Monday 21 May 2018

Moraleda Fields, Sierra de Loja and travelling.

Out on the patch with Brian from the UK.

I picked Brian up and we headed for the patch, on the way we started the list with Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
The first site was out on to the fields near to Moraleda, on the way from the motorway to the spot we saw Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica).
Once we were out on the fields we went out to a disuase cortijo and had views of a Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) and then started to scanned the areas that had been harvested and after a while we heard and then saw a group of 5 Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which flew in calling but took off again before I had the chance to get the scope on them, however we had very good flight views.
In the same area we had a calling Greater Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and just along the track we drove out on to the stubble and whilst watching Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) we heard a rasping Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) which we eventually located in a weedier patch of the field hiding but still calling. We continued on around the site picking up Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).
As we dropped off the site we got good views of a couple of Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and near a large area of disused Almond groves we parked and had a walk looking for Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius). We walked out crossing a small valley and out on to the top of the next deeper one with Almonds on the far bank, here we heard but did not see a Great Spotted Cuckoo and also picked up Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) as well as Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) and a rapid flying Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) which went through so fast I did not get Brian on to it. Wild flowers seen on this site included Andalusian Storksbill (Erodium recorderi), Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum major), Eruca (Eruca sativa), Field Madder (Sherardia arvensis), Field marigold (Calendula arvensis), Ground-pine Germander (Teucrium pseudochamaepitys), Mallow-leaved Bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides), Mediterranean Catchfly (Silene colorata), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum) and Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum).
We continued off the site and headed for the lower slopes of Sierra de Loja where the main target was the usually quite easy Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) which we eventually found on the slopes with several Sardinian's, Common Stonechat, Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia), Brown Bluebell (Jacinto bastardo / Dipcadi serotinum), Boar Thistle (Galactites tomentosa), Chickweed (Cerastium boissieri), Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Navel-wort (Omphalodes commutata), Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum), Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba), Small White (Pieris rapae), a very tatty Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes) and several Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe).
The rains started as we were leaving the site, from here we headed down the road to a site for Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) and we soon had several birds in front of us floating around looking very smart.
We next started to headed back towards Brian's accommodation, on the way just before reaching his place we stopped in some pine woods and listened to what was about. In the valley below we heard Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) and in the woods Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus).
Right at the top of the drive way down we again stopped as there were loads of Common and Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) in the are above us along with a pale phase Booted Eagle. In the trees and bushes around the house we had Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes) heard only, a calling male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) and a fly passed Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli). After a while I said goodbye to Brian and headed back home.

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