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.

Tuesday 28 July 2020

Huétor Fields, Granada Province, Spain.

A walk back from the Mechanic's across the local patch.

I drove down to the Mechanic's, on the way picking up Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur). I then walked the 7KM back to the house seeing House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), the escaped Barnical Goose (Barnacla Cariblanca / Branta leucopsis) was still by the river with the many Greylag type domesticated geese and several Muscovy Ducks (Cairina moschata).
On the far side of the town I continued on across the fields finding Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) female, Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).

Sunday 26 July 2020

12 miles off Rota and Bonanza Saltpans, Cadiz Province.

Out at sea, a quick trip around the saltpans and then a long wait for the breakdown truck.

All masked up and underway.
I was up and about at 05.30 and on my way down to the port of Rota where I dropped lucky with a freeby parking slot right outside the gates. I walked inside and the bar where we were meeting was just opening, I walked in for a coffee and met David Elliot-Binns who was already there. 
Leaving Rota.
Shortly afterwards Derek Etherton and a friend who I don't know the name of (Sorry). We were soon joined by a couple of guys from Gibraltar and shortly after this Javi and Rafa arrived.
Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus).
We made our way down to the boat and Pepe the Captain let us on board and after the chum was on board and we had a safety brief we set off.
Possible Scopoli’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea)??????
We motored out for quite a while picking up the odd Cory's (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris borealis) and Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus), Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Audouin's Gulls (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) and much to our suprise just before we reached the first big feeding groups at about 8 miles out some of the group had 3 Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and then even more unexpected a Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
Cory's Shearwater (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris borealis).
When we reached a large group of around 400 or so Shearwater Javi soon had the chum over the side which pulled in large numbers of Cory's and it appears from photo's Scopoli’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) also visited the area as well as a couple of Great Shearwaters (Pardela Capirotada / Puffinus gravis) which was my number one target for the trip and a single Manx Shearwater (Pardela Pichoneta / Puffinus puffinus) which was bird of the trip for Javi.
Possible Scopoli’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea)??????
In the same feeding area we also recorded a single Pomarine (Págalo Pomarino / Stercorarius pomarinus) and several Great Skua's (Págalo Grande / Stercorarius skua) and a couple more Northern Gannets.
Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus).
Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus).
Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) and
Scopoli’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea)????.
Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus).
The next couple of hours were spent crusing but we did not come across much so we started to head back to the area where we had seen the big numbers of birds and chummed again. 
Great Skua (Págalo Grande / Stercorarius skua).
Great Skua (Págalo Grande / Stercorarius skua).
Another different Pom Skua came in along with most of the already seen species but we did not get any of the hoped for Petrel species.
Pomarine Skua (Págalo Pomarino / Stercorarius pomarinus).
At around 14.00 we got back in to Rota and after a coffee we all headed off, I went out to Bonanza Saltpans and had a quick look round finding Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea), Black-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa), Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus), Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), Western Cattle (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Little Tern (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons), Night (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax), Purple (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea) and Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax), Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), White Stork (Ciguena Blanca / Ciconia ciconia), Slender-billed Gull (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
Manx Shearwater (Pardela Pichoneta / Puffinus puffinus).
I was on my way out but made a stop to look through a flock of Godwits and when I tried to start the car again there was nothing, battery was fine so I guessed the Starter Motor had packed in. I got on the phone but struggled to get through so I call friends Howard and Santi who soon found me the new number I needed and not long after that I was sorted and waiting for the breakdown guy to arrive. 
Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus).
Considering where I was it only too two extra phone calls and a little longer than usual before the guy was there and agreed it was the motor so he gave me a quick tow, got the car going and I was on my way to the hotel to collect my stuff and then on my way home.
Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) being checked by a couple of Shearwaters 8 miles out.
On the way I did see Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki).
Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus).

Great Shearwater (Pardela Capirotada / Puffinus gravis).
Feeding Shearwaters.
Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea).
Black-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa).
Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta) Immature.