Monday 8 October 2018

La Malaha and the Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

Birding the local patch with Jo Knight from New Zealand.

Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis).
I met Jo in Granada and we headed straght out into the campo to a spot near La Malaha where we checked out a semi disused Cortijo where we had good views of several Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) as well as Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and a distant but noisy Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis).
Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis).
We moved just down the road out into the fields where we made our next stop seeing lots of Collared Doves (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) which was hunting from some nearby pylons, Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
We moved just down the road where we again scanned the fields picking up a cracking Iberian Grey Shrike in a young almond tree, 17 Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) out on a stubble field and lots of Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) which came past in small groups.
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
In the same area we had a female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and lots of Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
We went across country to the fields near Moraleda adding Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) on the way, once we were out on the fields we picked up Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and just as we were about to move on we found a couple of the target Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which were distant and through a heat haze but good to see and around 40 or so Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus).
Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
Some butterflies were also recorded during the visit to this site including Large White (Pieris brassicae), Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Cardinal Fritillary (Argynnis pandora), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).
We dropped down off the fields into the valley and then made a stop in the pine trees where we had views of Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) and Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus).
Further along the Valley at the nearby bridge we made another stop hearing and seeing Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes), Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula).
Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
Just up the road we stopped at the Contra-embalse de Cacín and scanned the water and margins finding Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and a couple of latish European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) which were moving down the valley.
On our way back towards Granada we crossed the ridge to Ventas de Huelma and then on to the city making one last stop on the way and finished the day list off with Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia) and Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata). We returned to the city and Jo headed back to her hotel and I went home.

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