Thursday 24 September 2015

Cacín Valley and Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

A day with the Portland, Audubon Society from Oregon in the USA.

I met up with a bus full of birders from the US just off the A92 at Moreleda, I jumped into the bus and we headed off to the nearby fields. The bus parked and the 18 of us took to the tracks through the nearby Almond groves and once on the far side we were soon looking at the main target species of the day the Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis). We are lucky enough to have a small population in the area but they have a large area to get lost in so I was very pleased to find these birds and to get good scope views for every one.
In the same area we had Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) and a distant flock of Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and a nice Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice). 
On the far side of the site we found the bus again and headed over to Huétor Tajar where we had another walk along a narrow track where we soon started to find nice species including Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), a Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis) which disappeared all to quickly, Sand (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus), several Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and two very nice Bluethroats (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) which were the first for the patch this winter. In the same area we also saw Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) and several Perez's Frogs (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi).
We next went out to the Mesia road ditches and added Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens).
We nxt went a little further west and did the first half of the Sierra de Loja trail with a lunch stop at the bottom of the Quarry track before walking up to the Quarry. On the way we saw Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Kestrel, Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) for the bird list along with Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / argynnis Pandora), Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus) and Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica). We walked back to the bus and then we continued on up on to the tops by the first of the water collection buildlings and again we were out for another walk seeing Iberian Grey Shrike, Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and a single female Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), another Common Redstart and several Whinchats.
We made our way back down the hill and I jumped off the bus at the Service area where I waited for Jayne who was on her way home from Trabuco and the group headed back up into Granada.

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