Monday, 5 September 2016

La Malaha and the Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

A hot days birding with Louise and Warren from the UK.

I met Louise and Warren at Padul and whilst we were having a coffee before they arrived I had a Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) come past and once they arrived we started the list with a couple of Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) passing to the west as we all had a coffee. We finished and headed for La Malaha picking up a Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans) sat in a field and a little further down the road an  Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) sat nicely on a farm buildling roof as well as a single Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus) several more Honey Buzzards and Black Kites passed over west.
We were going to check an old cortijo on the way through for Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) but there were a few guys working around the building so we decided to just call in at the main rubbish dump and have a look what was about. We saw Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata).
We went passed La Malaha and out on to some near by fields, during a roadside stop we had a largish group of Lesser Kestrels on some wires including a nice male, Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris) and a very distant Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea).
On the fields we did not see a lot but did find a Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus). On our way off the site we had a nice Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli) and a couple of Small Whites (Pieris rapae).
We then did a drive across to the fields at Moraleda, on the way we had Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) on wires and a couple of European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) in a tree as well as Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), a Willow Warbler and another Little Owl.
On the fields we searched for the Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) but dipped mainly I think due to the hunting over the weekend disturbing them from the areas we searched. We did however see the rock pile Little Owls, Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and 400+ Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) which were travelling south and the heading off West.
Due to the fields being quiet we dropped down into the pine woods and had a walk there adding Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), several female type Pied Flycatchers (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and lots more Honey Buzzards
We next stopped by the river and found Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), more Common Crossbills and a male Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi).
Slightly further on and we stopped at the Contra-embalse de Bermejalis where the water was quite low but the only waders we found were a couple of Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) as well as Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Yellow (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
Down further along the valley we checked the gorge and notched up a few extra species in the shape of Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and a very smart spider called Argiope lobata.
We had a late lunch in Cacín and then headed back towards Granada across the ridge to Ventas de Huelma but added nothing as it had reach the late 30s and most things had gone for cover so we deciede to do the same and call it a day.
Thanks to Louise and Warren for a good days birding, better than I thought now I look through the list.

Photographs from the top: One of the rock pile Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Little Owl watching the passing Honey Buzzards, Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) x6, Argiope lobata and Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).

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