Saturday 7 November 2015

Peñón de Jolúcar, Torrenueva, near Motril Port and Charca Suarez, Granada Province.

The monthly sea watch with Juan Pérez Contreras and John Ross.

Immature Shags (Cormorán Mondudo / Phalacrocorax aristotelis).
I met Juan out side his place and we went down to the sea watch point in his motor and arrived a little early, so whilst I looked to see if John had arrived Juan checked out the beach and by the time I reached him he was rather excited and showed me an immature Shag (Cormorán Mondudo / Phalacrocorax aristotelis) on the rock breakwater which was a new bird for both of our Granada Province lists, a fine way to start the day.
Immature Shags (Cormorán Mondudo / Phalacrocorax aristotelis).
After a call from John to say he was going to be late we headed up to the watch point and got set up and started the count with a Great Skua (Págalo Grande / Stercorarius skua), which was followed by Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis).
Other species included Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Spotless (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Common Starlings (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulg aris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus).
Immature Shags (Cormorán Mondudo / Phalacrocorax aristotelis).
Juan had found a site near the Port at Motril which we went to check out before we went on to Charca, on the way down to the  beach we checked the river and had nice views of Penduline Tit (Pájaro Moscón / Remiz pendulinus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros). On the beach there were lots of Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and a very smart Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) as well as Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) and Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta). 
Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) male white spot.
From here Juan and I headed to Charca while John headed back home, we first went and checked the small hide over looking where we had Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) heard only, Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis). We moved around the reserve to the new hide over looking the new lake where we saw vary little but added Red Avadavat (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Little Egret, Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) and Monarch (Danaus plexippus).
Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) male white spot.
Around at the main hide Juan located the Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca) and we also saw Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Great Cormorant, Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) as well as Stripe-less Tree Frog (Hyla meridionalis), Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa) and Yellow-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta scripta).
Stripe-less Tree Frog (Hyla meridionalis).
13.00 came around quickly and we made our way to the exit and then we had a quick look on the back road where we had more Red Avadavats, the wintering Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) and a fly over Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus).
From here we drove back to Juan's and then I drove towards home, on the way I added Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).

Tuesday 3 November 2015

El Faro, Fuengirola, Malaga Province.

A couple of hours in the sea watch hide a couple of days after the big blow in the Med.

I dropped Jayne off at the shopping centre and drove the short way to the hide below the lighthouse just west of Fuengirola and sat there looking out to sea for a productive couple of hours. 
There was an almost constant stream of Mediterranean Gulls (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) flying west along the coast quite close in along with good numbers of Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis). About 45 mins in to the sea watch an immature Kittiwake (Gaviota Tridáctila / Rissa tridactyla) came past, also flying west and quite close in. This immature was followed 10 mins later by an adult bird which was also going west but was less than 100 meters off shore. Other species seen during the watch included 2x Great (Págalo Grande / Stercorarius skua) and 4x Arctic Skua's (Págalo Parásito / Stercorarius parasiticus), 100+ Cory's (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea) and 20+ Balearic Shearwaters (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus), 300+ Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), 50+ Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and 17 Common Scoters (Negrón Común / Melanitta nigra). On the rocks below the hide there were a few Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres) and Sanderlings (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba) and a single female type Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).

Sunday 1 November 2015

Torremolinos, Malaga Province.

A bit of a blow.

After seeing Abby off on her way up to Madrid I headed down to the coast to meet Jayne and we had a quick look on the beach at Torremolinos where there was a bit of a storm starting to develop which got much worse after we left but it was already starting to flood the road.

Fuente de Piedra, Antequera Fields and Arroyo Marin, Malaga Province.

An early start heading east mopping up a few species on Abby's last day.
Day Seven with Abby Turner from New York, USA.

Due to getting to Osuna earlier yesterday than planned due to the weather in Donana we had cleaned up there so we drove along the A92 to Fuente de Piedra lagoon to see what was there. The water level was higher than it had been on my last visit which meant that there were quite a few more birds about including a single Lesser Flamingo (Flamenco Enano / Phoenicopterus minor) in amongst a couple of hundred of the more usual Greater's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus) also out on the main lagoon were Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata) but little else so we moved on to the fields near to Antequera where we were hoping to catch up with the so far elusive Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax). We arrived on site and within a couple of minutes we found a Small group of the target birds out on a ploughed field not to far away and with the scope set up in the car Abby had nice views of these special birds. In the same area we also heard but could not get views of Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra). 
With the target in the bag we continued on down the motorway to the Arroyo Marin to check out some woodland, a habitat that we had not seen much of so far. We had a walk along the river amongst the marginal scrub and larger trees picking up Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) which flashed through the trees near the stream, Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), a singing male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) and a well hidden Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis) which only came into view for a second or so not giving Abby time to get on to it unfortunately. We moved further down the valley but it was quiet at the furthest point so we returned to the middle bridge and had a walk in this area adding Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), a distant Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes) which was the second guide only species for the day as it dropped just as I got on to it and another calling but unseen Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei). In the valley it had been quite sheltered and warm which meant we saw a few butterflies as well including Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Large (Pieris brassicae) and Small Whites (Artogeia rapae), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) as well as both Lang's Short-tailed (Leptotes pirithous) and Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus). Time had flashed b and we need to start to head towards the AVE station back towards Campillos getting some lunch on the way so we put the bins way and moved off.
We ended up with a total of 163 species of bird, 143 ended up on Abby's green list which meant she had good views of them and they would go on to her list fully. The rest were made up of 4 Guide only, 4 heard only and 12 seen but not well enough to count.
We had lunch and then we said our goodbyes at the train station and Abby made her way to Madrid and the back to New York. Thanks for a great trip Abby.