Saturday, 9 May 2015

Charca de Suarez, near Almuñécar and the Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

A day on the coastal wetlands with a bonus species.
Deb and Renate, Day Two.

We set off at around 07:00 so that we could spend a few hours down at Charca hoping for Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca) and Mediterranean Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon) neither of which we managed to track down but this was more than made up for by an unexpected flyby. We arrived a bit early so we checked the cane and pampas fields around the back of the reserve first and soon tracked down good friend Juan Pérez Contreras who had just been lucky enough to have great views of a calling Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix) which he had got photos of, we only managed to hear them. In the same area we recorded Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), a couple of small flocks of Red Avadavats (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Collared (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica).
A little later we made our way around to the gate where we were let in by the warden of the site Manuel and we checked out the hide on Laguna del Trébol and added to the day list by see Red-knobbed (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata) and Eurasian Coots (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Purple Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus). Our next stop was at the main hide where we spent some time trying to locate the resident female Ferruginous Duck but decided she was probably on a nest sitting eggs some where. We did however find Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Cattle  (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis). We moved on around the reserve and in the corner where the sugar cane grows where we saw a couple of female type Pied Flycatchers (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and then bird of the day a male pale phase Eleonora's Falcon (Halcón de Eleonora / Falco eleonorae) which passed over giving Deb, Renate and Juan good views, I was a bit slow off the mark and got on to it a little late but as soon as I had it in the bins I said Eleonora's as the bird was quite distinctive. Just after seeing the Falcon we bumped in to friends Steve and Elena Powell, Bob Wright and his friend Marieke.
Next we had a look on the new scrape and found a small number of waders including both Ringed (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) and Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), 2x Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), 6x Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and more Common Sandpipers. In this area we also heard Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) and saw Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Southern Blue (Polyommatus celina) and several Iberian Water Frogs (Rana Común / Rana Perezi).
Around at the small hide over looking Laguna del Taraje we could hear a crocking Little Bittern (Avetorillo Común / Ixobrychus minutus) which we eventually had nice views of along with Nightingale, Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata) and Stripe-necked Terrapins (Mauremys leprosa). We worked our way back around the reserve but we did not pick anything new so we went out and with Juan guideing us we made our way to a spot where we were soon watching a pair of White-rumped Swifts (Vencejo Cafre / Apus caffer) amongst the more normal Common and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus). In this area we also had good views of Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and a Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) which was being mobbed by a Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus). On the roadsides in the area we also photographed the tall and beautiful Spanish Iris (Iris xiphium). 
We returned Juan to his car and said goodbye before heading down to the beach nearby but it was as expected quite busy. we scanned the sea and picked up a single Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), a couple of Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) and several Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) before heading back up the motorway towards Granada.
We turned off and made our way back to the house via La Malaha and the Cacín Valley, during this drive we boosted the list by picking up Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Iberian (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
Later we again had calling Red-necked Nightjar (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis) from on the terrace whilst doing the check list and compairing photographs.

Photographs from the top: Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) with ducklings, 2x White-rumped Swifts (Vencejo Cafre / Apus caffer) and Spanish Iris (Iris xiphium).

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