Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Sierra Morena, Jaen Province and Fuente de Piedra and Guadalhorce, Malaga Province.

Day three with Jane and John in Sierra Morena and then birding on our way back to Malaga.

We had breakfast and sorted the hotel bills before heading straight out to the same area as yesterday afternoon but taking our time as we could see there was some fog still hanging around. On the way out we saw lots of Iberian / Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Great Tits (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) and Red Deer (Ciervo común / Cervus elaphus).
Just as we arrived in the prime area we were beckoned by one of the Spanish guys there and told that the Iberian Lynx (lince iberico/ Lynx pardina) had just been seen and when we reached the spot where he indicated it was best to park we were over the moon that the beautiful animal was fast asleep on a large rock just 110m away from us (according to Google Earth). The Lynx lay there for another half an hour before waking up with a very wide yawn and walking off across the rocks and down into the fog. After waiting a short while to see if the fog was likely to clear we decided that it was not and headed for the car. As we were very unlikely to get any better views of the Lynx we started to make our way south to Fuente de Piedra for an afternoon of birding. On the way we saw Golden (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) and Bonelli's Eagles (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus), serveral Common Buzzards (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and a couple of Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax). 
When we reached Fuente we parked and walked out to the view point and soon started to add new species including Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Grey (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta) all on the small pool off to the right and Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) and Lesser Black-backed Gull (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) out on the main lagoon.
In the bushes around us we had a calling Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla) which we later saw in a Tamarisk tree near the first pool, Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Blackcap, Black Redstart and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
The two hides around the back of the centre were extreamly quiet and we added just Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus).
On our way back to the car e checked the pool near the watch point and found that Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) had joined the earlier species seen.
We reached the car and headed for Guadalhorce where we parked near the school and walked out on to the reserve and went out along the far hides and down to the sea watch point where we found Cattle (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus) and out on the sea Black-necked (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), a single Common Scoter (Negrón Común / Melanitta nigra) and as we walked off the reserve in the fading light we heard a Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) and saw a skulking Purple / Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio) and a pair of Zitting Cisticolas (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis).
We next made our way in to the city of Malaga where Jane and John were staying in the centre, the traffic was not great but I got them as close to the centre as possible due to the traffic and masses of roadworks before fighting my way out and homeward.

Photographs from the top: 4x Iberian Lynx (lince iberico/ Lynx pardina), 2x Watching the sleeping Lynx, the fog in the Valley, close up on a Stone fence post, more fence posts, stone troughs, Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla), Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus) and 2x Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus).

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