Thursday 7 September 2017

La Malaha and the Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

Back on my regular patch at last and a Spanish lifer is included at the end of the day.

Immature Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus).
I met Kathy and Marc in Lanjarón and then we came back north and headed for La Malaha but called in at a semi disused Cortijo on the way where we started things off with Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), a Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) which disappeared at high speed, Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and as we were leaving a White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
From here we headed out on to some fields near to La Malaha and stopped near a roadside pylon where there was an immature Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) perched, on a more distant pylon there was another Eagle and on the wires in between several Lesser Kestrels.
Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) x16.
Along this road and on one of the tracks we had Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), 20 or so Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) which spirreled up in the distance and then passed quite close on their way south, a single Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans) which was hunting low over the olives, Bonelli's (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Willow (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), a single Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), lots of Northern Wheatears (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), calling Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) which remained unseen and then the target species Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis), first just 2 and then a flock of 16 birds which called all the way past us, stunning. In this area we also had Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Long-tailed Blue (Lampides baeticus) and a fast moving Iberian Brown Hare (Liebre ibérica / Lepus granatensis).
Immature Eleonora's Falcon (Halcón de Eleonora / Falco eleonorae).
Once we were off the fields we made a stop in Ventas de Huelma where we had a coffee and collected some lunch to take with us.
We moved on towards the Cacín Valley making a couple of stops on the way adding Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Western Orphean (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis) and Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), a male Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Pied (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) and Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and just before we dropped into the village several Desert Orange-tips (Colotis evagore).
Immature Eleonora's Falcon (Halcón de Eleonora / Falco eleonorae).
Once we were in the valley we went North to the Contra-embalse de Bermijalis seeing several European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) sat on the wires and as the water was surprisingly low added quite a lot of species to the day list including Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) heard only, Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), 8+ Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) x5, Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia) x1, Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) x8 and around the margins and in the air Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei) heard only, Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Sand (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and in the pines on the far bank several Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) all of which remained heard only and hid well in the trees. Down by the water we also saw Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Lesser (Anax parthenope) and Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) and several Stripe-necked Terrapins (Mauremys leprosa) which were sat out on rocks getting some sun.
Immature Eleonora's Falcon (Halcón de Eleonora / Falco eleonorae).
Then just as we got back to the car all the hirundines started to call and sounded upset with something so I scanned and soon found a falcon soaring amongst them, as it came closer we were pretty sure it was an immature Eleonora's Falcon (Halcón de Eleonora / Falco eleonorae) which we confirmed when we looked at the photographs later.
Pectoral Sandpiper (Correlimos Pectoral / Calidris melanotos).
From the lake we headed back south and called at the roman bridge adding just Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) so we continued on to the deeper part of the gorge and did quite well finding Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia), a female Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura).
We continued on south to the larger Embalse de Bermijalis and searched in the Pine woods and along the concret water ways for birds finding Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea). On the pools in the channels we also had Orange-winged (Trithemis kirbyi) and Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) as well as another male Blue / Common Emperor.
Pectoral Sandpiper (Correlimos Pectoral / Calidris melanotos).
We started to make our way back towards Granada seeing a small flock of around 6 migrating Pallid Swifts and a pale phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus).
We tried the southern side of the fields near La Malaha on the way back but apart form 3 flighty Hoopoes we did not see anything much of interest so we headed back to Kathy and Marc's hotel. After dropping the off and saying goodbye I headed North to Embalse de Cubillas where a few days earlier Juan Pérez Contreras and his wife Beatriz had found Granada Provinces first Pectoral Sandpiper (Correlimos Pectoral / Calidris melanotos) and I was pleased to find it was still there and showed quite well. I also saw a single immature Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus) and Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos).

Tuesday 5 September 2017

Marques de Cáceres in Cenicero, Marques de Riscal in Eltziego and Logroño, La Rioja.

A day of Wine, Food and Bikes!!!

After a very good breakfast we drove down to Cenicero but got there a bit early so went for a coffee and the made our way to the Marques de Cáceres bodega on the edge of the town for a tour and tasting.
Jayne and Barb with some special Barrels.
We arrived and met our guide Sara, a very nice young lady who gave us a very interesting tour in English along with three other people from the UK. 
400+ bottles in every box, one hell of a party.
Later we had a tasting with four of the wineries best bottles and some tapas which all went down very well.
Spending a year in the Barrel.
On our way to Logrono we called in at the Marques de Riscal Bodega as we wanted to see the Frank Gehry designed hotel in the grounds but found that you could not visit it unless you were staying or on a tour. 
Out side the main buildings.
However I had a word with one of the ladies who worked in the gift shop and asked "is there any way around this" and she "well I guess if you were to tell me you wanted to eat in the wine bar" then I could let you though, so we were on our way. 
Jayne going for a big bottle, shame it was empty.
The place was amazing and the meal in the wine bar was superb (thanks Barb) and also gave you views of the rear of the hotel.
Later we drove into Logroño only to find the La Vuelta bike race was finishing in the town so it was mad, so we made the best of it and had a look around before deciding it was just to busy and so we headed back to Abalos where we had a tapas evening meal and a couple of drinks.
Marques de Riscal hotel.
Marques de Riscal hotel.
One of the finishers in La Vuelta.

Monday 4 September 2017

Travelling to Abalos in Rioja Province.

Goodbye to Santi and Howard in Silos and hello to Red Wines in Rioja !!!!

After breakfast Jayne, Barb and myself said our goodbyes to Santi and Howard who had yet again made us so welcome for our superb few days with them in Santo domingo de Silos and Burgos and started the drive over to our hotel for the next couple of nights in Abalos. 
We set the Satnav to shortest route avoiding motorways and it did, it took us on some very out of the way but bueatiful roads and on the way I picked up Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Pied (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) and Spotted Flycatchers (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and the third Hobby (Alcotán Europeo / Falco subbuteo) of the trip which was sat on dead roadside tree. 
We arrived at the hotel, had some lunch and then spent some time wandering around the village.
Southern / Blue Hawker (Aeshna cyanea).
Later we drove down the road a few KMs and had a walk around a lake at La Guardia where apart from seeing a few birds, butterflies and a dragon we picked a nice back full of Slows to put into some Gin!!!
On the walk round I picked up Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Green (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Garden Warbler (Curruca Mosquitera / Sylvia borin), Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), Tree Pipit (Bisbita Arbóreo / Anthus trivialis), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) as well as Southern / Blue Hawker (Aeshna cyanea), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) and Long-tailed Blue (Lampides baeticus).
Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) immature.
Later we drove down to Cenicero to check where we needed to be for tomorrows visit to the Winery of the Marques de Cáceres before going back to the hotel and having a very nice evening meal.

Sunday 3 September 2017

Returning to Silos and Lunch at Hacinas, Burgos Province.

A return to Silos followed by a rather large lunch and a quiet afternoon.

We were up and about and on our way back to Silos quite early so that we would be back in time to go for Lunch at a Casa Rural which Santi and Howard had found. On the way back we called in for coffee in the parador at Lerma and a walk around the town. We returned Santi's and then went out for what was probably the biggest meal I have had in years and included a lump of meat the likes of I have never seen before. 
After lunch we went back to Santi's and relaxed in the garden where I saw good numbers of Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), another adult Hobby (Alcotán Europeo / Falco subbuteo), Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and two flyover Hawfinches (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes). Later we had a very light meal before bed.