Monday, 6 April 2015

La Malaha and Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

An interesting day tour with the Barber family.

I met Georgena, Ian, Ruby and Issac near La Malaha and we headed for a spot nearby where we had nice views of a colony of Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) and soon counted at least 28 of these cracking little falcons on and around the farm buildings as well as singing Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia).
We moved on passed La Malaha and out into an agricultural area where we first stayed on the tarmac before taking one of the tracks across country, on the first section of road we picked up Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus). Once we were out on the track we started to see the first of many Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), two Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) but only in flight, as were all the Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) but a single Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) which we first saw in flight landed in a nearby tree and gave us nice views. Ruby was finding some nice wildflowers in the crop fields which included Biscutella auriculata subsp. auriculata, Calendula arvensis (Field Marigold), Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Erodium malacoides (Soft Stork's-bill), Eruca sativa (Eruca), Fumaria officinalis (Common Fumitory), Hypecoum imberbe, Muscari neglectum (Common Grape Hyacinth) and the beautiful purple Roemeria hybrida. We continued on along the track adding a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and a couple of Hoopoe's (Abubilla / Upupa epops), one of which showed well fulfilling one of the birds on Georgena's wishes.
After watching the Hoopoe we drove through Ventas de Huelma and on towards Cacín, just out side the village we had views of a Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) and at the same spot we heard a singing Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus). We continued on and stopped near a semi ruined Cortijo and scanned the ridges but we did not find any new species of bird but had a few other species including Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Neatostema apulum (Yellow Gromwell), Helianthemum apenninum (White Rockrose), Nonea  vesicaria, Euphorbia squamigera (Warty Spurge), Parentucellia latifolia (Southern Red Bartsia), Silene colorata (Pink Med Catchfly) and the blue form Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis).
Just before we dropped down in to Cacín we had a very nice group of European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) on roadside wires which looked very nice through the scope.
Our next stop was just on the far side of the village where we had a walk along the Rio Cacín which was flowing well if not slightly cloudy looking. The commonest species seen in the marginal brambles and trees were Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), good numbers were seen along with Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and for me the best bird of the day a Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea) which is quite an uncommon bird locally and this was only the second one I had seen in the Valley. During the stroll we also saw several Speckled Woods (Pararge aegeria), Small (Artogeia rapae) and Large Whites (Pieris brassicae), White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Grey Wagtails (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and a calling but not seen Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).
Once we were down in the valley we drove straight down to the far end of the gorge where we had good views of a pair of Bonelli's Eagles (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus) flying along the valley. In the gorge we also had Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia), a singing Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), a brief distant Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), and in the Almond trees a fine male Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator). We also spent some time photgraphing several spikes of Ophrys forestieri and some of the insects which were collecting pollen from several Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus). On the road during the drive along the gorge we had both Montpellier Snake (Malpolon monspessulanus) and Ladder Snake (Rhinechis scalaris)shot in to the verge vegetation.
Again we moved on and our next stop was at the Embalse de Cacín where we had planned to have lunch but because of the number of ants we moved down to the Rio a little further but added Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Glaucium corniculatum (Red-horned Poppy).
We had lunch sat by the irrigation channel and then had a look at the bridge and along the track towards the dam and in the time we picked up Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Moroccan Orange-tip (Anthocharis belia), Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli) and a nice Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri).
From the Rio we headed out on to an area of agricultural land where the birds were quite and we only added Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Crested lark, Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua). On a small area of natural ground amongst all the fields we spent some time searching for plants and butterflies and found quite a few of each including Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), Yellow Bee Orchid (Orquídea Abejera / Ophrys lutea), several over with Fan-lipped Orchids (Orchis conica), Common Asphodel (Asphodelus albus), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Province Hairstreak (Cardenillo / Tomares ballus), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and Southern Blue (Polyommatus celina).

From the fields we headed a cross country back to the meeting point, on the way we had great views of a Little Owl in a road side tree which was a very nice way to finish the day.

Thanks to Georgena, Ian, Ruby and Issac for a very enjoyable day in good company.

Photographs from the top : Roemeria hybrida, Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Watching a Great Spotted Cuckoo, Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Bonelli's Eagles (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) stupping on a Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Photographing Ophrys forestieri, Small Bee sp on Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus), Ophrys forestieri, Unnamed Grasshopper sp, Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), Common Asphodel (Asphodelus albus), Yellow Bee Orchid (Orquídea Abejera / Ophrys lutea) and the Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).

No comments: