Saturday 6 April 2019

Near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

A passing Raptor.

As Jayne and I were talking to friends out side on the front terrace Jayne picked up a large raptor off in the distance so I rushed in and got the bins. I came out and was pleased to see it was not the expected Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) which we see regularly over the house but a passing Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) heading East dodging the showers.

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

A rare full day on my favorate hill.

Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
I met Neal and Ronna in the Abades service area and after a coffee we set off for a good look around the Sierra starting on the track along the side of the motorway towards the first quarry. On the verge we found the first Yellow Bee Orchids (Ophrys lutea) as well as flocks of Serins (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and a couple of  Mistle Thrushes (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus).
Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea).
Just along the track in the quarry we scanned the crags and turned up the first of several Black Wheatears (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) as a fine looking male showed well for us whilst we were listened to a singing Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and watched several Woodpigeons (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) in the Almonds above us.
Whilst we were there a pair of Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) flew in and did a circet of the quarrey before disappearing over the pines.
As we started to climb up the first slope a Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) flew in front of us and landed on the roadside showing very well and in the back ground a Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) ran over the rocks and up a pine tree.
We got out of the car and straight away added Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and the first group of Iberian  Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) which were new for Neal.
We went just up the road and took the track up to the second quarry which was quiet but we did see several Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), a couple of calling Rock Buntings (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Rock Dove (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia) as well as Mistle Thrush again and another singing Wren, Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), a pair of Black Wheatears, Greenfinch and as we walked back down the track we saw several spikes of Southern Early Purple (Androrchis Olbiensis) and Fan-lipped Orchid (Orchis colina), Field marigold (Calendula arvensis), Common Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum), Andalusian Storksbill (Erodium recorderi) and Viola dementria.
Black-eared Wheatears (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) male.
We moved on over the hill as I wanted to get to the far side as quickly as possible so we could come back slowly, on the way out we did stop briefly a couple of times picking up several Black-eared Wheatears (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), a female Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), a couple of Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) one of which was roosting but the second was definatly hunting, Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), both male and female Blue-rock Thrushes (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and a pair of high level Common Magpies (Urraca / Pica pica).
Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) male.
Passing Charca Negro we went out along the far crags and right out to the flat lands further on, on the way we made a couple of stops seeing a small group of female Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica) and amongst the Hawthorns and added a female Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and down towards the flat land area several Subalpine Warblers (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) were singing from some of the stunted oak trees along with a couple of Woodchat Shrikes (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), a singing Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and a calling Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus).
Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
We started to make our way back stopping several times including at the pools of Charca del Negro where we had views of several Sharp-ribbed Salamanders (Pleurodeles waltl), Natterjack Toads (Sapo Corredor / Bufo calamita) and a very small but smart Andalucian Wall Lizard (Podarcis vaucheri).
Female Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
In the same area we had a passing male Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) being mobbed by several Jackdaws and a flock of around 30 or so European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) which whizzed very quickly through heading East.
Southern Early Purple (Androrchis Olbiensis).
In the same area we had a good number of Painted Lady's (Vanessa cardui), a stunning but flighty Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), Yellow Rockrose (Helianthemum nummularium), Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis) and just down the track in a small dell Moroccan Orange-tip (Anthocharis belia), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), the none flowering Upland Peony (Paeonia coriacea) and a young male Spanish Ibex.
We dropped even further down and spent a while watching a stunning male Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) before again dropping right down onto the crags seeing a distant Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos). On the track down the slope we parked up and spent some times watching Dartford (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) along with Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Small White (Pieris rapae) and Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes).
Young male Spanish Ibex.
We made another couple of stops as we dropped down through the pine woods and found Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp tenthredinifera), Buckler Mustard (Biscutella frutescens), Mediterranean Catchfly (Silene colorata), Spring Rockcress (Arabis verna), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major).
Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata).
We went down and under the motorway to our last stop and found several spikes of Giant Orchids (Himantoglossum robertiana) and a single flowering Somber Bee (Ophrys fusca / foresteri) and along a short track into the Oaks Rusty-back Fern (Ceterach officinarum), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) and Bonelli's Warbler, Serin, Greenfinch and Blackbirds.
Buckler Mustard (Biscutella frutescens).
We headed back to our start point after having a cracking day up on these stunning mountains, thanks to Neal and Ronna for their company on this day.

Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp tenthredinifera).
Spring Rockcress (Arabis verna).
Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater).

Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater).

Giant Orchids (Himantoglossum robertiana).
A plate size Lichen species.

Tuesday 2 April 2019

Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

First Black-winged Kites for several years on the patch today.

Another quick scan across the local patch whilst on my way to the town, on the fields around and on the banks of the Arroyo Vilano I picked up Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and then out on the far side of the fields in a group of large Fig trees I spotted a Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) which was the first on the site for several years but even more pleasing was that I then found a second bird perched in a nearby Oak tree.
Over the fields on the far bank I saw a single male Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), then a second and then a third and by the time I finished counting there were at least six birds displaying and chasing each other through the sky.
In the area I also recorded Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).

Monday 1 April 2019

Huétor Fields and Padul Wetlands, Granada Province.

Some new species for the year list.

I started the day with a quick look down on the fields as I drove down to Huétor, I started along the side of the Arroyo Vilano where I could see at least 3 Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), a pair of Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), calling Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and the first Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) for my year list.
I moved to the eastern end of the Arroyo adding Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), a couple of Meadow Pipits (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), another year tick in the shape of a singing Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) in the far bank reed beds, a Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago) and Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) which did battle several times and on the way back along the track my first Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) for the year.
I got sorted in town and went back home before Jayne and I went up to Granada where Jayne had a walk around the Nevada Shopping Centre whilst I went down to Padul to try and see one of the two male Little Crakes ( Polluela Bastarda / Porzana parva) which good friend Juan Pérez Contreras had seen a couple of days earlier. As I walked in there were several Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs),
I sat down on the side of the track and watched the area quietly but the silence was soon broken by a bus load of nice but noisy school kids, they moved on and I again waited picking up Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Cetti's Warbler, Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
After a while I turned around and found Juan had turned up so we started to look for the Crake and it flew in after a few minutes, landed on a branch and shot into cover not even giving me chance to reach for the camera let along get any shots.
We also had Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major),  Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata) and Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea).
I went back to the Nevada Centre and we went and had some lunch before going into the City and then to Brico before going home.