Out birding with the quiz master and Co.
I drove down to the Contra- embalse de Bermejalis on the way down to pick up Bob, Jane, Dot and Ernie but as we were having a relaxed start at 10.00 I spent an hour or so above the embalse. As soon as I arrived I had a nice male Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) fly along the nearby ridge quickly followed by a male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) both of which headed off south being mobbed by a Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and several Common Magpies (Urraca / Pica pica).
On the water there were several groups of wildfowl made up mainly of Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina) as well as smaller numbers of Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca) x8 and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) plus Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and a calling Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus).
In the scrub and broom bushes on the field side of the road there was a good sized flock of Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) passing by with a single Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) tagging along at the rear. Other birds on the fields included Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
Over the water and on the margins I added Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and Cetti's Warblers (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and a calling Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus).
Just a short way down the road I stopped again by the reed beds and spent the rest of my time there and soon picked up a flying Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Iberian / Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Jay.
I drove down the valley towards Cacín, on the way seeing Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and by the bridge near the town White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea).
I met Bob and Co at his house and then we headed back down to the Rio Cacín just out of the town and had a walk. Along the river we saw lots of Blackcaps, Woodpgeons, Mistle Thrushes, Cetti's Warbler, Robin, Jay, Grey Wagtail, Blackbird and a calling Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla). We also saw some butterfly species including Small White (Pieris rapae), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and False Mallow / Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus tripolinus / alceae).
Our next stop was down the valley above the Cacín Gorge where we had super views down to the river and added Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), another Common Buzzard and as we were leaving and heading up towards the Roman Bridge a Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis) flew along sde us and then dropped down into the gorge.
At the bridge we did not see any thing new but on the way there we had a male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) sat on a large rock in fields with several more Common Stonechats.
Up at the Embalse we saw many of the species I had already had earlier including Eurasian Teal, Common Pochard, Northern Shoveler, Little Grebe, Cetti's Warbler, Jay and good numbers of migrating Barn Swallows but we did added a male Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) and a male Vagrant Emperor (Anax ephippiger) which flew passed us and away north up the pool.
Our next stop was for lunch in El Turro (thanks Bob) and then we went up above the town on to the fields where we were as usual looking for the resident Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) and after see Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) we found three female and one male Sandgrouse in the shade of one of the track side almond trees and the showed brilliantly giving me the chance to crack of one or two shots. As we drove around the site we also saw Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), several more Rock Sparrows, an Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike, Common Stonechat and then as we were starting to drive out the next village we picked up Dots main target bird a Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) in fact by the time we went on we had had great views of 4 different birds.
We made our way out on the lanes to the road above Cacín and then had a look from the Cortijo bend but added just a few Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia) and a Large White (Pieris brassicae). We headed back down in to the village where I dropped Bob and the others off and then headed back to the house.
Photographs from the top: 4x Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis), 2x Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), 2x Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), On the Roman Brigde and at the Raptor watch point.