Friday 25 September 2015

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A second day with the Portland, Audubon Society.

I met the group again at 08:00 just through the tunnel on the road up to the Sierra and we all continued on up to the top car park where we got out for another walk. Out on the nearby crags we were soon watching several very smart Black Redstarts (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) which was a new species for most of the group so we were there for some time whilst every one got good views.
In the same area we had Coal Tits (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) which again were a species which were well watched, Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and a couple of Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) which again was a bird that was wanted by all of the group and lead to us doing a bit of a scramble up a steep slope but rewarded by nice views of the birds.
On the walk back to the bus I had a flock of around 12 Alpine Accentors (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis) fly over but by the time I got anyone on to them they were just dots. We finished off at this spot with a coffee at one of the huts and a flock of Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) on the tall mast just off the car park.
Once we were all back on the bus we made our way down to the botanical gardens and then spent a couple of hours wondering around the trails through the grasslands, woods and pools. During this time we had stunning views of several Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), more Coal Tits, as well as Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Great and Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), more Black Redstarts, Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Cirl (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) and Rock Buntings (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
Other species included Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Cardinal (Argynnis Pandora) and Queen of Spain Fritillaries (Issoria lathonia), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus), Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Rock (Hipparchia alcyone) and Great Banded Graylings (Brintesia circe), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) and Autumn crocus (Crocus serotinus).

Thursday 24 September 2015

Cacín Valley and Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

A day with the Portland, Audubon Society from Oregon in the USA.

I met up with a bus full of birders from the US just off the A92 at Moreleda, I jumped into the bus and we headed off to the nearby fields. The bus parked and the 18 of us took to the tracks through the nearby Almond groves and once on the far side we were soon looking at the main target species of the day the Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis). We are lucky enough to have a small population in the area but they have a large area to get lost in so I was very pleased to find these birds and to get good scope views for every one.
In the same area we had Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) and a distant flock of Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and a nice Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice). 
On the far side of the site we found the bus again and headed over to Huétor Tajar where we had another walk along a narrow track where we soon started to find nice species including Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), a Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis) which disappeared all to quickly, Sand (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus), several Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and two very nice Bluethroats (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) which were the first for the patch this winter. In the same area we also saw Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) and several Perez's Frogs (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi).
We next went out to the Mesia road ditches and added Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens).
We nxt went a little further west and did the first half of the Sierra de Loja trail with a lunch stop at the bottom of the Quarry track before walking up to the Quarry. On the way we saw Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Kestrel, Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) for the bird list along with Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / argynnis Pandora), Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus) and Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica). We walked back to the bus and then we continued on up on to the tops by the first of the water collection buildlings and again we were out for another walk seeing Iberian Grey Shrike, Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and a single female Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), another Common Redstart and several Whinchats.
We made our way back down the hill and I jumped off the bus at the Service area where I waited for Jayne who was on her way home from Trabuco and the group headed back up into Granada.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

From the terrace.

During a couple of hours on the PC up on the terrace I recorded 3x Short-toed Eagles (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), 2x Booted (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) and a single Golden (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos),2x Sparrowhawks (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Sand Martin (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus).