Wednesday, 27 February 2019

La Malaha and the Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

A cracking day with Peep Lassmann from Estonia.

Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni).
I picked Peep up early in Granada and we head out to an area near Padul well before light and listened for singing Lark species and we soon notched up Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) but as hard as we tried we could not hear any sign of the extreamly rare Dupont's Lark (Alondra Ricotí / Chersophilus duponti) which are difficult at best but when there are only a couple of birds in the area it is very hard going.
Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni).
We walked the tracks and added Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos),  Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus).
In the same area we also had several flowering Fan-lipped Orchids (Anacamptis collina), Fleshy-leaved Thymelaea (Thymelaea hirsuta), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and quite a few Rabbits (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus).
Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni).
We cut our losses and headed down to a nearby Cortijo where we had good views of Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) which flew around the site and perched on pylons and Almonds nearby.
We moved on to the fields near to La Malaha and were soon watching the first of four male Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) and a single female in the same area.
There were also really good numbers of Calandra Larsk (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) singing and chasing each other around the fields, a couple of calling Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), more Lesser Kestrels, White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and masses of Corn Buntings which were calling from every direction. It was now warming up a bit and there were a few Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) butterflies on the wing as well as a couple of
Clouded Yellows (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).
Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
We moved up on to the upper fields and soon found the first of several Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) all of which were sen only in flight but they were seen well. In the same area we had a couple of Great Spotted Cuckoo's (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius), a stunning pair of Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) which showed really well for us in a newly sprouting cereal field and as we were driving off the site a Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis) few across in front of us and a Common Starling (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris) was mixed in with several Spotless on a pylon. 
Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
we drove over to Ventas de Huelma and stopped for a coffee and grabbed a sandwich for later in a bar there before we drove the 14 Km over to the village of Cacín, we made a stop just out side the village and scanned the dead trees in the bottom of the valley but only had a few Blackcaps (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and another Hoopoe.
As we were dropping down towards Cacín we had great views of a stunning sub adult Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) as it soared right over our heads, the best views Peep had ever had.
Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus).
Down in the valley we turned south and as we drove down towards the gorge we had a soaring Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus) over the road so we did not bother to go down to the main gorge but still had a look at the "Roman Bridge" where we heard a singing Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and saw Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) and Large White (Pieris brassicae).
Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
Our next stop was back to the north along the valley at the Contra-embalse were we picked out a pair of Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta) as well as Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), a group of Iberian  Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) which we could hear in the Pines opposite but we did not manage to see them.
Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus).
Down at the river bridge we had views of Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), heard Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and flushed a Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago).
We again moved North to our final stop at the crags below Moraleda but we only added Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) to the day list before we headed back to the city so that Peep could be back in time for Piano Lessons he was giving in Granada.

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