Monday, 12 January 2015

Huétor Fields and a quite Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

A days birding with Naomi and Jim from Maine in the US.

We started the day by having a short walk along the Drainage and Irrigation ditches to the North of Huétor Tajar and started the days list off with Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis). We checked the two small pools and the ditch which runs out across the field and added Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), a Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) which show uncharacteristically well and even flew towards us and posed, Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and a very uncooperative Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) which showed well but only giving back on views as it moved along the irrigation channel heading straight for a rather large moggy which was sat in the grass.
From here we moved a short distance to the banks of the Rio Vilano and soon found a single Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Grey Wagtails (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and a good flock of Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) which showed well in the fields on the far side of the Rio. Again we moved on and made our way over to the far side of the area picking up Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) on the way.
On the far side of the site we were looking for the smaller than usual wintering flock of Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) but we could not locate them so we moved straight away and went around to the fields nearer to the town and had cracking views of a good number of Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus). We then tried another spot where the Bustards can be found if they have been flushed off their favourate fields and this time we found 40+ birds in an Lucerne field near the railway. On another fields we found 20+ Golden Plovers (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaria), several Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis). On the way off the fields we stopped and checked a semi ruined house and saw two Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) on the roof before they went in to hiding.
Our next spot was a few KM back towards Granada on the fields near Moraleda, we started on the first track but things were very very quiet and this theme continued right around this area which is usually very active with Lark species if nothing else but not today. All we recorded here were a few Crested Larks, Common Magpies, Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and a third Little Owl.
We dropped down into the Cacín Valley and checked an area of woodland along side the river where we added Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus), 3x Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) heard only, fly over Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and our only butterflies of the day a couple of Small Whites (Artogeia rapae).
We continued on a bit and parked by the Cacín again and had another walk along the river, this time we found Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) the latter two species were heard only.
Next we called in at the Embalse de Cacín where we ate out lunch whilst watching Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis).
We continued on down the valley into the gorge but we saw very little so we continued on down to the Embalse de Bermejalis where there was nothing on the water so we checked the pines and had good views of several Redwings (Zorzal Alirrojo / Turdus illacus), better views of Long-tailed Tits, and some very good views of male and female Common Crossbills collecting moss off a small waterfall for their nest. Down by the lake we did not see anything at all but Naomi and Jin had a look at a dolmen there before we moved on a short distance up the road and had nice views of an Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo) sat in a hole in a cliff. We then made our way back towards Granada past La Malaha only seeing a flock of Skylarks on the way.

Photographs from the top: Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus).

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