Thursday 13 September 2018

Huetor Fields and Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

A return to the fields and back to the Sierra after a long break.

Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).
We started off the day with a walk along one of the trails out from the town where we started the day list with Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), House (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Tree Sparrows (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus) all sat on a chainlink fence with a female Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra) in the Corn behind them.
Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).
As we walked along we soon added Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and out on the fields to our left we had a good number of Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus).
First train through Huetor in a while.
Further on we had several flights of Woodpigeons (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) which dropped down onto the same fields as the Stone Curlews, Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), a calling Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and 21 Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) which merged in on fields.
Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata).
At the furthest point of the track we had a flighty Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and in a distant tree an immature Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and a male Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata).
We turned around and retraced our way back towards the car bt kept adding species all the way including Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and good numbers of European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) which were passing over high.
Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
Our next stop was out on the Eastern side of the area where we walked along a reed filled ditch and a fallow field which was full of reeds as well, we added Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and nearby on a more open stretch of the Arroyo Vilano a Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and a flyby Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis).
Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).
We turned around and crossed the site again heading for Loja but made a stop picking up Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and a Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) on the way.
Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
we accessed Sierra de Loja via the Salar track and crossed through to Loja adding quite a few new species for the day and trip list including Black-eared (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Black (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata), Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Mistle (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), a single Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and just as we started to drop down along the crags a huge shape flew up off some rocks to our left and soared up above us, this Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) gave Ron the chase he had missed on the first day.
Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) in a moody sky towards the end of the day.
We dropped down to the pine woods and stopped for one final time and added quite a few nice woodland species to the list including Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata). 
Also seen during the drive across the mountain we also saw Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus), Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), Long-tailed Blue (Lampides baeticus), lots of Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / Argynnis pandora), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and Oriental Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lupinnus).
Thanks to Bona and Ron for three very enjoyable days in their company and I hope you enjoyed the 117 species as much as I did. 

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