Thursday 10 September 2020

The Cacín Valley, Granada Province, Spain.

Out on the patch again for Monica and Ed's last day in the area.

Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and a Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus).
The three of us headed out towards Sierra de Loja via the fields where we saw the Eurasian Dotterel (Chorlito Carambolo / Eudromias morinellus) a couple of day ago but again there was no sign but we checked the Lucerne field where the farmers were watering, there were several Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and a single Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) which is still a rare bird locally.
In and around the same area we also saw House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), lots of Western Yellow Wagtails (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava flava and flavissima), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
Eurasian Eagle Owl (Búho Real / Bubo bubo).

We continued on and drove up to the second quarry on the lower slopes of Sierra de Loja, the main Sierra is still closed for another month or so. We parked at the turning circle and then walked up to the quarry, on the way we saw Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), as we walked into the quarry Dartford (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Willow (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus) and another Sardinian Warbler, Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Maritime Squill (Urginea maritima) and a Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina).
Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus).
We dropped back down the hill passing the lower quarry where we made a short stop for Ed to get some shots of another Black Wheatear, we also had Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
We drove up the motorway to the Moreleda exit and checked the crags below the town and quickly Monica came up with the goods when she found a very nice Eurasian Eagle Owl (Búho Real / Bubo bubo) sat up in one of the many small caves.
In the same area we had Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear, Crag Martin, Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Common Stonechat and above the crags three raptors, Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and Booted (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) and a Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus).
Desert Darter (Sympetrum sinaiticum).
Next stop was down at the Embalse de Cacín where we scanned the lake and margins finding Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus) and Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus).
In the sky we had our second Northern Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis) in two days, Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), a Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) which I think was my first for the site, Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Sand (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), Crag and House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and both Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica).
Desert Darter (Sympetrum sinaiticum).
We continued on down the valley to the gorge, the road was in very bad condition but we managed to make it through but it produced very little but we had nice views of lots of House Martins clinging to the cliffs where they nest naturally on the crags.
We moved on to our final stop of the day at a nearby Embalse and in a channel there we found several male Desert Darters (Sympetrum sinaiticum), along with Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) and a skulking Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus).
From here we drove back across country to the house.

Wednesday 9 September 2020

El Temple, Granada Province.

A second day out with Ed on my local patch (the far end).

Immature Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus).
Ed and I headed out to the A92 and then along towards Granada and to a site out on the El Temple area, on the way we saw a dozen or so Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus) which passed low over the Motorway, Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans).
Once we reached the site we parked on the side of the road and scanned the fields and quickly found a pair of Black-winged Kites (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) which were sat in some distant trees, we also had an immature Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), plenty of Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) with a couple singing from the field edges, Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), 2x Common Whitethroat (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia) and some  Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) which appeared to enjoy annoying the Kites.
Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus).
We moved on to another area of fields nearby and started to find more raptor species, first came both Common (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) followed by a Peregrine (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) and Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).
Honey Buzzard (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus).
Off in the distance we saw the first of a 100+ Black Kites (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans) so we took one of the tracks up on to a high point and watched as they got airbourne along with 50 or so Honey Buzzards (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus), a few Booted (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) and a single Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus).
Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata).
Ed picked up another raptor which was clearly feeding on prey some distance away in a stuble field which turned out to be a rather large Northern Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis).
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea).
Inthis area we also had 5 more Black-winged Kites, a couple of female Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), 3x Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and plenty of Greater Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and several Bath White (Pontia daplidice) butterflies.
Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope).
Again we went and had a look at another area of fields not far away where we found several roosting Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and on the track out several Collared Doves (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
Western Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava).
Our final site of the morning was out on the fields near to Moreleda but we only had a short time there and only managed to add Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus) and more Iberian Grey Shrikes efore heading back to the house.
Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta).
Later we popped out again and went to see what we could find down on the fields near to where we had the Eurasian Dotterel (Chorlito Carambolo / Eudromias morinellus) yesterday. The farmers were flooding several stripes of a very large Lucerne field and it was attracting in huge numbers ofWestern Yellow Wagtails (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava) but as far as we could see there were only the two migratory races there Blue-headed (Yellow) (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava flava) and Western (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava flavissima).
Blue-headed (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava flava).
We also had European Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Northern Wheatear, Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra), Spotless Starling, White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Western Cattle Egret and on a small pool formed by the irrigation water Lesser (Anax parthenope) and Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea), Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens).
Violet Dropwing (Trithemis annulata).
As we were leaving the area we noticed another wet area, so we parked and took some photos of the Wagtails from the car and also found an immature Woodchat ShrikeMelodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata) and heard a calling Little Owl.
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea).
Our next stop was at Balsa de Regidor where we had a good look around for new Dragon species and we soon found Long (Orthetrum trinacria) and Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Orange-winged (Trithemis kirbyi) and Violet Dropwings (Trithemis annulata), Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii), Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii), White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes) and Small Red-eye (Erythromma viridulum) as well as more Lesser (Anax parthenope) and Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) and Scarlet Darters (Crocothemis erythraea).
White Featherleg (Platycnemis latipes).
Birds included Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta).
Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii).
During the evening Monica, Ed and Myself went up to the track at the back of one of the local hills hoping for a flyby by one of the resident Eurasian Eagle Owls (Bubo bubo) but we were not lucky, however we did see a fine male Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica), a couple of Pied Flycatchers (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and 2x Sparrowhawks (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), the second one was just as it was going dark and it was clearly hunting bats and as we watched it was very nearly successful.
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea).

