Wetlands and mountains of Granada and Malaga Provinces.
Liz and I set off up the Motorway towards Granada and then headed south to the wetland reserve of Padul but today we were just paying it a brief visit to look at the feeding station in the woodlands next to the visitors centre. We arrived and with in seconds had a very nice Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis) which was feeding on the ground below the feeding tables, we saw just the one bird but there are meant to be a couple of this uncommon wintering species here, a few pairs breed up at high altiude in the Sierra Nevada. At the same spot we also had a female Siskin (Lúgano / Carduelis spinus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula).
After a while we went back to the car and dropped down the motorway to Charca de Suarez wetland reserve arriving about 09:30 and made our way straight around to the small hide over looking Laguna del Taraje and after a short wait we had very nice views of the wintering Moustached Warbler (Carricerin Real / Acrocephalus melanopogon) which sat in the open for several minuites preening. On the same pool we also saw Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Purple Swamp-hen (Calamon Común /
Porphyrio porphyrio), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Grey (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba). After a while we moved on around to the main hide where we scanned Laguna de las Aneas picking out a nice male Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope), several Common Pochards (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), the female Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca) and her two hybrid youngsters from last years mating with a male Common Pochard. On the island there were several Great Cormorants (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), two Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), a Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus).
Again we moved on around the reserve calling in at the two hides over looking Laguna del Trebol where we added Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata), Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) heard only, Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris).
We called in at Laguna del Lirio but saw nothing new so we went back around to the hide over looking Laguna del Taraje where we waited for quite some time but eventually our patiance paid off when we had views of a male Little Bittern (Avetorillo Común / Ixobrychus minutus) which flew low over the reeds. Just after the Bittern David Jefferson came in to the hide and told us that there was a Black-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa) on the new pool so we had a walk up and had some nice views, heard but did not see a Penduline Tit (Pájaro Moscón / Remiz pendulinus) and added a nice little flock of Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca). On the reserve we also recorded several species of butterflies including Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Small (Artogeia rapae) and Large White (Pieris brassicae) and a very nice Monarch (Danaus plexippus).
We watched the Godwit for a while before exiting the reserve and checking out the fields on the edge of the reserve where we located several Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), a pair of Red Avadavat (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava) and at least two well hiden but heard Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix).
Our next stop was at the mouth of the Rio Velez, we parked about half way down the east bank from the motorway bridge and walked down to the beach checking the reed clumps for the Spotted Crake I had seen a few days earlier but with no luck. We did however soon pick up Ringed (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) and Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) on a small ribbon of water against the reedbeds on the far side of the river. Before we reached the beach we had also seen Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), a male Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) which this time showed it throat off nicely, Meadow (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis) and Water Pipits (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Mallard, Eurasian Coot, Common Moorhen, Cattle Egret, Grey Heron and Zitting Cisticola. The beach was busier than usual and the birds were all out on the sea but we did add Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus).
Once we were back at the car we headed inland and made for the mountains and had a walk along the disused railway line near Zafarraya and were soon watching a very nice pair of Black Wheatears (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), followed by a nice male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), a couple of dozen Red-billed Choughs (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and a very nice Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus). Just up the road we made a quick stop to look at some spikes of not so big Giant Orchids (Himantoglossum robertiana) and lots of the beautiful blue Broad leaved Iris (lirio de invierno / Iris planifolia).
We continued on up the Valley towards Loja seeing a small herd of Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica) on the way and a nice flock of Iberian Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) near the motorway.
Our final stop of the day was on the low track up to the quarry on the lower Northern slopes of Sierra de Loja, on the track we did not see anything except for more Crag Martins and a couple of Red-billed Choughs. As we dropped back down we checked the trees by the turning point and had great views of a pair of Firecrests (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus) and a fly over Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) before heading back to the hotel.
Photographs from the top: Moustached Warbler (Carricerin Real / Acrocephalus melanopogon), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), battling Little Grebes (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and a Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica).