Friday, 15 July 2016

La Malaha and the Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

A day in the Cacín Valley and surrounding fields with Charlotte, Adrian and Gwyn from the UK.

I met Charlotte, Adrian and Gwyn near Padul and then we made our way to a semi-derelict Cortijo where we had good views of several Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) which crosseda field on the far side of the road. 
We moved down the road to a road bridge just outside La Malaha where we had Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
We next made a roadside stop to view a Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) which was perched on a distant pylon as well as Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) and Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis).
Just up the road we turned on to the tracks over the fields were we very quickly found a female Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) trying to hide from us but failing. In the same area we had Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica).
We came back on to tarmac and then headed through Ventas de Huelma and made a stop on the roadside and had a short walk trying to find a calling Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) but it remained hidden. We did however find Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and then a distant pale phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus).
Just down the road we again hit the tracks and straight away we had the booted Eagle right over head and then a cracking Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) which flew around and showed well for us. We checked the areas futher along the track seeing hundreds of Common Swift and at least three very smart Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops). As we got back to the road we had our second but much darker Short-toed Eagle and we had better views of the Roller sat in a dead tree along with several Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia).
Just down the road we had European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) and a male Golden Oriole which flew across us giving nice views. Near the Cortijo an immature Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) which gave us super views and in the same area we had Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and on another pylon our third Short-toed Eagle.
Once we were down in the valley we drove to the end of the gorge but it was quiet and we only added Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) as well as another fine male Golden Oriole and two more Short-toed Eagles
Back up the valley we called in at the Contra-embalse where we found Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
Our last stop of the day was on the fields near Moraleda where the target bird was Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which we eventually found at the far end of the site where we also had nice views of some European Bee-eaters before hitting the motorways back to Padul.

Photographs from the top: 2x Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), immature Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) and European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).

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