Tuesday 16 May 2017

Moraleda Fields, Rio Guadalfeo, Granada Province and Los Norios area and Roquetas del Mar, Almeria Province.

Granada Wildlifes Tour of Eastern Andalucia and beyond.
Day Four of Eleven, Another day of many habitats, some Good, some Bad and some down right Ugly.

Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
We started out for the fields leaving the Cortijo de Tajar for a while, we were soon in amongst the groves of Almonds and were soon watching a flying Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), both Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris).
Pam painting and listening to the Golden Orioles.
We moved on to a different area of fields between the olive grovers where we had distant views of 4 Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which were right at the far end of the stubble fields we were checking along with several Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and then Lynda picked up two male Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) chasing each other above the trees, one then showed very well when it landed not far off.
Across the Rio Guadalfeo.
In the same area we picked up a male Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), a female Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) and just along the track an elusive Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) which few and hid in a nearby oak tree. We also had Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica). 
Mesembryanthemum crystallinum.
Again we continued on around the site seeing another Roller and a small flock of 7 Black-bellied Sandgrouse right out in the open on  stubble field which gave us a great chance to get the scopes on them. Before we moved on we also saw a rather smart Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
Looking across the main lake at Punta Entinas Sabinar, Roquetas del Mar.

We drove across country checking a long row of old Almond trees along the roadside and found a very smart Little Owl with a grasshopper in his clutches and at a disused Cortijo several pairs of Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni).
Punta Entinas-sabinar.

We reached our next site on the banks of the Rio Guadalfeo and some of the group managed to see 2 Dippers (Mirlo Acuático / Cinclus cinclus) fly up stream as well as Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata). 
Collared Pratincoles (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola).
We also saw a couple of male Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) and Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) dragonflies as well as Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Small White (Pieris rapae), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla) and Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) butterflies.
We drove south along the old road and joined the new coastal motorway heading for Almeria to reach a place which I can only describe as awful, it was a lake surrounded by plastic green houses and full of all the S**T and rubbish that goes with these sorts of area.
Collared Pratincoles (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola).

However even amongst the disgraceful amounts of rubbish we found birds including White-headed Ducks (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Red-crested (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) and Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Little (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Black-necked Grebes (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), a cracking Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and a spectacular plant species called Mesembryanthemum crystallinum.
Collared Pratincoles (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola).
We moved on and had some lunch before visiting Los Norios, we thought the last spot was disgusting but this place was worse, the amount of rubbish on the edges of and in the water was just disgraceful and extremely depressing.
Again there was some extremely hardy birds still managing to live amongst it all and we added Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax), Little (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Little (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons) and Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), Great Reed (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) to the day list.
Slender-billed Gulls (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei).

Having had enough of these down right ugly spots we headed for Roquetas del Mar and to the reserve of Punta Entinas-sabinar where we parked by the large lake and scanned the area seeing more Little Terns, Eurasian Coots, Little and Black-necked Grebes (lots) as well as Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) and out on the reserve we were treated to the best views I have ever had of good numbers of Collared Pratincoles (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola), several Slender-billed Gulls (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei), Ringed (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) and Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres), Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta) and a surprise Common Tern (Charrán Común / Sterna hirudo) for some of the group.
Kentish Plovers (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus).

We reluctantly dragged our selves away from ths super site and headed for our accommodation for the night up near to San Jose as a super place called Los Palmitos which I would recommend to any one visiting the area to go birding. Good rooms and a great breakfast with plenty of very good places to eat on an evening down in San Jose just a few minutes away.
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).


Andy Mountford said...

Sounds like a great day of birding. I'd love to get to grips with pratincoles, slender billed gull etc. Magic, despite the rubbish dumps!

Ibex said...

This is a wonderful, but sadly under reported, area. Always enjoy reading quality reports from Punta Entinas-Sabinar.

Unfortunate not to see any Marbled Ducks.

Water level permitting, in April-May there are usually 2-3 pairs at the Roquetas end of Punta Entinas-Sabinar in the Salinas Viejas & Cerillos (& more elsewhere). In the autumn they prefer the large lake before entering the reserve and can gather in large numbers (30+).

This year the water level is perfect and they were showing well mid & late May. There was also 1 or 2 at Las Norias.

Where was the rubbish dump you visited before Las Norias? Was it the lagoons East of Adra?