Sunday 24 March 2019

Huétor Fields, Moraleda Fields, Cacín Valley and La Malaha Fields, Granada Province.

Birding on the regular patch with Olaf where we found two new species for my Cacín Valley list.

Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta).
I left the house and spent a few minutes sat along side the Rio Vilano and started my day list off with Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and a newly arrived pair of Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius).
Female Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca).
A little later I met Olaf from Berlin at Ventanueva as he got off the bus from Granada and we headed straight out on to the nearby fields Where we checked the eastern end of the Rio Vilano where we started off with more Little Ringed Plovers, White Wagtails, Spotless Starlings, House Sparrow, Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), a brief view of a female Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) which popped up on to some reeds and then disappeared in to them, several flyby Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), a noisy singing Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Corn Bunting, 27+ Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) which were feeding out on a flooded Lucern field, Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Woodpigeon,  some distant Iberian  Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) amongst the Egrets, Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Blackbird, Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), a pair of Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Serins (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Collared Doves, Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and a couple of Tree Sparrows (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus) amongest the finches.
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
We moved around to the Mesia road and checked the reedbeds but only found Zitting Cisticola and a couple of Red-legged Partridge.
We headed through the town and checked the poplar plantations on the Genil side where we had much better views of several Iberian Magpies and I picked up a pair of Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes), as well as a singing Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and just as we were leaving a fly over Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta).
Once we crossed the motorway we took to the tracks and out on to the fields near Moraleda where we soon found the first of a few Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), a very fine Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), a single Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) which soon shot from view through the Olives, a Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) which we only heard even though we searched in the rain for it, a Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei) also only heard and out on the fields nearby Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and a small flock of Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia).
Golden Eagles (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
We came down off the fields and just before we reached the village of El Turro we had a female Pheasant (Faisán Vulgar / Phaisanus colchicus) fly across the road and land in some scrub where we again had views as it flew off down the valley.
We our next stop in the Pines adding Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and a Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla).
Further along we stopped by the River bridge but only saw lots of Blackcaps and a singing Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
We stopped at the Northern end of the Contra Embalse where we walked out to the pylon view point and scanned the ducks below and found a single female Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca), several 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 down at the southern end Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) x1, Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) x8, Little Ringed Plover x 5, Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) x2 and the second new species for the valley a single Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta).
Golden Eagles (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
In the same area we also had a pair of Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and as we drove further along the valley a Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) which was being mobbed by a female Marsh Harrier.
At the far end of the gorge we parked and scanned the skys and eventually had distant views of the male Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus) as it flew North along with lots of Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
We drove back to Cacín where we collected a sandwich for lunch and then went up to the ridge and as we ate them 3 Golden Eagles (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) came into view down the road so we drove down and had good views as they tussled in the air.
Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).
Our last stop was out on the fields of La Malaha where we almost straight away picked up our first male Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) later we saw several more including a couple of males chasing a female over the fields. In the same area we had cracking views of several Great Spotted Cuckoo's as well as calling Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), calling Stone Curlews, Calandra Larks, Iberian Grey Shrike and as we were leaving the site a female Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus) came up from the side of the track leaving it still just about alive Woodpigeon meal.
We made our way back to the city where I dropped Olaf off near the post office and then ade my way home just adding a couple of soaring Common Buzzards (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).

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