Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Sierra de Loja and Western slopes, Granada Province.

Straight back in to some super local birding with Mehdi and Tatiana from Switzerland.

Eagle Owls (Buho Real / Bubo bubo).
After arriving back home from the UK at 01:15 in the morning I was out birding with Mehdi and Tatiana by 08:00 and met them at the Abades and we went up the tracks to the lower quarry and were soon watching a Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) one of the main targets for Mehdi which Tatiana picked up on the slopes by the car.
Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia).
A few minutes later we were also watching a couple of Eagle Owls (Buho Real / Bubo bubo), in one hole there was an immature bird which was being watched over by an adult from the upper hole.
Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata).
In the quarry and along the track we soon found a Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) with a mouthful of grubs,  pair of Black Wheatears (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), a group of jingling Serins (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and a couple of calling Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata).
As we walked up and down the track we also found Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida), Large Psammodromus (Psammodromus algirus), Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus), Yellow Phlomis (Phlomis lychnitis), Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum), Southern Wild Tulip (Tulipa sylvestris ssp. australis) which had gone to seed, Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Navel-wort (Omphalodes commutata), Mediterranean Catchfly (Silene colorata), Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Common Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum), Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis) and several spikes of the beautiful Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia).
Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia).
We drove further up on to the tops and right out to the furthest point where we were looking for the Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) which we found but had very brief views as a pair flew around the corner of a crag not to be seen again, typical. 
Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa).
In the same area we had good numbers of Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and in one of the Hawthorn bushes around the corner a singing male Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis) which showed briefly but well for us.
Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida).
We moved back down along the crags looking for the Rock Thrush but we did not see them again, however we did see Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
By the pool of Charca del Negra we found Sharp-ribbed Salamanders (Pleurodeles waltl) and Natterjack Toads (Sapo Corredor / Bufo calamita) coming up through the Pond Water Crowsfoot (Ranunculus Peltatus), we also heard a calling Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis) off in the distance.
Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).
We dropped down the hill picking up Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Rock Dove (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) and a fine Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) which showed well for us. 
Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata).
We then took the road to the west making a stop in the bar in Venta del Raya for a baggette or two (Mehdi) seeing a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) on the way and whilst we were sat there we heard a Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) which was hiding in trees on the other side of the road.
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
We moved on to a spot just down the road and took to a track where we had some great views of several Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) over the Olive groves and cereal fields, in the same area we also had Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus boeticus), Western Dappled (Euchloe crameri) and Small Whites (Pieris rapae).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
We drove back to Venta del Raya and took a small road off west and just as we turned the corner we saw a couple of stunning European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) on the wires and further along the track Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and a Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major).
Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus).
Our last stop of the day was at Laguna Grande, on the drive up the track we had a single Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes) fly across the track and Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) on the track, when we arrived at the pool we were surprised that it was still full to the brim and held a family group of 2 adult and 3 immature Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), a well hidden Purple Heron (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea) and in the surrounding we had Sardinian, two very close Bonelli's (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and a difficult to find but singing Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) and Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus).
Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus).
We returned to the Service area where I said goodbye to Mehdi and Tatiana before heading home.

Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur).

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