Wednesday 29 August 2018

La Malaha and the Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

A day out on the local patch with Steph and Mike.

Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).

I left the house and crossed the Huétor fields on my way out to the motorway seeing Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and a Nightjar species on the way up to the city where I met Steph and Mike at their hotel and we headed out towards La Malaha. On the way we saw Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and at a disused Cortijo on the way our first of a few Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) as well as some finly plumaged Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia) with some looking spot on for Rock Doves and others not so convincing!!!
We continued on from here and out on to a large agricultural area were we scanned the fields and pylons picking up a good number of both male and female Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), 4 or 5 female / immature Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), a very smart Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) which gave us nice views in the scope, lots of Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) which were already pushing on hard west, a pair of Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) which were sat out on bails in the stubble fields and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) which were every where.
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
We took to the tracks and went up on to the higher fields, on the way up we had more Hoopoe's, an immature Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), a flock of 40 or so Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and 4 Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
Up on the tops we stopped and listened and soon had a pair of calling Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which were followed by another singleton which came in closer and another group of three birds but they remained more distant. A couple of calling Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) came up from over the ridge and we had both Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) calling as the flew over and a very fast moving Iberian Brown Hare (Liebre ibérica / Lepus granatensis) which flushed as we got out of the car.
Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra).
As we were driving off the site we picked up Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
Grasshopper species.
Our next stop was along the row of Almond trees where we again found our friendly Juv Little Owl who was so relaxed he could hardly even open his eye to check on us. 
But just up the road on the Moraleda Fields area we got a very different reaction from another two birds, this time one adult and an immature who were quite obviously less pleased to see us.
Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi).
The fields were quiet but we dd see a good 40 or so Calanadra Larks in a flock, the first Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) of the day, Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Scarce / Spanish Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius / Iphiclides feisthameli), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and well away from any water an immature male Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) as well as both male and female Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
Female Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
we dropped down into the Cacín Valley and made a stop in the pines seeing a Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), both Pied (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) and Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), a female Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) and then a large flock of raptors which were all Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) except for a single Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), a great bit of migration.
Female Violet Dropwings (Trithemis annulata).
Further down the valley we stopped by the bridge over the rio and found a couple of female Violet Dropwings (Trithemis annulata) on the Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) plant spikes. We also had Bridge Spider (Larinioides sclopetarius), Carpentor Bee (Xylocopa violacea), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla).
Female Violet Dropwings (Trithemis annulata).
Just up the road at the Contra-embalse the water level was a bit high so there were no waders but we did add Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), 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), a distant European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia), Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro) and Perez's Frog (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi).
Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus).
We dropped further south and then up on to the ridge between Cacín and Ventas de Huelma but added just a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and three pale phase Booted Eagles (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus).
Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).
On our way back into the city we saw two more pale phase and and immature Booted Eagles before I dropped Steph and Mike back to their hotel in the centre of the city and then headed off home.

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