Tuesday 8 September 2020

Huétor Fields and at home near Huétor Tajar, Granada Province, Spain.

Birding with Ed Mackrill over from the UK.

Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus).
Ed and Monica had arrived yesterday afternoon and had settled in, this morning Ed and I decided to do a walk around the fields to see what migrants had come in.
Lang's Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous).

We parked down on the edge of town and walked up towards the model aircraft field, on the way we started the list off with Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) which was sat up on the last factory unit roof, Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata).
Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
We took the track along the Railway line heading over to the Mesia road, Ed picked up the first of severl Common Stonechats (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), we also had a Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) fly over, Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), a Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) in a Fig tree, Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), several Linnets (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis). 
Immature Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax).
At the far end of the track there was a large flock of hirundines which inlcuded lots of House Martins and Barn Swallows, a few Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) along with a single Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild) and the first  Red Avadavat (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava) for the area. 
European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
We continued on towards the Mesia road checking the Irrigation channels as we went, we soon added Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Greater Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica).
Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi).
We crossed the Mesia road and walked up to and along the Arroyo Vilano seeing many more Common Waxbills, Reed and Cetti's Warblers, Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) which shot past along the stream, a male Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) fly passed, Lang's Short-tailed (Leptotes pirithous) and Long-tailed Blues (Lampides baeticus) and Bath White (Pontia daplidice).
Long-tailed Blue (Lampides baeticus).
We again crossed the Mesia road and followed the Arroyo flushing an immature Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) from the reeds and we watched a nice group of European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) which were sat on the railway electrics and once we were on the far side of the railway again Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta), several Iberian  Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), 2x Booted Eagles (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) both pale morph and a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo).
Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea).
Once we reached the road we walked back to the car adding Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and a Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra) on the model plane airfield.
Large White (Pieris brassicae).
We returned to the house and then spent some of the afternoon on the terrace seeing Grey Wagtail, Serin, Blackbird, House Sparrow, House Martin, Goldfinch, Woodpigeon, European Bee-eater, Sardinian Warbler, Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Common Chaffinch and Collared Dove.
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) male.
Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum) female.
Later in the afternoon Ed and myself went down to a point on the Arroyo Vilano where we spent a while looking for Dragonflies and soon found Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea), Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi) new for Ed, Keeled (Orthetrum coerulescens) and Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum), Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii) along with Mediterranean Skipper (Gegenes nostrodamus) also new for Ed, Bath White, Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Long-tailed Blue, Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), a Common Buzzard, lots of Corn Buntings and Reed Warblers and the only mammal of the day a Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus). 
Bath White (Pontia daplidice).
Our next stop was out along the A92 near Mesia where we successfully found several Desert Orange-tips (Colotis evagore) and then on the way back the find of the day and a new species for the patch in the shape of a Juv / 1CY Eurasian Dotterel (Chorlito Carambolo / Eudromias morinellus) which was stood up nicely on a rock giving us chance to view it nicely.
Mediterranean Skipper (Gegenes nostrodamus).
Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens).
Eurasian Dotterel (Chorlito Carambolo / Eudromias morinellus).
Eurasian Dotterel (Chorlito Carambolo / Eudromias morinellus).