A wet and windy start with Abby Turner on the Granada Coast.
Day One with Abby Turner from New York, USA.
I met Abby at her hotel in the City, the skies looked heavy and full of rain but we decided to head up the Rio Genil a short way where we had a walk along the woodlined river. Almost straight away we had good views of a pair of Dipper (Mirlo Acuático / Cinclus cinclus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and a fine Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus) most of which were new species for Abby.
Further on we heard a distant Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis) and saw several Woodpigeons (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos).
As we walked back to the car the rain started but we still found several Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos).
By the time we reached the car it was raining quite heavily and by the time we hit the Motril motorway it was humming it down so instead of heading out towards the Cacín we drove down to the wetlands to the rear of Charca Suarez as the main reserve was closed. We arrived and it was still raining but there were a few breaks in the cloud so things looked a little more promising and the first bird seen was a rather damp looking Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) which was sat hunched up in it favouite tree. In amongst the pampas grass clumps we picked up several small groups of Red Avadavats (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata). We moved along the road a short way and as we reached a small ruin we picked up a Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) stalking the roadside, suddnely it struck into the grass and it came up with a very large Brown Rat which it carried off to a near by field where it swallowed it whole. As the morning went on things started to clear and as things got better we had a Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) sheltering under the eves of the ruin, White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), a Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and heard a Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) in the same area. At the end of the road we had a feeding group of Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), 3 female and 1 male Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) and several Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) and Large Whites (Pieris brassicae).
Further around the site we called in at the pool on the golfcourse but all we managed were Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and down on the beach and golfcourse we saw Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) and Mediterranean Gulls (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and on the grass around the greens at least three migrating Yellow Wagtails (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae).
We started the drive back up towards Huétor Tajar but just got as far as the first roundabout when we spotted a couple of raptors over a nearby hillside which after we stopped on the service road turned out to be pale phase Booted Eagles (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) which were joined by a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and several Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula). We carried on back to the hotel where I dropped Abby off and went home.