Saturday 11 August 2018

La Malaha fields, the Cacín Valley and Moraleda Fields, Granada Province.

A day out on the patch with Bent Halfdan Pedersen, Mette, Nanna and Sophie from Denmark.

Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
I met Bent and his family at their hotel in the city for the first of three days out and about and we headed south west out on to the fields near La Malaha calling in at a semi derelict Cortijo on the way.
We walked down in to the nearby barranco adding Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica). We also had Blue-winged Grasshopper (Oedipoda caerulescens), Small White (Pieris rapae) and Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
We moved on and out on to the fields near La Malaha, making several stops on the road before taking to the tracks heading over to Ventas de Huelma, on the way we had good views of around 15 Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), a distant Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) which was sat on a pylon surrounded by several Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) on the wires, Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator).
Once we were off the tracks we headed across country to a spot near to Moraleda picking up Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans) and Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) on the way. We drove slowly along a row of very old roadside Almond trees looking for some of my regular Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) but only found one of the youngsters was in but it performed well, giving us all great views and Mette was particularly happy as it was a birds she had wanted to see.
Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) male.
We next headed out on to the fields nearby and spent some time searching the fields from the tracks and found Scarce / Spanish Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius / Iphiclides feisthameli), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and our main target species two Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis), a fine male and his well camouflaged female.
Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus).
Lunch came next down in the bar in El Turro before we headed south along the Cacín Valley to the bridge over the river, here we had a look from the bridge seeing Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Garden Warbler (Curruca Mosquitera / Sylvia borin) and House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica).
Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus).
We then walked along the track to the area near the dam picking up Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Bridge Spider (Larinioides sclopetarius), Sriped Shieldbug (Graphosoma italicum), Carpentor Bee (Xylocopa violacea), Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum), White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes) and a cracking Western Willow Spreadwing (Lestres viridis) which was a really good find by Nanna. 
Our next stop was up at the Contra-embalse de Bermejalis, on the way we saw several European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus). From where we parked at the embalse we had a pair of Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) over the reed beds and on the water there were loads of Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), 5x Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), 1x Egyptian Goose (Ganso del Nilo / Alopochen aegyptiaca), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Common (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus).
We headed south to Cacín and then went up over the ridge seeing another very nice Short-toed Eagle on the way but we did not see a great deal during the drive and it was getting very warm so we headed back in towards the city where I dropped Bent, Mette, Nanna and Sophie off at their hotel and headed back home.

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