Wednesday 19 September 2018

La Malaha fields and the Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

Out on the patch with Stella from Canada.

Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis).
I met Stella in Granada City and we headed straight out on to the Motorway through the morning traffic which all seemed to be going in to the city so we were quickly out at a semi disued Cortijo near La Malaha were we were instantly watching half a dozen Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) with two males sitting in an Almond tree showing all the nice features for a good ID as it was a new species for Stella, first of a few. In the same area we picked up Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), a couple of Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) sat up on the electric pylons and an immature White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) up on one of the lights.
Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis).
We drove past La Malaha and out on to the fields nearby, picking up several Collared (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and a single Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), an Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) which was sat up on wires along the road and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica). A little further along the we found an Western Osprey (Águila Pescardora / Pandion haliaetus) sat high up on one of the large pylons to our left and a Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) off to our right and quite a few more Lesser Kestrels in between along with another Iberian Grey Shrike and 3 Hoopoes
Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis).
We again moved a short way along the road and parked on one of the stubble fields and had a scan, we had a flock of migrating Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) moving off west, lots of Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), the first of 2x Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) which flew in and landed on a pylon, when it flew off Stella said its flying right but I was watching a bird which was flying left but we soon realized there were two birds.
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
Out on fields just a little further along we found 11 Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and a couple of calling Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) one of which we picked up in flight and watched where it landed which was near to the track we were going to take next so we went to find it but not before seeing a couple of Bath Whites (Pontia daplidice).
By the time we got there the bird had walked a long way and was on the opposite side of the track and flushed up when we got out of the car to scan for it but it circled us a couple of time, landed once before id dropped down out of view, brilliant show.
From the same spot we had a small group of 3 female / immature Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) come through as well as another 2x Short-toed Eagles, a single Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and a Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus).
Further along the track we had good numbers of Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), a couple of Melodious Warblers (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) which were feeding in track side weed and a female Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra) out on a ploughed field.
We exited the fields and went out onto the ridge on our way down to the Cacín Valley, we parked about a KM along the road and immideatly had good views of a pale phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) which was quickly followed by a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and a little further along the road another 2 Booted Eagles, Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus) and a fast flying Cardinal Fritillary (Argynnis pandora).
Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus).
Before we dropped down into the Valley we took a track off to the side to check out an old cortijo where we added Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) and Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) to the raptor list as well as a couple of Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli).
Down in the village of Cacín we had lunch before making a short walk along the river adding Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta), Small White (Pieris rapae) and Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria).
Our next stop was on the shore of the Embalse further up the Valley, on the water we picked out Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) heard only. In the air and general area Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) also only heard in the woods opposite, Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea).
Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus).
From the nearby bridge over the Cacín we had Carpentor Bee (Xylocopa violacea), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus).
In the Pine woodlands further along the valley we added three more species Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and a soaring Northern Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis).
Along the crags nearer to Moraleda we another stop and even though it had got quite warm we still managed to find a male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), 2x Black Wheatears (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
We started to make our way back in towards the City but finished of the day with a very nice Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and 2 more Short-toed Eagles which showed well for us on the way.