Monday 27 February 2017

Huétor Fields and the Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

A cracking day with Chevonne from South Africa.

Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).
I met Chevonne in Granada and we headed out of the city to the west and back on to my local patch, we started by checking the ditches and irrigation channel off the Mesia side of the site. Before we even got out of the car Chevonne had picked up a female Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) in the reeds next to her door. In the same spot we had lots of Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Meadow Pipits (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).
Along the field ditch we flushed the single wintering Jack Snipe (Agachadiza Chica / Lymnocriptes minimus) which flew up and around us giving us good but brief views of the small short billed bird, in the same area we had Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and on the opposite side of the track along side the reed beds another Bluethroat but a difficult to see male this time, Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae).
Our next stop was along side the Rio Vilano but in the fig orchard on the way we saw Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros). Along side the river we saw a cracking male Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and then out on the central fields several Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and a flock of 15 or so Golden Plovers (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaria). 
we continued on to the fields on the Loja side of the area still hoping for Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), eventually we found a single male in the Lucerne field. We headed off the site along the far side of the Rio Vilano adding Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) before making our way out to the fields near Moraleda, we can in to the area from the south and parked on the track side amongst the Almond groves. We walked out into an area of trees and soon found several Great Spotted Cuckoos (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) along with Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and a calling but unseen Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata).
Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) and two Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni).
We continued out on to the open fields adding Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus). In the area we also saw Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca / O. forestieri), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Small (Pieris rapae), Green-Striped (Euchloe belemia) and Bath Whites (Pontia daplidice), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) and Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea).
We dropped down into the Valley next and made a couple of stops in the Pine woodlands and on the Cacín, adding several new species to Chevonnes life list, these included Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), a pair of displaying Northern Goshawks (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis), an immature Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus).
Up at the Embalse I was surprised to find the water level low but there were no waders but a few other species including Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) and a soaring Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).
Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
Further down the valley we had views of a single Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus) and the up on the ridge between Cacín and Ventas de Huelma Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea) and a distant view of a Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
We moved out on to some more nearby fields and picked up Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia) and Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) before moving to a Cortijo just down the road and finished the day with a fine group of Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) and a male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius). Our last sighting of the day was of a pair of Golden Eagles circling with the Lesser Kestrels mobbing them. After watching the Eagles we headed back in to the city and I dropped Chevonne back at her hotel before heading home.

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