Tuesday 14 August 2018

Moraleda Fields, La Malaha Fields and the Cacín Valley.

A day out on the patch with Ian from Antequera, Malaga Province.

Two male and a female Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis).
I met Ian up at the Hotel Cortijo de Tajar by the A92 and we headed out to the agricultural areas near Moraleda, on the way we called in at the Balsa de Rigedor
starting off in amongst the Almond and Olive groves where we started the list with Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and then in amongst a grove of Almonds two male and a female Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which showed well whilst walking along between one of the rows of trees. 
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) immature.
We moved up on to the main fields and scanned the stubble for Little bustard but they were in hiding here and everywhere else we looked for them, however we did see 3x Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), as well as both Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and an immature Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator).
We returned to the tarmac and then checked out the old Almonds along the roadside nearby to see if any of the regular Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) were sat out waiting to be photographed. As we drove slowly along avoiding the pot holes we found two birds, a juvenile and an adult both of which showed well and pretty much ignored us.
Female Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus).
We continued on again lookng for more species out on the fields near to the Chimineas end of the La Malaha fields area, where we again conectted with some more Black-bellied Sandgrouse as well as a female Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and a Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus). we also saw a few butterflies including Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli), Small (Pieris rapae) and Bath White (Pontia daplidice) and several Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus).
Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi).
We moved off the fields and out onto the area between Ventas de Huélma and Cacín where we parked and scanned the quite quiet skys, after some time we finally found a distant immature Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos), a Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans) and an even more distant Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus).
Small Red-eye (Erythromma viridulum).
We dropped down into the Cací valley and stopped by the river where we had a short walk, we heard and saw Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and a Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) which was soaring over the nearby poplar plantation.
Further up the valley we found several European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) sat on the wires before we reached the Embalse where we boosted the list with Egyptian Goose (Ganso del Nilo / Alopochen aegyptiaca), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and cat calling Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) which was heard almost continually whilst we were there, as were the many Perez's Frogs (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi).
Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum).
Just down the road we called in at a couple of spots along the banks of the Rio Cacín, one in the broad-leaved section and one in the pines. Between the two spots we added Pied (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) and Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Great Tits (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) as well as Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera) and Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria).
We briefly stopped at the crags below Moraleda but saw nothing new so we continued on to Balsa de Rigedor, (RANT !!!!) where I was appalled by the amount of rubbish that is being dumped there since the pool has been used by fishermen, why is whenever a spot is used for recreation purposes it is almost always turned into a dumping ground for the lazy prats that can not be bothered to take their rubbish to a bin or home with them. I am not sure whether it is because these people are just dumb, stupid, uneducated or lazy, which ever it is it is just unacceptable (RANT OVER).
Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria).
Any way even with all the rbbish on the banks we managed to find quite a few Dragonfly species including Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii), Small Red-eye (Erythromma viridulum), White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes), Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi), Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata) and Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria).
New birds were few but we saw a single Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) before we returned to the hotel and Ian headed back towards Antequera and I went home.

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