Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

Another trip along the Cacín Valley.

I met Martin and his wife just off the A92 near Moraleda and we took a nearby track out in to the Olive and Almond Groves and straight away located find of the day in the shape of three spikes of the uncommon Dark Spider Orchid (Ophrys incubacea) amongst several spikes of Ophrys forestieri, lots of Eruca (Eruca sativa), Dove's Foot Cranesbill (Geranium molle), Dove's Foot Cranesbill (Geranium molle), Mallow-leaved Bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides) and a female Moroccan Orange-tip (Anthocharis belia). We moved on along the track getting good views of Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and a very nice Iberian Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus / capensis) which sat nicely in the open. On this lower section birds included Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica).
Once we were on the top fields we parked and had a walk amongst an area of Almond groves, some in good order and some abandoned. The first things that we started to see were Orchids and these included Yellow Bee Orchid (Orquídea Abejera / Ophrys lutea), Mirror Orchid (Espejo de Venus / Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum robertiana) and a single open spike of Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea). As we reached the top of a nearby ravin we heard and had fantastic views of a group of 5 or so Great Spotted Cuckoo's (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) which chased aroundthe trees. In the same area we heard the screams of a pair of Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) as they flew away and disappeared in to the next plantation. In the same are we picked up Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
After a while we walked back to the car and headed out on the main area of open fields and were treated to cracking views of three Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), two male chasing down a female. In the same area we saw both Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) and Small White (Artogeia rapae). 
We moved off the site and down in to the Valley and were very pleased to see a couple of Iberian Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) along with Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) in the Pines.
We stopped off at the Embalse de Cacínand had great views of two male Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) displaying over the reedbeds, a single Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), 6x Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and a Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) roosting on the trees in the water, 3x Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), heard Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica).

We continued on down the valley seeing Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) on the way.
In the gorge we had stunning views of both male and female Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus) along with Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia) and a singing but not seen Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis).
We turned around and headed back up the valley calling in at the Rio Cacín on the way where we had Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and heard Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) before heading back to the meeting point and going our own ways.

Thanks to you both for a very pleasant time in the country side and for all the positive comments about the day.

Photographs from the top: Moroccan Orange-tip (Anthocharis belia), 2x Dark Spider Orchid (Ophrys incubacea), Mirror Orchid (Espejo de Venus / Ophrys speculum subsp speculum) and three Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).

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