Saturday, 12 December 2015

RAM, Port Beach, Charca de Suarez and Local Patch, Granada Province.

A cracking day down on the Granada Coast seeing 81 species with Juan Pérez Contreras and John Ross.

I met Juan near Granada and then we picked up John down near Lecrin before heading down to Peñón de Jolúcar near Torrenueva, on the way we had a fly over Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) and several Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) which were flying out from their roost sites. We parked and we walked up to the high point to do the monthly sea bird count, on the way up we saw Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and a fly over Siskin (Lúgano / Carduelis spinus) which called nicely. 
During the count we had a good mix of species including 1x Great Skua (Págalo Grande / Stercorarius skua), 1x Arctic Skua (Págalo Parásito / Stercorarius parasiticus), 1x Shag (Cormorán Mondudo / Phalacrocorax aristotelis), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), 1x Cory's (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea), 2x Med / Yelkouan (Pardelas Mediterráneas / Puffinus yelkouan), good numbers of Balearic Shearwaters (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus), Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and 2x Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta). We finished the count and walked the short but steep way back to the car to see if there were any orchids in flower and found a few spikes of Ophrys forestieri with on in flower. We also saw Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Bermuda Buttercup (Oxalis pes-caprae), Climbing Groundsel (Senecio Angulatus), White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum) and Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima).
Once back at the car we headed to the beach just down the road near the port, again we parked and walked over the river down to the beach. On the way we saw Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Red Avadavat (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Grey (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus). On the beach we had a group of 5 Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and a preening Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta). Juan then heard a group of Waxbill and after a search we found a couple of Black-rumped Waxbills (Estrilda troglodytes) which flew out n to a nearby field where we saw lots of finches feeding. On the field we also found Meadow Pipits (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) and a couple more Waxbills which turned out to be Common Waxbills (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild). In the same area and back on the beach as we walked back to the car we saw Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica), a single Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba), a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) which was sat on the port wall and finally as we recrossed the river a Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos).
Our final stop of the morning was at the wetlands of Charca de Suarez one of my favorite place to do some birding, on the way to the site we picked up Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata). We walked around to the small hide which over looks the southern end of Laguna del Taraje and boosted the day list with Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) heard and Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) as well as the first of several Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Yellow-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta scripta), Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa) and calling Stripe-less Tree Frogs (Hyla meridionalis). We moved around to the hide at the other end of the pool seeing Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) and Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) on the but saw little from the hide. We continued on to the new hide over looking the new lagoon where we saw several Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca) and a few Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago). Again we walked on around to the main hide and scanned the pool looking for new species but the light was not great so it was a struggle but we eventually located Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Purple Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), a male Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata), a winter plumaged Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and just as we were leaving the hide we heard a large splash as a family group of 9 Wild Boars (Jabalí / Felis silvestris) swam past the front of the hide.
We continued on around to the exit via the two hides that look over the Laguna del Trebol adding just Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and a female Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla).
We left the reserve hearing the news that David Jefferson had seen and photographed the Spotted Crake (Polluela Pintoja / Porzana porzana) that had been wintering at the site. From the exit we went out on to the road to the rear of the area to have a look for the Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) which was also wintering on the site, we found the bird but we only had very distant views as it hovered a long way off. We also saw and heard Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Penduline Tits (Pájaro Moscón / Remiz pendulinus). 
We went back to the car and then back up towards Granda dropping John off at Lecrin on the way. I left Juan at his apartment and the headed off home.
On the way I had a quick look out on the fields around Huétor Tajar and increased the list with Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common (Urraca / Pica pica) and Iberian Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Green Sandpiper Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), 200+ Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), 18 x Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus).

Photographs from the top: Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Ophrys forestieri, Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata), another shot of the Kingfisher, Stripe-less Tree Frogs (Hyla meridionalis), the leading Wild Boar (Jabalí / Felis silvestris), the nine Wild Boar and a view from the hide to the Kingfisher posts

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