Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Moraleda Fields and Balsa de Rigedor, Granada Province.

A mornings birding with Lars from Denmark.

I met Lars just up the road at Moraleda and we were soon out on the nearby fields and watching a female Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which was a lifer for Lars.
In the same area we had Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis) and as we drove across to the edges of some nearby Almond plantations we found 2 Rollers (Carraca / Coracias garrulus), an amazing 50+ Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) and Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) which were flying over. 
We made our way back out on to the tarmac and then back in to the site on another track and found the first of quite a few Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis) and heard both Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) and Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), both species eluded us for the rest of the morning. 
We continued out on to the far side of the site through some rather smelly, recently naturally fertilised fields and then into another Almond grove where we could see a good number of Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Rock (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia) and a singing Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) which stayed hidden in the Almonds. 
Next we did a loop around some more tracks adding Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
In the time we were in this area we also had a few none avian species which included Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Scarce (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli) and Common Swallowtails (Papilio machaon), Small (Pieris rapae) and Bath Whites (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and Iberian Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus / capensis).
Things were getting warm so we headed back towards the Motorway and then across to Balsa de Rigedor where we soon added 2 Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and 3 flying Golden Orioles (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus).
There was also a guy there from the medio ambiente who was recording the Dragonflies on the site, we found several species including Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) x3M, Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) x4M, Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) x3M, Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) x5M, Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) x1M, Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum), Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii) and Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum).
By now it was getting hot so we retired to a nearby bar and I gave Lars some info about a couple of sites that he could visit during the rest of his stay.

For a few months I have been watching the construction of two very large concrete and metal circular frames near Moraleda de Zafayona in Granada Province. My first thoughts were that they would eventually be lined and become storage silo's of some sort so I was surprised a couple of days ago to find that they had been netted and were full of around 40 or so Gyrfalcon / Peregrine Hybrid type falcons. Guessing that they are to be sold to falconers, just hope they do not end up in the hands of the wrong sort of hunters.

Photographs from the top: 3x Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and 3x penned falcons.

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