Saturday 15 May 2021

El Temple, Agron area and Cacín Valley, Granada Province, Spain.

Scrub searching for Orchids and Butterflies with a few birds thrown in beforehand. 
Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus).
I started the day by going to Leroy Merlin for some supplies for a few jobs I am doing on the house, on the way home I crossed El Temple Where I picked up Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Greater Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), a very nice pair of Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus), two soaring Short-toed Eagles (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) and a Raspberrying Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax).
Red-horned Poppy (Glaucium corniculatum).
Rough Poppy (Papaver hybridum).
Rough Poppy (Papaver hybridum).
On an area of fallow land just before I left the area I noted
Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), Red-horned  (Glaucium corniculatum) Corn (Papaver rhoeas) and Rough Poppy (Papaver hybridum), Hypecoum imberbe, Mallow-leaved Convolvulus (Convolvulus althaeoides) and Shepherds Needles (Scandix pecten-veneris).
Hypecoum imberbe.
My next stop was out in an area of Oak woodlands and scrub land near the village of Agron, I spent around 3 hours wandering around this area finding several nice species including some good condition Small Woodcock Orchids (Ophrys picta) but what was even better was finding this plant flowering in all three of it's colour variants.
Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta) Pink Var.
Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta) White Var.
Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta) Green Var.
Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta) Green Var.
The Pink and White Var is not uncommon but this was the first time I had found the Green Var in Granada Province. 
In the same area I also found Pink Butterfly (Orchis papilionacea), Yellow Bee (Ophrys lutea), Lange's (Androrchis langei) and several not yet in flower Lizard Orchids (Himanthoglosum hircinum).
Lange's Orchid (Androrchis langei).
Lange's Orchid (Androrchis langei).
Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea).
Butterflies were also on the wing and they included Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Adonis (Lysandra bellargus), Common / Southern (Polyommatus icarus / celina) and Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe) and Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua).
Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes).

Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe).

Birds included
Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki).
Libelloides baeticus.
Libelloides baeticus.
In the area there were also loads of
Libelloides baeticus a very smart species of Owlfly, Large Psammodromus (Psammodromus algirus), Thesium humile, Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris), Yellow Rock Rose (Helianthemum nummularium), Large Blue Flax (Linum narbonense), Common Vetch (Vicia sativa), Garden Anchusa (Anchusa azurea), Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Pyrenean Cranesbill (Geranium pyrenaicum), Wild Gladiolus (Gladiolus illyricus), Yellow Phlomis (Phlomis lychnitis) and Rosy Garlic (Allium roseum).
Thesium humile.
Hybrid Rock Rose Species ?????
Yellow Rock Rose (Helianthemum nummularium).
I got back to the car and headed for the Cacín Valley, on my way I picked up a year tick when I found 3x
Rollers (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) not far from the village of Ventas de Huelma.
Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) and a Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).

Thursday 13 May 2021

Refugio de aves esteparias las Amoladeras and Los Norias Lagoons in Almeria Province, Castell de Ferro and Carchuna in Granada Province, Spain.

Birding on my way home.
Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax).
I was out early again and made my back up to the Esparto areas for dawn but it was quite and I only found European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and a calling Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
I returned to the car and drove around the city and out into the plastic wasteland to the not so pretty location called Los Norias lakes, I was surprised that it was actually much cleaner than the last time I visited with a great deal less plastic pollution in the water and on the banks.
Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax).
I spent around 2 hours in the one area hoping for a Little Bittern (Avetorillo Común / Ixobrychus minutus) but as hard as I tried I didn't see one but did get good views of Night (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) and Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Little (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Little (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons), Whiskered (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus) and Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Red-crested (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina) and Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio).
Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
In the reeds and around the margins I added Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Turtle (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica).
Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis).
I eventually gave up on the Bittern and drove West along the coast to Castell de Ferro where I parked and checked the scrubby are which was once upon at time was going to be another urbanization where I was looking for Butterflies but it was very quiet, however I did see Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), a singing male Western Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica).
Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina).
I moved on again and went further along the coast to Carchuna where I was meeting Juan to do the
Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) survey, as usual we walked from east to west and recorded several incubating females on nest and several young birds ranging from just hatched to well grown birds, so in general a very positive walk with 25 birds being seen.
Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus).
As we walked we also recorded
Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii) and Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Ringed (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) x12 and Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) x1, Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina) x4, Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) x1, Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
After three days birding I was knackered so I headed back home and Juan went up the coast to see the Western Orphean I had seen earlier which he did successfully.

Wednesday 12 May 2021

Refugio de aves esteparias las Amoladeras, Punta Entinas near Roquetas de Mar, Torregarcía and Cabo de Gata, Almeria, Spain.

