Wednesday 18 April 2018

Laguna de la Ratosa and surroundings, Malaga Province.

A trip out to the garden centres in Cabra and then out to Laguna de la Ratosa near Alameda.

Jayne and I headed out towards Antequera and then north to the town of Cabra where we visited a couple of local garden centres where we picked up quite a few nice plants for the terraces.
Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
We got around the garden centres quicker than expected so we headed to the garden centres around Antequera, during the drive around I saw Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica).
Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
Later we went back up the motorway towards Cordoba and came off towards Alameda and the out to Laguna de la Ratosa where we found plenty of water, quite a lot where it would not normally be forming pools in fields. During a drive around the site we saw lots of Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Little (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Gull-billed (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) and Whiskered Terns (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus), Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax), Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae).
Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator).
I also saw a few butterflies around the lake including Bath (Pontia daplidice), Large (Pieris brassicae) and Small Whites (Pieris rapae) and Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea).
We headed back to the motorway and had lunch just before driving back home.

Monday 16 April 2018

La Malaha and the Cacín Valley with Kathleen and Richard from Seattle in the USA.

Birding in the valley and east to Granada City.

Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
I picked Kathleen and Richard up in the city and we headed South and then West towards La Malaha making out first stop at a run down Cortijo on the way where we counted at least 15 Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) as well as lots of Feral Pigeons (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), 2 or 3 calling Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), singing Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and over head a flock of Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) which were heading up to the City rubbish dump followed closely by a single Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea).
Male Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).
We moved further West to an agricultural area near La Malaha and as we drove along the road through the site we picked up the first of a great many Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) which were singing from roadside perches, lots of vocal Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and the star birds at least 5 calling male Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) one of which further around the site sat close to the track and gave us good views. We also heard Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix), had a small group of 5 or so Greater Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) fly over us.
Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
On the verge the wildflowers were attracting quite a lot of white butterflies including Bath (Pontia daplidice), Western Dappled (Euchloe crameri) and Small Whites (Pieris rapae).
Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
After crossing the area on several different tracks we made our way towards the Cacín Valley, on the way we stopped off at what until recently had been a nice Poplar plantation but it had been felled since my last visit, however we had good views of 3 Booted Eagles (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) 2 of which were pale phase birds which appeared to be seeing off a dark phase individual. 
Male Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).
In the same area we saw or heard Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei) and Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and just a short way along the same road we had distant views of my first Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) of the year and a couple of very smart Great Spotted Cuckoo's (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) which showed well along the roadside.
Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus).
We made one more stop before we reached the town of Cacín where we picked up a group of calling European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) as they passed through and a Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) which dropped off a rock before Kathleen and Richard could get on to it.
Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius).
We dropped down into Cacín to pick up some food for later but found all the bars were closed so we went for a walk along the Rio Cacín, the site was much more open after all the Poplar plantations were felled and the town hall removed almost all the river side vegetation.
Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus).

We did however manage to find both male and female Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Cetti's  (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and newly arrived Bonelli's (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and Melodious Warblers (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) for Kathline and I and back by the car a calling and seen zipping away in flight Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) and a very elusive Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis) which popped out of a bramble patch for a couple of second and the disappeared back in not to reappear. 
Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus).
As we were leaving we crossed the bridge adding a very smart White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) on the waters edge.
Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca).
We made a quick stop at an area of Poplars where we saw several of the species seen earlier but added a rather late male Siskin (Lúgano / Carduelis spinus).
Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus).
Our next stop was back up the Valley at the Embalse where we walked down to the bank above the water where we watched a smart Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus) which was still not in full summer plumage but nice even so. Other species included Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina) and in amongest the commoner ducks a good find in the shape of a Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca).
Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata).

Also in the area we found Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), House (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Sand (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and another Melodious Warblers. We also found Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa), Perez's Frog (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi) and Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus).
Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus).
Just up the road we stopped at the river again and checked the place from the bridge and we were pleased to find a very smart male Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus) along with Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), a couple of drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Large White (Pieris brassicae) and Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes).
Greater Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla).
We moved on to the fields near to Moraleda but there was a great deal of activate in the area which mainly appeared to be the planting of even more Olives. As we drove around the site we caught up with Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and more Thekla Larks which showed well. As we reached the far side of the site I was very upset to find that the old Oak tree which had stud in one of the fields and had a Rollers nest in it for a good number of summers had been hacked down so that a couple more Olives could be planted in its place, Very very sad. On our way off the site we picked up a group of at least 3 Greater Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) under the Olives.
Greater Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla).
We left the site and started to make our way back to the city picking up just a single Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) at a regular spot on the way through.
Thanks to Kathleen and Richard for your company on this day tour and hope you enjoyed seeing my local patch and some of it wildlife.