Monday, 13 June 2016

Northern Malaga Province.

A second cracking days birding with Andy Mountford.

Andy and I headed off west and in to Malaga Province making our first stop on the fields near to Antequera, on the way we saw Iberian / Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
We came off the motorway and went along the tracks, here we saw Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), a Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) which walked around on the track in front of us and we also had hoards of Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus).
We then drove to our next spot and looked for the pair of Rufous Bush Robins (Alzacola / Cercotrichas galactotes), we parked and scanned the nearby wires but found nothing until I spotted a bird singing from a fence on the far side of the site. We drove around but before we reached the spot we found another male displaying in grove of small olive trees and then we spotted the female he was showing off to. We continued to the spot where we saw the bird originally and saw a pair there. We agan moved on and checked another couple of areas out where I had seen birds in the past and in total we found four possibly five pairs of Robins in the area. We also saw Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Small White (Artogeia rapae) and Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea).
We come back down to Fuente de Piedra next to find all the pools on the front of the site dry but we did a walk around the lower track and up to the Mirador under the Oak, on the way we Great Reed (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus), Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and Cetti's Warblers (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii). From the view point we saw a couple of hundred Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), a surprising summer record of a Common Crane (Grulla Común / Grus grus) but the bird was probably only there because it was injured, Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta) and Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus).
We moved around to the hides at the back of the centre where we had views of Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia), White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope) and Perez's Frog (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi).
On our way back towards the house we called at a river valley of mixed woodlands to cover another habitat for the day, new birds included Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Rock (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops). There were also plenty of butterflies around in the heat including Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Bath (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) and Large Whites (Pieris brassicae), Spanish Marbled White (Medioluto Inés / Melanargia ines), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Lulworth Skipper (Thymelicus acteon), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus) and a cracking Spanish Purple Hairstreak (Laeosopis roboris) which did not want to be photographed. When we walked back to the car Andy collected several bags of rubbish which had been left by weekend visitors and we dumped it later in bins in Archidona where it should have gone in the first place. On the return trip back along the valley we picked up Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and probably the best views of a Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla) for both of us. 
Later we headed back to the house and then later we visited a site just a few minutes away where we had views of two probably immature Eagle Owls (Buho Real / Bubo bubo) as the flapped around on the cliffs doing plenty of wing strengthening wing flapping. Back at the house we listened to the 4 or 5 male Red-necked Nightjars (Chotacabras Cuellirrojo / Caprimulgus ruficollis) calling from the olives.

Photographs from the top: 3x female Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), 3x Rufous Bush Robins (Alzacola / Cercotrichas galactotes), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Spanish Marbled White (Medioluto Inés / Melanargia ines), Andy with the first couple of bags of rubbish he collected and put in the bins, Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla) and Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra).

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