Saturday 14 January 2017

Peñón de Jolúcar, Playa de las Azucenas and Charca Suarez, Granada Province.

A cracking mornings birding down on the Granada Coast.                           08:15 to 13:30

Climbing Groundsel (Senecio Angulatus).
I picked Juan Pérez Contreras at his place before driving down to Peñón de Jolúcar just to the East of Torrenueva where we walked up to the high point starting the list off with Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) which all came up off the cliffs as we arrived at the sea watch point to shout abuse at us for disturbing their morning.
Juan photographing the Orchids.
Once we were set up we scanned the sea for birds picking up Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus), Razorbill (Alca Común / Alca torda), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis). 
Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca / O. forestieri).
We also had a male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) which was calling from a nearby ruin and a White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) which was on the road as we walked back down. 
Yellow-horned Poppy (Glaucium flavum).
On the bank as we walked back down we also saw several spikes of Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca / O. forestieri) along with Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima), Fleshy-leaved Thymelaea (Thymelaea hirsuta), Bermuda Buttercup (Oxalis pes-caprae), Yellow Sea Aster (Asteriscus maritimus) and Climbing Groundsel (Senecio Angulatus).
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
Our next stop was on the beach at Playa de las Azucenas at the Eastern end of Motril port, on the way there we added a few species on the fields just off the main road including Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis) and Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea).
White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
We parked and walked along the river towards the Beach seeing some birds but were a little worried about the smell of petroleum / oils in the water which looked and smelt very unpleasant. 
Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis).
New species were House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Starling (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and an immature Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) which flew up from the track side reeds. 
Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo).
On the beach pool we found a Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), a male Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) which flew off into the reeds ahead of us, a Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), several Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), 2x Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and Yellow-horned Poppy (Glaucium flavum).
Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis).
On our way back to the car we walked back along the beach again seeing Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), a Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) which flew out from the river with 3 Sanderlings (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba) and back along the river a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) shot past up and we finished off at this site with a couple of male Spanish Sparrows (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis) in a bush near the car.
Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, European Wigeon and Mallard.
On out way to Charca Suarez we stopped at a temperary pool made by rains a while ago and were surprised how many species were there including 2 Bluethroats which were right out in the open on the mud along with a single Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), a female Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), several Mallards, 8+ Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and another Grey Heron.
Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca).
On our way to Charca we had a family group of Mallards including 7 ducklings month or so old.
Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina).
Once we were in Charca we went out to the small hide over looking Laguna del Taraje where we boosted the day list with Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and a squealing Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus). 
Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis).
From the new hide over looking the new pool Juan found a cracking Jack Snipe (Agachadiza Chica / Lymnocriptes minimus) along with several Common Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), as well as a single Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and several Common Waxbills (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild).
The Main Pool.
We walked towards the main hide hearing Stripe-less Tree Frogs (Hyla meridionalis) along the way as well as a male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), a female Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) and a Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) which flew quickly over our heads and away.
Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata) female.
From the main hide we searched through the ducks on the pool and soon found Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia) and one of the neck collared Red-knobbed Coot (Focha cornuda / Fulca cristata).
Narcissus tazetta.
The next hide looked over Laguna del Trébol, here we had good views of 4 Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope) and Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio). 
Narcissus tazetta.
After a while we retraced our steps back around the reserve to the entrance but we did not add any thing new but had good views again of the Jack Snipe before heading around to the back of the reserve where we spent some time checking the area along what has be knick named Turtle Dove Alley and we soon found Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus), Red Avadavat (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and several clumps of the stunning and uncommon Narcissus tazetta.
Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata) male.
We headed back north to Juans seeing a Large White (Pieris brassicae) on the way and then I went back home picking up Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus).

Thursday 12 January 2017

Hacho, Loja, Granada Province.

A quick check on the Orchids on Hacho.                                               14:00 to 14:30

Sierra Nevada.
I had a drive just up the road to check the Orchids that grow in the Pine Woodlands on the Northern slopes of Hacho a small hill just to the North of the town of Loja.
It only took me a few minutes to see that the Somber Bee (Ophrys fusca / forestieri) and Giant Orchids (Himantoglossum robertiana) were still a few weeks away from flowering. The trip was not a total waste as did pick up Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Crested Tits (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus) which were new for the Year list. Also seen were Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis).
Sierra Nevada.

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Sierra de Loja and Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

Blast frozen in a very cold wind on the hill and thawing out in the sun on the fields.
11:00 to 15:45.

Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
I drove up the Sierra and straight out to the furthest point on the western crags where I made several stops and did several short climbs in to the scree areas looking for upland species and soon located the first of 4+ male Blue-rock Thrushes (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), a pair of Black Wheatears (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), a group of 8+ Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), several Common Stonechats (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and loads of Black Redstarts (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros). Back by the car I had a chat with one of the Goat herders and a guy from the Loja town hall and heard but missed seeing quite a large sounding group of Alpine Accentors (Acentor Alpino / Prunella collaris) until they were just going over a distant ridge, Dam!!
Anyway after an informative chat with the two chap I continued out to an area further along the same track than I usually go but it paid off by giving me views of Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), a group of 25 or so Red-billed Choughs (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and several Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica) which were drinking from one of the small pools for the goats. On these pools which were at nearly 1400m there were four pairs of Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) feeding, one of the males was already displaying to the females in the group.
Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos).
On the way back I stopped several times in amongst the Hawthorn trees finding several very smart Ring Ouzel ( Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus) 10+, Blackbirds (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Mistle Thrushes (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Common Chaffinches (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and in the rocky areas above the trees calling Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia).
On my way back down the hill I checked the far (eastern side) Hawthorn valley but added nothing new but did see several more Ring Ouzels which were clearing the last of the berries off the small trees.
On the main drive down a couple of Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) were sat out on the rock piles, one bird was being harassed by a pair of Black Wheatears but just ducked back into a hole for some peace. In an area of Broom scrub I heard the buzz of a couple of Dartford Warblers (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) long before I found a bird sat out on a rock along side a male Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis).
As I continued on down I saw White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and all the way down the grassy areas were covered in the beautiful blue Broad-leaved Iris (lirio de invierno / Juno / Iris planifolia).
Once I was off the mountain I spent a while having a look along the Arroyo Vilano where there were masses of Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) feeding over the water from the reeds, a single male Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) x2, Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and on the far side on the fields Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and the first butterfly of the year a Bath White (Pontia daplidice).

Monday 9 January 2017

Huétor Fields, Huétor Tajar, Granada Province.

An hour out on the local patch.                                                               13:30 to 14:35

Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).
On my way down to the supermarket I spent an hour out on the fields adding a few species to the year list. The highlights were 63x Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), 1x Jack Snipe (Agachadiza Chica / Lymnocriptes minimus), 3x Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), 8x Golden Plovers (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaria), 1x Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), 3x Bluethroats (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica), 700+ Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), 100+ Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), 5x Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and 25+ Common Starling (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris).

Day list = 34 Species.
Year list = 55 Species.
Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica).

Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).

Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis).

Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis).

Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis).