Thursday 5 March 2015

Sierra Jobo and Woods above Trabuco, Malaga Province.

A couple of hours birding whilst Jayne was at Craft Group.

Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla).
I dropped Jayne off at craft and went up into the woods and hills abover the town but as I was in a friends car I stayed on the tarmac however I did managed to find Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) before I went back to pick up Jayne.
Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula).
Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea).

Monday 2 March 2015

Osuna Area, Fuente de Piedra, Laguna Dulce, Teba Gorge and Laguna Herrera, Sevilla and Malaga Provinces.

A day of fields and wetlands for Liz Walsh's last day.

Great Bustards (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda).
We set off early from the hotel and made our way along the A92 to Osuna at exit 80, once through the small industrial estate we pulled in on the side of the road near the first of the newish bridges over the under construction high speed rail line between Sevilla and Granada.
Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans).
Our first bird was a nice male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) which came in over the live railway line, other species included Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata).
Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans).
Our next stop was up at the next bridge where we parked and scanned the large fields from this elevated possition and found several more Marsh Harriers sitting on the deck, a single Red Kite (Milano Real / Milvus milvus) which flapped across nearby fields, several singing Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and on the road we had an Iberian Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus / capensis) run away from us. We drove down the track on the far side of the bridge heading towards a large barn in the distance, as we drove there two huge Great Bustards (Avutarda Común / Otis tarda) came in to view flying towards the barn where they landed just out of view. We continued on along the track and found the two birds in a swede type field, they stood for a while then started to walk away and then flew.
Black Storks (Ciguena Negra / Ciconia nigra).
We checked the fields around the barn before turning around and turning right a little way back down the track where we had the first Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) of the day. At the end of this track we came to the second bridge over the rail line and soon had a couple of Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), a pair of Ravens (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica). We continued on along the road to the third bridge where we scanned the fields again and picked up a distant male Great Bustard, so we drove along the road and got a bit close for some nice views.
Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
Along this road we also saw Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and in a group of Eucalyptus trees we had views of a couple of Spanish Sparrows (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis).
We retraced our way back across the bridge and turned right, after a few KM we stopped to check out a couple of raptors and soon found the second Black-winged Kite of the day sat in a large Oak tree. Whilst we were watching this bird we had a largish flock of Black Kites pass overhead but soon realized that they were not all Kites as we picked out at least 6 Black Storks (Ciguena Negra / Ciconia nigra) migrating with the raptors. We moved a little further down the road where we added White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) to the trip list, plus Golden Plover (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaria), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus) and lots more Black Kites.
Black-tailed Godwits (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa).
We again stopped a little further on by a small stream and some Eucalyptus trees, here we had another Black-winged Kite, Red Kite and our first Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) which was a pale phase bird. Within a few seconds the pale phase bird was joined by a nice dark phase birds and another flock of about 20 Black Kites. We made our way through La Lantejuela to the Laguna de la Ballestera but the water levels were low so birds were few and far except for good numbers of small waders including Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and Little Stints (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta).
Black-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa).
There were also smaller numbers of Greater Flamingo's, Black-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Lesser Black-backed  (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba). 
We checked out several more of the Lagoons but most were dry as we have had very little rain this winter but on the road down to Osuna we found a quite large area of water which was covered in birds so we stopped on the entrance to a field and set the scope up and scanned the flocks. Most of the birds were gulls and flamingo's but there were a few Black-tailed Godwits (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa) and some Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope).
We decided to move on back towards home calling in at Fuente de Piedra, on the samll pool along the entrance road we had good views of around 70 Black-winged Godwits, Several Black-winged Stilts, a Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), a Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and  Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra).
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
We parked and went for a walk around the reserve starting with the board walks where we added a female Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope), Water (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta) and Meadow Pipits (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and on the next pools around towards the mirador we found Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca). From the Mirador we saw a few Greater Flamingo's, several Golden Plovers and lots of Gulls but little else so we moved around to the two back hides.
Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
From the larger hide we picked up a single White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) and a pair of Red-crested Pochards (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) and from the smaller one we just added Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera). We made our way back to the car and drove down the western side of the lake and soon found a dozen or so Common Cranes (Grulla Común / Grus grus) and yet another Marsh Harrier.
Red-crested Pochards (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina).
We again continued on to Laguna Dulce but it was incredably quiet, the only common species was Black- Headed Gull. There were just small numbers of Little Grebes, Northern Shovelers, Gadwall, 3 male Red-crested Pochards, a few Eurasian Coot, Common Moorhen, 2 Black-Winged Stilt and a small flock of Greater Flamingo's.
Our next stop was at the raptor watch point on Sierra Peñarrubia where we instantly had 4 Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) overhead along with a few Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris). In the trees around us we saw Sardinian Warbler as well as 3 Bath Whites (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), a Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), 3 Clouded Yellows (Colias Común / Colias corcea), 10+ Small (Artogeia rapae) and 2 Large Whites (Pieris brassicae).
Male Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca).
Down on the embalse below we had good views of several Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus). Our last visits of the tour were to some more of the Lagoons around Campillos but all were mostly bird free except for a single Greater Flamingo, A few Black-winged Stilts, a Green Sandpiper and lots of Northern Shovelers
From here we made our way back along the road to Antequera and then on to Granada City where I said goodbye to Liz after three very nice days birding, thanks Liz.

