Friday 7 April 2017

Padul, La Malaha and the Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

A days birding with Sue and Ian from the UK.

Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) nest.
I met Sue and Ian at the very smart looking Alhambra Palace Hotel, whilst I was waiting I did see Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus).
Once we had met up we went south down to Padul wetlands where we looked for the Spotted Crakes (Polluela Pintoja / Porzana porzana) which had been around for a while but today they did not want to put on a show. We did however find Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Willow (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Reed  (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and Cetti's Warblers (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and an active Southern Water Vole (Rata topera / Arvicola sapidus) in a stream in the Eastern side of the reserve.
We also checked a Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) nest I had found a few days earlier, it was now finished and was still looking intact but vulnerable.
Female Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).
We moved on and called in at a Cortijo on our way out to the La Malaha area where we had good views of a large number of Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), several Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and a couple of pale phase Booted Eagles (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) one of which soared quite close over head.
We moved on and parked on the roadside just outside the village where we found Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica).
Out on the nearby fields we could hear and then found a fine male Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), there were at least another two males calling in the same area along with several Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and  Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), a female Little Bustard which walked away from us and into a cereal field and on the far side of the site a Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) which was seen in  row of Almond trees. In a set aside field we checked the plants and found Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Roemeria hybrida, Prickly Poppy (Papaver argenone), Red-horned Poppy (Glaucium corniculatum) as well as Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and as we left the site Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis).
We moved on and crossed the ridge between Ventas de Huelma and Cacín, on the way we stopped and had the sandwiches we had picked up in Ventas whilst watching a Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) being mobbed by a pair of Common Buzzards (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos).
Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra).
Once we were down in the Valley we went up to the Contra-embalse de Bermejalis finding Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis).
In the trees along the river and amongst the Pines further up the Valley Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) were seen along with my first Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) of the year.
Our last stop of the day was on the fields near to Moraleda adding Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei) and around a dozen Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis). 
On our way off the site we stopped and checked a patch of ground amongst the Olives and saw Bumblebee (Ophrys bombyliflora), Dark Spider (Ophrys incubacea), Fan-lipped (Anacamptis collina), Mirror (Ophrys speculum) and Yellow Bee Orchids (Ophrys lutea) before heading back into the City.

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