Friday 29 June 2018

Moraleda Fields, La Malaha, Bermejalis, and the Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

A day on the far side of the Patch with Steven from Órgiva.

Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) immature.
I met Steven just out side Moraleda de Zafaona and we headed straight out on to the fields nearby, as we made our way through the Almonds and Olives we started the day list off with Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), several Woodpigeons (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and the first of several Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) immature.
Once we were up on the flat areas above, still amongst the Almonds we found one of the days main targets, an immature Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) which showed well until Steve raised the camera and predictably it flew off. In this area we also had our first of a few Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Crested Larks, Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), the first Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) of the day, as well as Onopordum nervosum a very tall thistle, Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus) and Iberian Brown Hare (Liebre ibérica / Lepus granatensis).
Once we were out of the trees we searched the fields for new species and followed a group / family party of Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops) in to a solitary old Almond in the middle of a cut cereal field where we also found a second but this time immature Little Owl. In the same area we had 3 Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) fly past us and drop into the stubble by the ruined Cortijo.
Immature Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) being mobbed by a Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica).
As we drove off the fields we passed the ruin where there were at least two more Little Owls on the cortijo and in the weeds around the walls we picked up Iberian Scarce (Iphiclides feisthameli) and Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Small White (Pieris rapae), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina) and Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea). Down in the next dip a nice male Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) which went straight into stealth mode when we arrived and hid well amonsgt the rows of cereal cuttings.
As we left the site we had a Greater Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) which flew up from the track and out into the field.
Immature Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) being mobbed by a Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica).
Our next stop was a regular site for me where I have been watching several pairs of Little Owls in a row of old Almonds for a few ears now and today they could not have cooperated better. One particular immature walked up and down a branch on a dead roadside tree and showed superbly for us. Along here we also had Barn Swallow, House Martins, House Sparrows, European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) and a Large Psammodromus (Lagartija colilarga / Psammodromus algirus) which sat on the road as we drove past.
We went across country to the fields near La Malaha where we had a flyby Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) but it was gone far to quickly to get good views. 
Immature Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
We drove right through the site out to Ventas de Huelma adding a belting immature Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) which was being mobbed by a Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica). On a wire fence we saw Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), 2x soaring Booted Eagles (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) which I had a brief view of but Steven missed, Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) and Spotless Starling
We went through Ventas de Huelma and drove down toward Embalse de Bermijalis making a roadside stop finding Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax). 
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) immature.
We had lunch just down the hill by the Embalse before going over the dam and into the pine woodlands by one of the inflows to the lake. We parked and walked around the inlet where we saw a family party of Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) up in the trees and down in the mudd channel Grey (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus). We also had several more Common / Southern and African Grass Blue (Zizeeia knysna), Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and Perez's Frog (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) immature.
We moved just up the road to a spot over looking the Gorge of the Cacín where we stopped at two spots and picked up singing Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Mediterranean skipper (Gegenes nostrodamus), Wild Caper (Capparis spinosa), Sedum sediforme and Field Eryngo (Eryngium campestris).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) adult.
Our next stop was further up the Valley at the Embalse de Cacín where we quickly found our second Golden Eagle flying along a nearby ridge. Out on the water we found Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), 4x Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), 2x Green Sandpipers and in the marginal reeds Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), We also heard a Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei) distantly back down the valley and saw a male Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) shoot off from the top of one of the many Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro).
Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator).
Just down the road we had a walk along the Rio Cacín and had good views of a calling Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla), we also heard Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and saw a male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes), Squirting Cucumber (Ecballium elaterium), Pitch Trefoil (Psoralea bituminosa), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum) and Blue Alkanet (Anchusa azurea) which was covered in Small Whites and Clouded Yellows.
4x Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
Our last stop on our before returning to Steven's car was back up on the Moraleda Fields where We picked up Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), another Roller which Steven had good views of and even more Little Owls.
We dropped back down to the meeting point and Steven headed off to Orgiva and I drove home seeing a flock of 13 Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) as I washed the car in Huétor.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Pinos Genil and the Outskirts of Granda City, Granada Province.

A really nice evening with three good friends.

Glow Worm possibly (Nyctophila reichii).
Jayne and I met Beatriz, Juan and Chika and went up to Pinos Genil where we sat by the river at Restaurante Mesón Casa Guillermo and had a few drinks and some excellent food. Whilst there I noticed White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
We sat chatting for quite a while then walked back to the car and headed back to our car near Juan's where we went for a very short walk to a spot in a built up area. For the last few nights there had been a single Glow Worm possibly (Nyctophila reichii) but when we got there there were three nice females glowing low down on a wall. Very nice find by Juan and Beatriz as they are extremely rare this far south on the peninsular.

Monday 25 June 2018

Near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

Roasting in the hide for a couple of hours.

House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) adult male.
I decided and I really don't know why to go and sit in the hide on the bottom terrace for a couple of hours to see what came in to drink at the pool. Surprisingly little was the answer, only House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and a Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) which was so quick I missed it drinking and only got it preening in the Quince tree. There were lots of Paper Wasps (Polistes major) coming down and floating on the surface collecting water and a few Small Whites (Pieris rapae) and Speckled Woods (Pararge aegeria) belting around in between the bushes and herbs. Perez's Frogs (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi) were all over the Lily pads, some very young ones but a couple of older boys who were very vocal.
House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) adult female.
I could hear Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) and Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) but frustratingly none were thursty !!!
Just before I packed in a very smart youngish Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida) showed but was to close for me to focus on it and as I pushed up the front of the hide to finish I bent down to pick up my hat only to find a young Montpellier Snake (Malpolon monspessulanus) curled up on it cooling down. 
House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) youngster.
House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) adult male having a bath.
House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus).
Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).