A cracking mornings birding and survey work with Juan Pérez Contreras seeing nearly 80 species.
I met Juan outside his apartment block and we went down to the coast in his motor and then walked up on to the top of Peñón de Jolúcar where we set up and did the monthly sea watch. On the walk up we saw Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor). The first bird seen during the survey was an immature Shag (Cormorán Mondudo / Phalacrocorax aristotelis) which locally is a rare bird, this was soon followed by Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) x 212, Med / Yelkouan shearwaters (Pardelas Mediterráneas / Puffinus yelkouan) x4, Great Skua (Págalo Grande / Stercorarius skua) x7, Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Razorbill (Alca Común / Alca torda) x2, Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) x1 ad, Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo).
After the survey we headed down to Playa de las Azucenas and walked out onto the beach and along to the fields and greenhouses further along. On the river as we arrived we saw White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Grey Wagtails (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and on some reedmace right on the edge of the beach a fine male Penduline Tit (Pájaro Moscón / Remiz pendulinus). On the beach we had a flyby Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) which was followed by two Little Ringed (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and on the streams that run across the sands we had Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and several immature Red Avadavat (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava).
Up off the beach on a weed covered field we found a good flock of Sparrows which included at least 20 male Spanish (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis), a lot of House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Meadow Pipits (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis) and on the surrounding fields, bushes and ditches we added Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and a Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica). On the way back to the car we saw a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) on the sand and Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) away on the port walls.
Our next stop was in the port where we checked the fishing boat area but the only new species added was Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) but all the gulls we recorded earlier were there in good numbers.
The port was quiet so we continued on to Charca and checked the hide which over looked Laguna del Lirio where we soon found Purple Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), incubating Red-knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), a female Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope) and Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea). We then moved around to the southern hide on Laguna del Taraje where we did not add anything new but the number of Common Chiffchaffs was incredible.
Again we continued on to the new hide over looking the large lake, Juans superb eye sight then came into action and he picked up a very smart Jack Snipe (Agachadiza Chica / Lymnocriptes minimus) which was bobbing nicely in the cut reeds in the centre of the pool along with a couple of Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), several Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca) and a surprise male Little Bittern (Avetorillo Común / Ixobrychus minutus) which flew right across the pool. Juan went for a short walk and came back to say he had found a Mediterranean Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon) so I went and had a look and after getting some photographs I returned to the hide to find that I had missed the wintering Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) but I did see Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
We moved on around to the main hide and picked up Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) as well as Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa) and Stripe-less Tree Frog (Hyla meridionalis). We moved back around the reserve to the exit and left at 13:00 seeing just Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus).
Once we were out side the reserve we headed around the back of the site where we saw Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) and Juan had a Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus).
Next we drove back North to Granada where Juan went home and I headed back on to the Local Patch looking for the Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), on the way across the site I had my first Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) of the year along with Common (Urraca / Pica pica) and Iberian Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus) and a big female Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis) which dissappeared into the nearby poplars.
When I reached the fields for the Bustards I was pleased to find 30 or so Golden Plover (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaria), 100+ Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) as well as 54 Little Bustards. After doing the counts I headed home.
Photographs from the top: Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), 2x Mediterranean Chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon), 2x Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Stripe-less Tree Frog (Hyla meridionalis) and Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).