Monday, 30 November 2015

El Porche, Botanical Gardens and Genil River in the Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

Hills, Woods and Water all on a frosty morning.

I dropped Jayne off in the city centre where she was going to do some shopping and I headed off up the hill to a cracking spot called El Porche where I walked out to rocky out crop with a base area of Hawthorn scrub. As I walked through the site I had calling Dartford Warblers (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), a group of a dozen or so Woodlarks (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and a calling Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis).
In amongst the Hawthorns I had several Ring Ouzels ( Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus), a couple of fleeting Redwings (Zorzal Alirrojo / Turdus illacus) along with Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) which almost took my head off as it came out of a track side tree, Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Siskin (Lúgano / Carduelis spinus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
I walked back towards the car over the frost covered slopes which were still in the shade of the ridge, on the way I picked up Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
I dropped back down to the road again and saw Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
The next stop was at the botanical gardens but when I got there they were closed so I just had a look at the small water source at the far side of the pine belt near the entrance to see what came in for a drink but after a hour or so it had only been visited by a group of three Firecrests (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus) all of which were quite agitated to find each other there. In the area I did see and hear Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes).
I walked back to the car and went up to the car park at just above 2500 meters and parked before walking over to the crags and pines near the by, on the rocky slopes I had a group of 5 Alpine Accentors (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis) but they were way down below me and well out of range of the camera so I continued on through to the pines were there were another 30 or so Siskins, several Coal Tits (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and a couple of Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica) which were sat on rocks way up on the slopes behind the hotel in the sun.
My last stop of the day was down on the side of the Rio Genil just above the outskirts of the City, I walked across the sluice gate bridge and soon added Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Dipper (Mirlo Acuático / Cinclus cinclus) to the day list and a final surprise was a very smart male Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) which hoped out on to the track by the bridge as I walked back to the car before going and meeting Jayne. On the way home and on the local patch I boosted the list with Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and the flock of Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).

Photographs from the top: El Porche area x2, Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus) x2, female Siskin (Lúgano / Carduelis spinus), View from Sierra Nevada and winter colours along the Rio Genil.

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