A cracking day right across the patch with Judy and Bob.
We headed out of the city in a more roundabout way than usual due to a market which set up whilst I was waiting to meet Judy and Bob as I was rather early.
Our first stop was a semi-ruined Cortjo which is now used as a Goat shelter and storage area but is also a good spot to find the stunning Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) and after a little while we got some really good views of a fine male in a nearby Almond tree.
In the same area we also picked up Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
We moved on down the road to the fields near La Malaha picking up Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) on the way and then out on the fields we had good numbers of singing
Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), a few more Leser Kestrels up on wire, Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) were everywhere, a distant Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) which was seen badly through a shimmering heat haze and 2 cracking Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) which showed brilliantly for us.
Just up the road we took to the fields and were soon watching at least 25 Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis), the flock started with just 4 but others joined them over the 20 minutes of so we were there. We also heard more Stone Curlews as well as Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).
From the fields we headed out on to the Almond grove ridge on our way to Cacín, on the way we stopped and checked an area of dead trees picking up Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), heard a Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), had views of a second Common Buzzard and then at a viewing point we had good views of an immature Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) which Bob picked up.
In the same area we had Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Rock Dove (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
Once we were over the ridge and through the town we made a quick stop at the river bridge over the Cacín where we added Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea).
We turned South and headed down the valley to the gorge where we dropped lucky and had brilliant views of a male Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus) which displayed for us up and down the cliff face opposite for several minutes before flying off down to the South.
Also seen on the rocks below us or in the air were Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Common Kestrel, Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
We headed back North passed Cacín and up to the Contra Embalse where we parked and scanned the water finding a pair of Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), 2x Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), Crag and House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), 2x Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and plenty of White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) flycatching from the dead branches in the lake.
By the bridge just up the road we added Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes) and Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula).
In the Pines further up the Valley there were some small birds in the canopy including Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus).
On our way back towards the city we made one last stop out on Moraldea Fields where we checked an old Cortijo and found a couple of Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Iberian Grey Shrike, Large White (Pieris brassicae) and Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera).