Friday 31 August 2018

Home near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

A low flying Golden Eagle just above the house.

Jayne, Barb and I were having a quiet afternoon on the terrace when Jayne spotted this superb immature (probably 2CY bird) Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) which soared over the house long enough for me to run inside and grab the camera and get these shots and for Barb to get the bins on it and have good views. Nice one Jayne.

Thursday 30 August 2018

Grazalema, Cadiz Province.

A day visit to see Sue and Sam near Grazalema.

Lobed Orb Weaver (Argiope lobata) underside.
Jayne, Barb and I drove over to Sue and Sam's place to see them as it had been a long time since our last visit. On the way over we saw several Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
Lobed Orb Weaver (Argiope lobata) upperside.
Once we arrived we spent quite a while chatting and having a drink before Sam and I went to look for some veg down at the end of the patch, on the way around the house and in the fields I saw Western Subalpine (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Western Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) which were passing over all day, Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Green (Pito Real / Picus viridis) and Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and a female Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus) which was passing through the garden.
Later in the day we all went for a walk along a track nearby out into the area called La Rana on the way out we saw Wasp Spider (Arana Tigre / Argiope bruennichi), Lobed Orb Weaver (Argiope lobata), Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum), Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia), Purple Hairstreak (Quercusia Quercus), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Booted Eagle, Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and
Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater).
When we got back from the walk Sue pointed out a nice Male European Dwarf Mantis (Ameles spallanzania).

Wasp Spider (Arana Tigre / Argiope bruennichi) female.
Wasp Spider (Arana Tigre / Argiope bruennichi) male.
Purple Hairstreak (Quercusia Quercus).
Male European Dwarf Mantis (Ameles spallanzania).

Wednesday 29 August 2018

La Malaha and the Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

A day out on the local patch with Steph and Mike.

Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).

I left the house and crossed the Huétor fields on my way out to the motorway seeing Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and a Nightjar species on the way up to the city where I met Steph and Mike at their hotel and we headed out towards La Malaha. On the way we saw Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and at a disused Cortijo on the way our first of a few Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) as well as some finly plumaged Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia) with some looking spot on for Rock Doves and others not so convincing!!!
We continued on from here and out on to a large agricultural area were we scanned the fields and pylons picking up a good number of both male and female Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), 4 or 5 female / immature Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), a very smart Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) which gave us nice views in the scope, lots of Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) which were already pushing on hard west, a pair of Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) which were sat out on bails in the stubble fields and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) which were every where.
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
We took to the tracks and went up on to the higher fields, on the way up we had more Hoopoe's, an immature Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), a flock of 40 or so Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and 4 Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
Up on the tops we stopped and listened and soon had a pair of calling Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which were followed by another singleton which came in closer and another group of three birds but they remained more distant. A couple of calling Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) came up from over the ridge and we had both Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) calling as the flew over and a very fast moving Iberian Brown Hare (Liebre ibérica / Lepus granatensis) which flushed as we got out of the car.
Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra).
As we were driving off the site we picked up Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
Grasshopper species.
Our next stop was along the row of Almond trees where we again found our friendly Juv Little Owl who was so relaxed he could hardly even open his eye to check on us. 
But just up the road on the Moraleda Fields area we got a very different reaction from another two birds, this time one adult and an immature who were quite obviously less pleased to see us.
Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi).
The fields were quiet but we dd see a good 40 or so Calanadra Larks in a flock, the first Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) of the day, Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Scarce / Spanish Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius / Iphiclides feisthameli), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and well away from any water an immature male Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) as well as both male and female Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
Female Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii).
we dropped down into the Cacín Valley and made a stop in the pines seeing a Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), both Pied (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) and Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), a female Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) and then a large flock of raptors which were all Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) except for a single Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), a great bit of migration.
Female Violet Dropwings (Trithemis annulata).
Further down the valley we stopped by the bridge over the rio and found a couple of female Violet Dropwings (Trithemis annulata) on the Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) plant spikes. We also had Bridge Spider (Larinioides sclopetarius), Carpentor Bee (Xylocopa violacea), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla).
Female Violet Dropwings (Trithemis annulata).
Just up the road at the Contra-embalse the water level was a bit high so there were no waders but we did add Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), a distant European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia), Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro) and Perez's Frog (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi).
Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus).
We dropped further south and then up on to the ridge between Cacín and Ventas de Huelma but added just a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and three pale phase Booted Eagles (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus).
Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).
On our way back into the city we saw two more pale phase and and immature Booted Eagles before I dropped Steph and Mike back to their hotel in the centre of the city and then headed off home.

Monday 27 August 2018

Bonanza and Playa de Montijo, Cadiz Province.

Windy, wet and dusty Saltpans and the Playa was not much better. Some good birds even if the weather was not kind.

Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina).
We left the hotel and headed North to Jerez del la Frontera where Jayne and Barb went shopping (successfully we found on our return) and Lynn, Steve and I went to the Salinas's at Bonanza which were just half an hour away.
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
We arrived and drove up the central track where we started the list off with Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and a large group of feeding Slender-billed Gulls (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei).
Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus).
Further along by the first pump house we found good numbers of Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba), Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea), some Avocets (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta) and quite a few diving Little Terns (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons).
Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina).
We turned right at the top of the track and went down to the pump house at the far end which was working a full flow, we spent some time scanning through the flocks of waders and gulls in this area and found Black-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa), Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluviali squatarola), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Greenshank (Archibebe Claro / Tringa nebularia), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus) and 4x Caspian Tern (Pagaza Piquiroja / Sterna caspia) which flew past during the time we were sat in the car avoiding getting sand-blasted by the dust, wind and rain that blew up very rapidly and made a right mess every where. Steve did not get back to the car in time but managed to shelter behind the pump house but was going to need to give his kit a flick with the duster!!!!
Slender-billed Gull (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei).
Anyway once it had passed Lynn and I were out again adding a group of Lesser Short-toed Larks (Terrera Marismena / Calandrella rufescens) to the day and year list as well as Eurasian Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and a fishing Western Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus) which stooped once and the disappeared into the distance.
Eurasian Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia).
It started to rain again so we got back into the car and drove back down towards the junction but on the way we saw two Black Stork (Ciguena Negra / Ciconia nigra) appear to drop in further along the track so we went straight on and the took the right hand turn along side the soon to be refurbished saltpans but saw the birds in flight again and they disappeared off in to the distance. We had good views of more Spoonbills, Black-winged Stilts, a Whimbrel (Zarapito Trinador / Numenius phaeopus), Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) and Ruddy Turnstone (Vuelvepiedras Común / Arenaria interpres).
Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina).
During the drive around we also had quite a few Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii), a Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) and what I was fairly sure was a Vagrant Emperor (Emperatriz emigrante / Anax ephippiger) but it dived into cover when the rain and dust cloud arrived.
A good mix of Waders, Gull and Greater Flamingo's.
We left Bonanza and headed down the coast to Playa de Montijo and parked on the beach and then went for a walk looking for waders and terns. there were several Whimbrels, loads of Ruddy Turnstones and Sanderling, Grey, Ringed and Kentish Plovers, 5x Pied Oystercatchers (Ostrero Euroasiatico / Haematopus ostralegus), masses of Little Terns, several Sandwich (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis) and half a dozen Common (Charrán Común / Sterna hirudo), 2x Whiskered (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus) and a Black (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger).
Little Tern (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons).
We got back to the car and went in to Jerez and pick Jayne and Barb up before having a steady drive back to the house.
Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus).
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus).
Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis).
Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluviali squatarola).
Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula).
Common Tern (Charrán Común / Sterna hirudo).

Sunday 26 August 2018

Tarifa, out at sea and Tarifa again, Cadiz Province.

A trip out to sea.

Heading out towards Morocco.
We all got up early and headed for Tarifa where Jayne and Barb had a wander around the town whilst Steve, Lynn and I headed out on a Whale watching trip from the port. During the chat I had with Javi Elorriaga Bts the day before he had mentioned that the sea temperatures were cold and that the smaller fish had not come in which meant that there were less Tuna so the Killer Whales had moved off and the sea bird numbers were also very low / nil but we still decided to head out. 
Long-finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala melas).
Javi was spot on, apart from a single very distant Scopoli's / Cory's Shearwater (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea / borealis) and a few Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) birds were no existent. However we did a little better on the Sea Mammal front but not as well as we had hoped, we did see a small pod of Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis), several Long-finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala melas) and a couple of Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) just as we were about to head for port.
Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis).
Once back on dry land we collected the car, picked up Jayne and Barb and went back down to the car park where we had parked the day before and walked into town where we had some lunch and a wander around the streets, I again heard but did not see the Garden Bulbul (Bulbul Naranjero / Pycnonotus barbatus). 
Anchors on the quay at Tarifa.
On the way back to the hotel we called at the Mirador on the coast where we had an ice cream and picked up a few raptors which were being held back by a strong wind, these included Booted (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) and Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Honey Buzzard (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) and Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans) as well as large numbers of both Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster). 
Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) with Africa in the back ground.
We had a bit of a rest once we were back at the hotel and then went back out on the town for a repeat of the night before.
Jayne and Barb in the Tapas bar in La Linea.
The Door Ham at the bar.
Lynn and Steve also in the Tapas Bar.