Monday, 3 April 2017

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

A days birding with Lesley and John from the UK.

Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) collecting nesting material.
I met Lesley and John in the centre of Granada and after a rather rapid pick up due to traffic, people and stages being put up for Easter in my usual spot we were on our way south out of the City heading for the wetlands at Padul. Once parked we walked out on the board walk to a spot where over the last couple of weeks I had seen up to 3 Spotted Crakes (Polluela Pintoja / Porzana porzana) and as we arrived one bird disappeared off to the left and into the reeds but we soon had another bird right in front of us which was joined by the original bird. A few seconds later a third bird flew out off the reeds and ran into some distant vegetation and then to my surprise a fourth bird called from behind us.
In the same area we had Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and Willow Warblers (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus).
Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) collecting nesting material.
After watching the Crakes we walked along the boardwalk where we checked through the warblers that were flitting through the willows calling and singing, in the area we saw or heard Common (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and Iberian Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Ibérico / Phylloscopus brehmii), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), a little further along the trail we found a nest building Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) which had built in a most unexpectedly exposed location in the V of a tree. The bird continued to collect fine bark from a tree just above our heads and showed very well for us. From a point furthe along the track we watched a female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and a group of four Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) which flicked up above the reeds briefly. During the walk we also saw Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Small (Pieris rapae) and Large Whites (Pieris brassicae).
Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) nest building.
We returned to the car and then headed out to a semi-disused Cortijo where we had good views of several pairs of Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).
We moved on and spent a few minutes on the edge of La Malaha seeing Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata).
Out on the nearby fields we parked on the roadside where we could hear at least 3 Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) and just a few minutes later Lesley picked up a stunning male in a field next to us, a great find.
We also had Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), a Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and a calling Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) which remained out of sight.
Spotted Crake (Polluela Pintoja / Porzana porzana).
Further along the track near the oil pits we a male Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and a couple of Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) which were sat on a chainlink fence around the site along with a suprisingly late Common Starling (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris) whch flew off with the other two. As we were leaving the site we had a Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida) sunning its self on a rock pile.
We moved on and had some lunch in the bar in Ventas de Huelma before driving over the ridge to Cacín adding House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).
Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
We dropped down the Valley to the gorge and Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) showed to boost the day list.
Back further up the valley we stopped at the Embalse and Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) were all out on the water and there were Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus) and Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) on the sand bars as the water was low.In the same area we also had a soaring Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) and a calling Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), the first of the year for me.
Moroccan Orange-tip (Anthocharis belia).
Further up the valley we heard a Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) and saw several Iberian / Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus).
Our last stop of the day was up on the fields near Moraleda, things were quiet but we found Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and then right at the end of the day Lesley again came up with the birds when she spotted 3 Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) in the gap between a long line of Almonds. We then moved of the site and headed for Granda where I dropped Lesley and John back in the centre of the city.

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