Sunday 1 March 2015

Padul, Charca Suarez, Rio Velez, Zafarraya and Sierra Loja, Malaga and Granada Province.

Wetlands and mountains of Granada and Malaga Provinces.

Moustached Warbler (Carricerin Real / Acrocephalus melanopogon).
Liz and I set off up the Motorway towards Granada and then headed south to the wetland reserve of Padul but today we were just paying it a brief visit to look at the feeding station in the woodlands next to the visitors centre. We arrived and with in seconds had a very nice Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis) which was feeding on the ground below the feeding tables, we saw just the one bird but there are meant to be a couple of this uncommon wintering species here, a few pairs breed up at high altiude in the Sierra Nevada.
Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
At the same spot we also had a female Siskin (Lúgano / Carduelis spinus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula). 
Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis).
After a while we went back to the car and dropped down the motorway to Charca de Suarez wetland reserve arriving about 09:30 and made our way straight around to the small hide over looking Laguna del Taraje and after a short wait we had very nice views of the wintering Moustached Warbler (Carricerin Real / Acrocephalus melanopogon) which sat in the open for several minuites preening. On the same pool we also saw Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Grey (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba). 
Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo).
After a while we moved on around to the main hide where we scanned Laguna de las Aneas picking out a nice male Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope), several Common Pochards (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), the female Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca) and her two hybrid youngsters from last years mating with a male Common Pochard. On the island there were several Great Cormorants (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), two Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), a Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus).
Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea).
Again we moved on around the reserve calling in at the two hides over looking Laguna del Trebol where we added Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata), Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) heard only, Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris).
Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata).
We called in at Laguna del Lirio but saw nothing new so we went back around to the hide over looking Laguna del Taraje where we waited for quite some time but eventually our patiance paid off when we had views of a male Little Bittern (Avetorillo Común / Ixobrychus minutus) which flew low over the reeds. Just after the Bittern David Jefferson came in to the hide and told us that there was a Black-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa) on the new pool so we had a walk up and had some nice views, heard but did not see a Penduline Tit (Pájaro Moscón / Remiz pendulinus) and added a nice little flock of Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca). On the reserve we also recorded several species of butterflies including Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Small  (Artogeia rapae) and Large White (Pieris brassicae) and a very nice Monarch (Danaus plexippus).
Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita).
We watched the Godwit for a while before exiting the reserve and checking out the fields on the edge of the reserve where we located several Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), a pair of Red Avadavat (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava) and at least two well hiden but heard Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix). 
Our next stop was at the mouth of the Rio Velez, we parked about half way down the east bank from the motorway bridge and walked down to the beach checking the reed clumps for the Spotted Crake I had seen a few days earlier but with no luck. We did however soon pick up Ringed (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) and Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) on a small ribbon of water against the reedbeds on the far side of the river.
Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus).
Before we reached the beach we had also seen Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), a male Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) which this time showed it throat off nicely, Meadow (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis) and Water Pipits (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Mallard, Eurasian Coot, Common Moorhen, Western Cattle Egret, Grey Heron and Zitting Cisticola. The beach was busier than usual and the birds were all out on the sea but we did add Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus).
Once we were back at the car we headed inland and made for the mountains and had a walk along the disused railway line near Zafarraya and were soon watching a very nice pair of Black Wheatears (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), followed by a nice male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), a couple of dozen Red-billed Choughs (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and a very nice Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus). Just up the road we made a quick stop to look at some spikes of not so big Giant Orchids (Himantoglossum robertiana) and lots of the beautiful blue Broad leaved Iris (lirio de invierno / Iris planifolia). 
Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica).
We continued on up the Valley towards Loja seeing a small herd of Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica) on the way and a nice flock of Iberian Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) near the motorway.
Our final stop of the day was on the low track up to the quarry on the lower Northern slopes of Sierra de Loja, on the track we did not see anything except for more Crag Martins and a couple of Red-billed Choughs. As we dropped back down we checked the trees by the turning point and had great views of a pair of Firecrests (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus) and a fly over Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) before heading back to the hotel.