Thursday 21 September 2017

Huétor Fields and Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

Out on the local patch with Sally and Steve from the UK.

1st year Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
I met Sally and Steve down at La Paz in our road and we dropped down on to the fields nearby where we quickly found a few of the wintering Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) but the light was still not great and the birds were sat quite low so we did not get great views but Sally and Steve returned later in their trip to see them again. We also had Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
From here we moved out to the fields near to Moraleda, on the track in we found a couple of Tawny Pipits (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), several Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) as well as Greater Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and a little later up near the Cortijo a group of 11 Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which stayed well camouflaged out on the stubble fields but showed well for us from above and then later in flight. Further along the trail we found Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and a hunting Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus).
1st year Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
We dropped down to the village of El Turro, having a coffee before driving down to the pine woods just down the road. Here we soon had good views of Pied (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) and Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), another Sparrowhawk, Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and on the concrete top of the channel a single Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia).
Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus).
We continued on down the valley to the Contra Embalse and the walked down to the shore, the water levels were much higher than on my last visit so I was surprised to find that the 1st year Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus) was still there but swimming around more like a large oddly shaped goose. Not long after we arrived the ducks and the flamingo all took off and became agitated so we scanned the skys and soon picked up an Western Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus) coming in low over the dam. It stooped on the Flamingo but pulled out before getting in even close but it was enough to scare the ****** out of the bird literally and make it fly off around the lake giving up some nice flight views.
In the same area we picked up Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and in the air a Booted (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) and Short-toed Eagles (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) and Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans).
Western Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus).
On the margins Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and Cetti's Warblers (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) and back to the skies where we picked up Alpine Swift (Vencejo Real / Apus melba) and Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Sand Martin (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia).
We dropped down the valley even further and collected some food from Cacín where the bar owner had a Horseshoe Whip Snake (Coluber hippocrepis) in his hands which was just stunning to see, I asked what he was going to do with it and was quite surprised to hear that he was going to release at his house to keep the mice down. We kept going south in to the gorge, also calling in at the roman bridge seeing Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and as we drove back up the valley a Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus) which flew in front of the car.
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
In Cacín we stopped for water at the bar and then went up to the view point near a large Cortijo on the ridge but not before seeing quite a few Desert Orange-tips (Colotis evagore) on the climb up.
At the Cortijo we eventually had really nice views of an adult Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) which came up from in the valley and the soared up and away giving us good views before disappearing. 
After watching the eagle and having our lunch we dropped back a short towards Cacín but then took a track back towards the house, on the way we had a Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus) perched on a pylon and great views of a couple of roadside Little Owls in a spot where I nearly always see them.
Once back on the fields near Huétor Tajar we spent a while along one of the irrigation channels where we saw Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra), Yellow Wagtail, Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Willow Warbler and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).

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