Thursday 30 July 2020

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

A day with Barbara and Derek Etherton and Andy Patterson up from the coast out on the local patch.

Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
We all met up at the Cortijo de Tajar Hotel, had a coffee and then headed out towards the fields around Moraleda where we were looking for Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) but alas as hard as we tried we did not manage to find or even hear any.
However as we drove out on to the fields we soon had several Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) flying over the almonds and several Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) call amongst large numbers of adult and immature Goldfinches (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
Before we reached the higher area of fields we also added Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Iberian Brown Hare (Liebre ibérica / Lepus granatensis).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
Up on the top fields we did not catch up with very much but in the heat at this time of year it was not surprising, we did find Rock Doves (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), a passing Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), the first Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) of several for the day, an adult Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and as we left the area we had a washed out looking adult Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and a Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli) on roadside plants.
As we headed over to another part of the area known as El Temple we picked up a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) which was sat n a roadside Oak tree, at least 3 Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) in some old Almonds, a male Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) which was sat on wires and on the way across the next site Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), loads more Hoopoes which seemed to be just about everywhere and at our first stop we found a pair of the cracking little Black-winged Kites (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus), along with a small group of Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni). 
Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) immature.
We dropped of the top fields down into a nearby valley and as we crossed the area heading to Ventas de Huelma we found a few Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), a dark morph Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) and on a fence an immature Roller.
We crossed from Venta de Huelma to the Cacín Valley adding a distant Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica).
We stopped in Cacín Village for a drink before making our way up the valley to the Contra Emalse de Cacín, on the way we stopped in a spotunder some trees by the River and found a female Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum), African Grass Blue (Zizeeia knysna), 2 or 3 Common Crossbills (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) and a fly through Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur).
We moved on up to the lake, the water level was high but a dozen Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) still managed to wade out in the shallower areas and a smart Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) was sat up in some dead branches along with a White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
Female Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum).
Out on the water good numbers of Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina) and Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos). 
We also had a Sand Martin (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) before we dropped down to the bridge over the river below the dam finding Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea) and Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera).
We made two more stops, the first in the pines where we only added Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) and the second was to look at the cliffs elow Moreleda but it was dam hot by now and we only managed to see a single Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and a male Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula).
Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator).
The final species of the day was a Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) on Balsa de Rigedor as we shot past on the motorway, we finished of with a drink at the hotel and then headed to our home. It was great to see you all and thanks for coming up.

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