Wednesday 7 November 2018

Sierra de Loja, Huétor Fields, Granada Provice.

A day with 20+ members of the Andalucian Bird Society.

I met the group just off the A92 at the services near Loja where the day list was started off with a group of Iberian  Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), several House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and several flyover Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
The plan was to drive the 14km over to the far side of the site in one lump but we did have a couple of stops to have good views of several male Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and a couple of fine Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros).
Once we were in the main area we parked, walked and quickly found our first Ring Ouzels ( Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus) which were on the tops of some high rocks, during the visit we saw around 30 birds of both torquatus and alpestris subspecies.
As we walked along the track towards the crags lower down we heard and briefly saw a single Fieldfare (Zorzal Real / Turdus pilaris) as it disappeared from view over the ridge and away, as well as Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and as we left the road and took to the tracks Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and up on the cliffs above us 4 or 5 noisy but elusive Alpine Accentors (Acentor Alpino / Prunella collaris).
Some of the group stayed nearer to the main track whilst a few of us took to the ridge where we had another Black Wheatear, a small flock of Rock Sparrows, Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and several Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
We returned to the cars and dropped further along the track to where we were turning around but made a stop there and checked the fields and rocks finding more Thekla Larks, a nice male Rock Bunting, Black Redstart and a day time hunting Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
As we dropped down we had a male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) and made a stop along the crags where some of the group had a male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and then another couple of Alpine Accentors which most of the group got good views of. We finished this part of the day with Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax) along the crags, Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) in the woods as we dropped back to the parking where we had lunch and added Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
After lunch we headed to the fields to the North of Huétor Tajar and had a walk along one of the tracks out into the fields where we started by finding Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) and Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Sardinian Warbler, Black Redstart, Meadow Pipit, 20 odd Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), a single Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Common Stonechat and Common Chiffchaff.
We moved out on to the Mesia road side of the site and checked the channels and reed beds there finding a nice male Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica), Jackdaw, Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Red-legged Partridge, Iberian  Magpie, a flock of around 8 Reed Buntings (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Common Starling (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris), Corn Buntings and the last bird of the day a couple of Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) which dropped n just as the rain started. We all said our goodbyes and headed off in different directions home. Thanks to all those who attended and hope you all enjoyed the day despite the weather not being to kind. If anyone has any more photo's and you are happy for them to be used here please email them to me at lojawildlife@gmail.com

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