Saturday 5 December 2015

Rio Velez, Malaga Province.

Another fairly unproductive, uncomfortable visit to the river mouth.

Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba).
Jayne and I had a nice morning around Frigiliana further along the coast and a pleasant walk around the main town of Torre del Mar before I dropped her off at the shopping centre. I then went and parked at the far end of the track along the side of the river by the beach and had a walk out on to the sand seeing a couple of Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) butterflies and the first of several Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta).
Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros).
On the sea I found good numbers of Gulls including Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) as well as Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and a very late migrating Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) which flew over my head from up river and out to sea.
Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros).
On the pool at the beach end there was just a single Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba), several Eurasian Coots (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and in the reed beds Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Penduline Tit (Pájaro Moscón / Remiz pendulinus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and a quite unexpected Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio) which was the first time I had seen this species at this site.
Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
I then walked up along the river trying to find a track that was not occupied by some wirdeo hanging around. I eventually dodged the problems and made it out to the river seeing Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago).
Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
I later went back to the car and then walked back to the bench near the hide where I sat and waited to see what popped past and added Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus). I met Jayne later and we headed back North via Zafarraya adding Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and Iberian Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus).

Thursday 3 December 2015

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

Lunch with some special birds.

Alpine Accentor (Acentor Alpino / Prunella collaris).
Jayne was going to the Trabuco craft groups Christmas lunch so I dropped her off and continued on up my favourite place Sierra de Loja. I drove straight over the area to the furthest point that I intended to visit and started birding there and did not get very far before I started to find some interesting species.
Alpine Accentor (Acentor Alpino / Prunella collaris).
I walked up through the rocky Hawthorn covered slopes well beyond the Goat Cave area and soon picked up a single Ring Ouzel ( Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus), a good number of Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Mistle (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and Song Thrushes (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) and whilst I sat eating my lunch a group of 23 or so Alpine Accentor's (Acentor Alpino / Prunella collaris) flew in to the small gorge just below me and work there way up towards me and gave great views.
Alpine Accentor (Acentor Alpino / Prunella collaris).
As I walked back to the car I saw several Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica), 100s if not 1000s of Broad leaved Iris (lirio de invierno / Iris planifolia) and a couple of fresh looking Small Coppers (Lycaena phlaeas).
Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata).
I started the drive back down the hill but only made it a short way before I saw the first of at least 3 Fieldfares (Zorzal Real / Turdus pilaris) fly across the road and into a group of Hawthorns. Whilst watching this locally very rare bird I also had views of Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis) and Rock Buntings (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia). I moved on again and before long I was watching another 2 Fieldfares sat on a rock pile below the road and what was possibly the same Ring Ouzel seen earlier.
Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata).
Around the crags nearer the Goat Cave I picked up Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis). 
Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata).
Past the pools at Charca Negro I added Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and further down there was a male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Little Gull (Gaviota Enana / Larus minutus) and a very confiding Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) which gave me great views and sat nicely for the camera.
Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus).
Right at the bottom of the hill amongst the Oaks and Pines I found Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), and Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) and Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus).
Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater).

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

Some views of the Sierra.

Today I spent the day in one of my favourite places birding for a few hours.

Monday 30 November 2015

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

Hills, Woods and Water all on a frosty morning.

El Purche area, looking up to the Walnut plantations.
I dropped Jayne off in the city center where she was going to do some shopping and I headed off up the hill to a cracking spot called El Purche 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 Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei).
El Purche area.
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).
Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus).
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).
Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus).
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).
Siskin (Lúgano / Carduelis spinus).
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.
View from Sierra Nevada.
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.
Winter colours along the Rio Genil.
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), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and the flock of Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).