Thursday, 27 October 2016

Balsa de Rigedor, Huétor and Moraleda Fields, Cacín Valley and La Malaha, Granada Province.

A days birding with Sandeep from Edinbourgh in Scotland.

I met Sandeep up in Granada and we headed back along the A92 to Balsa de Rigedor where we started a day of ups and downs with the species. On the water we soon found good numbers of Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina) 20+, Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) 25+, Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata) 50+, Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca) 2F, Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and around the margins a single Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and 2 Greens (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus). In the trees we found a rather late Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata) as well as lots of newly arrived Blackcaps (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and Song Thrushes (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos). In the same area we also picked up Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
Our next stop was on the local patch at Huétor Tajar or more precisely on the fields to the North, on the Mesia side of the area we started with a walk along the ditches and amongst  the reeds. Species seen included Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and several quick moving Tree Sparrows (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus) as they flew over us. We moved around to the Arroyo Vilano and soon found several Iberian / Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), a cracking Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) which flew along the track in front of us and down along the rio we added Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus). We made our way around the Huétor side of the fields looking for but dipping on the Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) however we did find good numbers of Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and a little further up the road a very smart Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) which was sat on the roof of a roadside ruin. 
We next drove across the A92 to the fields near to the town of Moraleda where we had our second dip of the day when we missed the Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) but whilst we searched we did find a stunning male Merlin (Esmerejón / Falco columbarius) which was on a field plucking a smaller bird. We also had a male Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis) fly through, several Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), a Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis) and a couple of Ocellated Lizards (Lacerta lepida).
We dropped down to El Turro where we picked up our lunch before going down to the bridge over the Cacín and whilst we sat and ate our sandwich we recorded Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), a distant flying Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) which went South quickly as well as a male Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta).
We moved just up the road to the lake and found that the water was still low and the flock of 16 Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) were still present along with several more Green Sandpipers, 3 Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), a calling but hidden Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), 3x Water Pipits (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), another Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike and a couple of butterfly species including Bath (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) and Small White (Pieris rapae), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and a stunning Desert Orange-tip (Colotis evagore).
From the lake we went up on to the ridge above Cacín and then through to Granada again, on the way we did not see a great deal but still added Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) before I dropped Sandeep back to his hotel in the city.

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