species.
Green Hooktail (Paragomphus genei).
Green Hooktail (Paragomphus genei).

Several days tours also targeted Butterflies with some very interesting species being seen including.
Apollo (Apolo / Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis).

Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes).

 Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina).

Berger's Clouded Yellow (Colias de Berger / Colias alfacariensis).
Orchids were also seen on several of the tours with a couple of dedecated multi-day tours going further afield in to Malaga and Cadiz Provinces.
Dark Spider Orchid (Ophrys incubacea).
Man Orchid (Orchis anthropophora).
Algerian Butterfly Orchid (plantanthera algeriensis).
Bumblebee Orchid (Orquídea abejorro / Ophrys bombyliflora).
Wild Flowers were seen in good numbers including several of the very rare and endemic Sierra Nevada species. 
Nevada House Leek (Sempervivum minutum).

 Alpine Gentian (Gentiana alpina).

Aquilegia nevadensis.

Linaria glacialis.

Wednesday 31 December 2014

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

Last day for the year list.

Sue, Sam, Jayne and I headed up the Sierra de Loja, driving straight over to the far side of Charca del Negro where we checked the crags and hawthorn bushes for birds. 
On the way we saw a very nice male Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
As soon as we arrived amongst the hawthorns we had good numbers of Ring Ouzels ( Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus), Blackbirds (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), 3+ Redwings (Zorzal Alirrojo / Turdus illacus) and the biggest surprise was a single Fieldfare (Zorzal Real / Turdus pilaris) which flew calling from the trees up into the crags and out of sight.
We had a walk along the track and counted 20 / 30 Ring Ouzels, Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and 2x Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia). We parked and tried to get some shots of the Ouzels but managed just a distant shot. Whilst we were in the car Sue had views of the Fieldfare but I missed it this time.
We started to move back down the hill but called in at the Goat / Fossel Cave and took some shot of the Icicles which were coming down from the roof of the cave. In the same area we had a single Alpine Accentor (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis), two more Black Wheatears, more Rock Buntings and Meadow Pipits (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis).

We next stopped at the pools and had a look at the nearby crags but we did not add anything new but the views were superb.
We dropped down to the lower slopes seeing Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) and a fine Red Squirrel (Ardilla común / Sclurus vulgaris).
From here we went home and then on to friends Lesley and Allans for a few hours get to gether for the New Year.