Sunday 30 April 2017

La Malaha and the Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

A days birding with Alexi and Chris who were visiting Granada City from New York.

Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).
On my way up to meet Alexi and Chris I crossed the local fields seeing Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
I met Alexi and Chris in the City of Granada and we headed out towards La Malaha making a roadside stop where we saw our first Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Goldfinches (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) of the day. 
We continued on our course calling in at a semi ruined Cortijo on the way, as we drove there we had great views of a pair of Great Spotted Cuckoos (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) which were sat in a roadside Broom bush before flying onto the road infront of us. 
Once we were at the Cortijo we were surounded by several Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) which gave nice flight vews before settling back down on the roof. 
We walked down to a near by Barranco where we could hear and eventually saw a Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) along with a pale phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) which flew up out of a nearby Poplar copse, Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), a pair of Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and a singing Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos).
Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater).
Whilst we were trying to get views views of the Nightingale we got the surprise bird of the day when a Short-eared Owl (Buho Campestre / Asio flammeus) flushed up out of a stand of reeds and flew off into a group of Tamarisk trees, a late bird but a good find. 
We walked back towards the car after giving up on the Nightingale but added a passing Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), a couple of distant fly through European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) and a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) to the list.
Near La Malaha we had better views of Red-rumped Swallows and Goldfinch and heard more Nightingales before we drove out onto some nearby field and found our first two Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), a female Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), heard Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and watched lots more Calandra Larks and just as we were leaving the site a nearer male Little Bustards and a feeding Spectacled Warbler which was the first time I had seen this species at this site. 
As we drove around this area we also had Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) and a large Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida) which disappeared in to a rock pile as they do.
European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
We moved on and made several stops on the drive across to Cacín and saw several more Great Spotted Cuckoos, Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), a Nightingale which came out into the open several times with nesting material, heard a singing Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia),Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus) heard, European Bee-eater, Hoopoe and a second Short-toed Eagle. Whilst we were watching the Eagle we became aware of a couple of pairs of Black Wheatears (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), one on either side of the road, seeing these was a nice bonus as I do not always pick them up in this area.
We stopped in the Village and picked up some lunch and had  a drink before continuing up the Valley to the Contra-embalse de Bermejalis which was a lot fuller than it had been for a while. even though there were no margins for the waders we did find Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Common and Pallid Swifts, Sand (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn and Red-rumped Swallows and a perched Common Kestrel. We also had a female type Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Small White (Pieris rapae), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli) and Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa).
European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
We again moved on but just up the road to the bridge over the Rio Cacín where we sat and had luch whilst listening to a Golden Oriole and a couple of Nightingales. We walked along the river and boosted the list with Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Great Tits (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla).
Nearby we checked an area of Pine woodland and found Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki).
Our final stop of the day was on some fields near Moraleda where we checked our a few locations and came away with 13 Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus), Woodchat (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina). As we were leaving the site we eventually caught up with some perched European Bee-eaters for Chris.


Bas. said...

zoveel moois geweldig.

Alexi said...

Thanks for an excellent day of birding and good company. Two weeks later and it's still thrilling to remember all that we saw, helped along by your blog report and photos.
All the best,