Thursday, 13 April 2017

Moraleda Fields and Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

A days birding with Martin, Matt and Harry from the UK.

A pair of Great Spotted Cuckoo's (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius).
We started with a coffee in the Cortijo de Tajar before we headed out on to the fields near to Moreleda, on the way we had a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua)sat on a chainlink fence and in the Olives we added to the list off with European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), a calling Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and the first of several Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius). 
In the same area we checked a small area of grassland and soon found Bumblebee (Orquídea abejorro / Ophrys bombyliflora), Dark Spider (Ophrys incubacea), Yellow Bee (Orquídea Abejera / Ophrys lutea), Mirror (Ophrys speculum subsp speculum) and Fan-lipped Orchids (Anacamptis collina).
Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius).
Up amongst the Almond groves we had better views of Great Spotted Cuckoo as well as Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), a pair of Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) which flew before we got on to them and at least 3 possibly 6 Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which were only seen distantly in flight.
We continued on through the site finding a nest with well grown Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) chicks poking their heads out of the hole. As we made our way to the Ruin on the site we picked up Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia) and a pair of Rollers (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) which flew away towards the Cortijo but we failed to relocate them when we got there.
Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa).
As we crossed the fields a Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax)  was seen calling and before we left the site we also had Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula).
After leaving the site we decided to move out to Sierra de Loja and after making our way down the A92 stopping in Loja wo collect some food we went up on to the hill and parked on the track near the lower quarry and boosted the list with Dartford (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) and Spectacled Warblers (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and a soaring Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis) out over the Pine woods.
Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).
From the quarry we drove quickly over to the far side of Charca del Negro to look at the cliffs, on the way we saw Northern (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and Black-eared Wheatears (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).
On the cliffs we found a stunning newly arrived pair of Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis), Alpine (Vencejo Real / Apus melba) and Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus).
On the way down the hill we picked up Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater),  Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) and several Iberian / Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus).
We dropped off the mountain and went back to the Hotel where we had met, Thanks to Martin and the Lads for an interesting day.
Wide angle view of the far side of Sierra de Loja.

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