A days birding with Pernille & Graham.
I met Pernille and Graham at the Cortijo de Tajar and we went and had a look on the fields just to the North of the town where we were checking an area of fields for the wintering flock of Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) but all we found were several Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
We continued on around the site to a small partly disused Cortijo where we had very nice views of a pair of Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) which showed very nicely. Just a short way along a nearby track we located the flock of around 50 or so Little Bustards mixed in with around 40 Golden Plover (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaria), a few Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
Again we moved on after getting good views of all the species and made our way over to the far side of the Arroyo Vilano and checked the fields, there was not a lot on the fields but we did manage to see a Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Iberian Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros).
Our next stop was on the Eastern side of the site where we checked out a couple of ditches, just as we parked we had brief views of a fine Jack Snipe (Agachadiza Chica / Lymnocriptes minimus) as it popped up out of the ditch and stood on the top of the concrete irregation channel and the dropped off into the field. We got out of the car and had god views as the bird flew and landed in the nearby ditch. We got out of the car and checked the ditch and damp areas around the small pools where we soon had views of a male Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) but it took quite a while to get decent views of the breast. In the end we managed it and also saw Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus).
Our final stop in this area was at the day time roost of the wintering Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) where we had good views of quiet a few of these birds along with a couple of Common Starlings (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulg aris).
From here we headed a few KM South East to the fields near to Moraledawhere we took a couple of the tracks across the fields and soon had Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and four more Little Bustards for the list for the day. Further on we caught up with more Golden Plovers, Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Skylarks.
We moved around the site before moving down into the Cacín Valley proper and collecting some lunch from the bar there before heading down to the bridge over the river where we ate our food and then had a walk. Along here we had views of or heard Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Redwing (Zorzal Alirrojo / Turdus illacus), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and a rapidly moving Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) which zipped through the pines and away.
Next stop was along side the nearby Embalse de Cacín, on the water we picked up good numbers of Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus). Over the reeds we had good views of two male Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) whilst behind us on the bank there were more Crag Martins and several Woodpigeons (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus). Further down the valley we checked the cliffs of the gorge and the area around the Roman bridge adding Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia).
From here we headed back to Cacín and then we took the road across country and had good views of an immature Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).
On our way back to the hotel we came across two cracking Little Owls in a road side tree but they were on the wrong side of the road for me to get the camera on them so Pernille took a couple of nice shots with my camea.From here we headed back to the hotel and then made our way homes from there.
Photographs from the top: Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) x2, Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Pernille and Graham watching the Golden Eagle, female Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and another Little Owl this one taken by Pernille with my camera.