A Spanish Lifer on my second day down in Almeria.
I got up early and went for a look at the Esparto grass fields where in the passed there had been a small population of the rare Dupont's Lark (Alondra Ricotí / Chersophilus duponti) but as in Granada Province the very low numbers of remaining birds means it is unlike to come across one.
Collared Pratincole (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola).
I still had a walk and did find Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus).
I got a message from a local birder Garry Pearson to say that the Western Reef Heron (Garceta Dimorfa / Egretta gularis) I had been searching for yesterday had been seen but it was along a different track so I got back into the car and headed back to the Salinas's near to Roquetas de Mar.
Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae).
I drove onto the reserve and made a quick stop to look at the Collared Pratincoles (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola) as they are just stunning birds and quickly checked through the waders and terns on the sallow track side pools finding Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Ringed (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula) and Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), Little (Charrancito Común / Sterna albifrons), Black (Fumarel Común / Chlidonias niger) and Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and the same immature Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus) which had been there yesterday.
Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus).
Collared Pratincole (Canastera Común / Glareola pratincola).
Just a bit further along the track I parked and walked another one of the tracks seeing loads more Greater Flamingo's,
Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), the first Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) of the trip, Avocets (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera) and Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) on the pools.
Western Reef Heron (Garceta Dimorfa / Egretta gularis).
Western Reef Heron (Garceta Dimorfa / Egretta gularis).
Western Reef Heron (Garceta Dimorfa / Egretta gularis).
In the reed beds I could hear at least two reeling Savi's Warbler (Buscarla Unicolor / Locustella luscinoides), as well as Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and Great Reed (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and more unexpected was a splendid male Penduline Tit (Pájaro Moscón / Remiz pendulinus) which sat up on a reed head for a few seconds before flying off over the lake.
Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica).
Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica).
I got to the pin location Garry had sent me and stood still for a while adding Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) and then the target bird came flying in from my right, the Western Reef Heron did a flyby and then circled back and landed out of sight behind some small Tamarisk trees.
Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta) and Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Grande / Charadrius hiaticula).

After a short while the Heron took off again and flew right passed me and then landed briefly before flying on again and out of sight.
Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus).
I was very happy with the views I had had so I walked back towards the car and then went a short way further into the reserve and walked the track that I was on yesterday and found Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Eurasian Spoonbill (Espátula Común / Platalea leucorodia), Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna), Slender-billed Gull (Gaviota Picofina / Larus genei), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Purple (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea) and Squacco Heron (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides) and both Pallid (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus).
Rambla Morales.
I returned to the car but just before I got there I had a couple of
Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax), Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).
Common Tiger Blue (Tarucus theophrastus).
I got to the car and then headed back around to the Torregarcia area as I wanted a second go at the Common Tiger Blues (Tarucus theophrastus) and I was soon watching several of these smart Butterflies. 
Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines).
Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines).
Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines).
Before I moved on I also had Fagonia Cretica, Cynomorium (Cynomorium coccineum), Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and several Spiny-footed Lizards (Acanthodactylus erythrurus).
Lulworth Skipper (Thymelicus acteon).
Lulworth Skipper (Thymelicus acteon).
My next stop was on the beach at Rambler Morales where there were several roosting Little Terns, feeding Sanderling (Correlimos Tridáctilo / Calidris alba) and more Ringed and Kentish Plovers.

The lake in the Rambler was generally quiet but I did add a Great Egret (Garceta Grande / Egretta alba) which was feeding in amongst 8 Grey Herons on the Left shore along with quite a few Black-winged Stilts
Other species seen before I moved on included Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochards, Gull-billed Tern, Slender-billed Gull, House Martin, Barn Swallow and Eurasian Coot and some plants that need names.
Yellow horned Poppy (Glaucium flavum) and Wavyleaf Sea Lavender (Limonium sinuatum).

Periploca laevigata.
I moved on passed the Salt Pans and down to the area around the Light House where I had a walk along the road heading East along the coast finding
Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Lulworth Skipper (Thymelicus acteon), Yellow horned Poppy (Glaucium flavum), Wavyleaf Sea Lavender (Limonium sinuatum), Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum), Sweet Alison (Lobularia maritima), Yellow Sea Aster (Asteriscus maritimus), Silene littorea, Salsola opositifolia, Lycium intricatum and Periploca laevigata.
Bird wise I only added Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) to the day list before heading back to the hotel.

Punta Entinas Salinas's near Roquetas de Mar, Almeria Province.

Western Reef Heron (Garceta Dimorfa / Egretta gularis), a Spanish Lifer.
I had missed this stunning bird yesterday but with some extra help from local birder Garry Pearson I found the bird just a few 100 meters from where I was looking and managed to get some very nice flight views.
The bird flew in from my right and then swung round and landed behind some Tamarisk bushes but before long it was up again and flew past me again and then briefly landed in view before disappearing back the way it came.