Thursday, 6 October 2016

Huétor Tajar, Granada Province.

A few hours warm birding around the Local Patch.

After dropping the recycling off in Huétor Jayne dropped me on the road out to Mesia and headed off to Trabuco for the weekly craft group meeting and lunch with the ladies. I started by walking towards Mesia in the sun scanning the fields on both sides of the road and soon picked up Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), African Grass Blue (Nina esmaltada / Zizeeia knysna), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and Small White (Pieris rapae).
Further along the road I took a track off to my right and followed a reed filled ditch out to the Arroyo Vilano finding Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and the first off 100s of Yellow Wagtails (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava) of three different subspecies. In the reed chocked Arroyo I heard and then saw the first of several elusive Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and on the far fields a small flock of around 20 or so Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and a single Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) were following a tractor that was ploughing in the remains of burnt off Maze stubble. I walked along the raised bank at the side of the Arroyo looping back as far as the mesia road, a Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago) flushed up from the reeds and a small band of Serins (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) flew off from a stand of weeds and thistles with a few Goldfinches and several Greenfinches (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris). 
I walked back to the start of the track where I had turned off but this time went the opposite direction following the roadside ditch back in the direction of La Fabrica. The ditch was quite except for a couple of Cetti's, Reed and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) as were the remains of the small pools where I added just Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa), Perez's Frog (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi) and a fly over Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica). Just a short way further along the track I turned off and took another track along side the railway line which paided off with in seconds when I found a good group of Caper plants (Capparis spinosa) and then several Desert Orange-tip (Colotis evagore) butterflies along with a single Large White (Pieris brassicae), Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).
Further along this track I came to a very reedy over grown irrigation ditch which looked promising so I sat down on a concrete block and waited to see what appeared, soon I had seen Reed Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Common Stonechat, Whinchat, Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild), Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus) and the bird I had hoped for a Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica).
I then walked on along the Irrigation channel passing a large poplar plantation, on the way I found a nice Bridge Spider (Larinioides sclopetarius) with its web stretched out across one of the sluice gates in the channel, Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens), Iberian / Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and just as I reached the tarmac again a Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) which rattled along the side of the railway line flushing up the Serins, Goldfinches and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) from the stubble. 
The next section of the walk was quiet so I took a short along the side of a couple of Asparagus fields to the side of the Arroya again seeing Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus). The Arroyo was quiet but I scanned the roof tops of the old farm buildings and found a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) sat in one of the chimny pots and down on the water there were males of both Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) and Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi).
My next stop was in the bar near by where I had a drink and sandwich which was disturbed when a female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) flapped along the Arroyo. After lunch I walked back up to the house along the road checking the ditch all the way, new species seen before I reach home included Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) and a Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice).

Photographs from the top: female Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Small White (Pieris rapae), female Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), male Common Stonechat, 2x Desert Orange-tip (Colotis evagore), 2x Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica), Bridge Spider (Larinioides sclopetarius),  Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) and 2x Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus).

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