Friday, 11 September 2015

Puerto del la Ragua and Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

Chasing a target bird for John and Sharon.
John and Sharon Holian, day six.

We were out and about fairly sharpish and heading along the A92 East past Granada, Guadix and down towards Almeria but turning off and heading in to the Sierra Nevada on the border between the two Provinces.We reached the top of the pass much to the delight of John who did not like the drive up, almost at the top we had a couple of head butting Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica) showing off. Once out of the car we were surprised to find that it was piggin freezing and I was soon wishing I had put a fleece in the boot. We decided to head for the sun and and made our way across to the small stream on the far side of the road to searched amongst the Hawthorn bushes and were very pleased to come across the main target species almost straight away when we saw 20+ Citril Finches (Verderón Serrano / Serinus citrinella) in the trees and bushes. In amongst the Finches we saw Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus) and in the Pine trees there were a good number of Common Crossbills (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) as well as  Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis) and as we dropped back towards the car a fleeting glimps of a Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis). Also seen along this stream were several Queen of Spain Fritillaries (Issoria lathonia), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / argynnis Pandora), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Oriental Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lupinnus), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) and Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus).
We crossed the road and had a coffee before having a look around the clearing next to the car park and added Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Grayling (Hipparchia semele), Tree Grayling (Neohipparchia statilinus) and a very smart yellow Fungus which is unnamed at the moment.
We again crossed the road and checked the small bushes near the road where Sharon picked up a nice male Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) and we had a fly over male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus). Along side the road we had more nice views of a group of Citril Finches as well as another small flock near the closed Restaurant.
We continued on up the stream again where we had a very nice pair of Spectacled Warblers (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) and a passage Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis).
Once we had had our fill of the supurb Citril Finches we got back into the car and dropped back down the mountain road and made our way back past Granada and took the Motorway south to the La Malaha junction and then out on to the fields nearby. Here we added several new species including Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Golden (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) and Booted Eagles (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), White  (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Grey Wagtails (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator). 
Our next site was along the ridge on the way to the Cacín Valley where we had nice views of 2 more Golden Eagles, another Booted, 2 Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
On and around the Contra-embalse we boosted the day and trip list with Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), 2x Water Rails (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), Iberian Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
Our final stop of the day was on the fields near to Moraleda where we picked up some more interesting species including a second Goshawk, good numbers of Short-toed Larks, Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and both Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) and Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli).
From here we headed back to the house after a cracking day.

Photographs from the top: 3x Citril Finches (Verderón Serrano / Serinus citrinella), Queen of Spain Fritillaries (Issoria lathonia), Yellow Fungus, Sharon watch the Finches, Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) and a smart Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).

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