Saturday 13 May 2017

Zapata, Guadalhorce, Malaga Province and around Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

Granada Wildlifes Tour of Eastern Andalucia and beyond.
Day One of Eleven, pickup day.

After having a great night in Malaga Port and a good breakfast at the Hotel Las Vagas Jayne dropped me at the car hire company and I collected the minibus and then went and found Pam and John just down the road at there hotel before we headed off to Zapata to fill some time before the rest of the party arrived from the UK.
We parked up on the entrance road and whilst Pam got the paints out John and I had a walk long the track above te channel where we started the tour list off with Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), very smart Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) which saw us before we saw it so we only managed flight views, Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri).
We then moved on to the area around what was the ford but due to high water levels and damage done during the winter we could not cross so we birded for  while on the near bank and saw Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Ringed (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) and Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), a distant and then a few minute later a closer Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) as well as a Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) which we were shown by one of the ringers there.
Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri).
Next we went back to Malaga airport and collected Mike, Nick, Judy, Mike and Lynda before popping over to the mouth of the Guadalhorce to scan the sea but due to the numbers of people on the beach it was quiet. We did however find a flock of 10 Common Scoters (Negrón Común / Melanitta nigra), 9 females nd a single male flew in nd sat on the sea which was a most unexpected record for the time of the year. The only other bird of interest was a single Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) which also had a fly around before going back on to the reserve.
We loaded up again and headed out of Malaga and then North towards Loja and on to a bit of waste ground near the motorway there which has a nice low steep bank at the one end with quite a few European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) nesting in it. Lynda picked up a pair of Bonelli's Eagles (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus) up over the sierra above us and whilst watching these fine birds we also picked out several Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) soaring higher up and some Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Red-billed Choughs (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) lower down
Pam drawing the heads of the Milk Thistles.
Amongst he surrounding Almonds and Olives we picked out Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
At a nearby site we had great views of several Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) as well as Bath (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Small (Pieris rapae) and Western Dappled Whites (Euchloe crameri) before we went and had a look at the lower quarry on Sierra de Loja. Here we found just Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) before we headed to the Cortijo de Tajar Hotel for the night.

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