Saturday 12 June 2021

Off Tarifa, Cadiz Province, Spain.

Another successful Pelagic Trip with Javi from Birding the Straits.
Morning light just out of the port.
I got a message from Javi yesterday to say can i get to the port at Tarifa for 07.30 instead of the 08.30 as originally planned as the weather was forecast to turn windy as the day progressed and of course I was more than happy to if it meant more chance of getting out there.
One many rafts of Cory's Shearwaters (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris borealis) seen.
I arrived and we were all soon at the meeting point and Javi gave us a chat about the day and what was expected of us before we boarded the boat and headed out of the Port to sea.
Cory's Shearwater (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris borealis).
Cory's Shearwater (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris borealis).
We were soon finding rafts of Cory's Shearwaters (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris borealis) and getting a few Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) were also picked up during the run out but still fairly close to shore as were 3 Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) coming across from Africa.
Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).
During this time we also had a single Sooty Shearwater (Pardela Sombría / Puffinus griseus) which did  couple of passes but I only managed to get a bum on shot!!!!
Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus).
Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus).
We also had a couple of pods of
Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) which showed off very nicely.
Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) or Yelkouan / Mediterranean Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan)?????? or a Hybrid.
Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) or Yelkouan / Mediterranean Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan)?????? or a Hybrid.

Balearic Shearwater (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) or Yelkouan / Mediterranean Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan)?????? or a Hybrid.

After a while the captain took us out in to the deeper waters where for me we hit gold when Javi picked up a
Wilson's Storm Petrel (Paño de Wilson / Oceanites oceanicus) which did a couple of distant passes but I could not get the camera on it so I just kept it in the Bins.
Bum end of a Sooty Shearwater (Pardela Sombría / Puffinus griseus).
As we moved around further out we had a pod of
Long-finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala melas) some of which were quite inquisitive and came in close to the boat.
Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus).
We cruised back in toward the port seeing more of the Cory's and Balearic's on the way and several passing
Northern Gannets (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus).
Cory's Shearwater (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris borealis).
Cory's Shearwater (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris borealis).
Cory's Shearwater (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris borealis).
Cory's Shearwater (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris borealis).
As we reach the port we had several
Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and a single Mediterranean Gull (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus) as well as a couple of Sandwich Terns (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis).
Long-finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala melas).

Long-finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala melas).

During the trip several
Yelkouan / Mediterranean (Puffinus yelkouan) type shearwaters were seen but due to the possibility of hybrid birds such as those of the Menorca population they cannot be Identifed for sure out side there breeding range and get labeled as Balearic / Yelkouan / Mediterranean .

Friday 11 June 2021

Malaga City, Sierra Crestellina and Casares, Malaga Province, Spain.

Birding in Malaga city and visit a friend on my way down to Palmones ready for a Pelagic tomorrow.
Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus).
I started the day by driving down to Malaga City where I parked and went for a walk in Parque de Málaga where I wanted to see Rose-ringed Parakeet (Cotorra de Kramer / Psittacula krameri).
As I walked there were plenty of the much more common Monk Parakeet (Cotorra Argentina / Myiopsitta monachus) which were flying through the trees making a right racket, I also saw Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) before I found three Rose-rings sat together in a tree nice and quiet.
Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus).
I fought my way out of the city through the traffic and headed down the coast to Manilva and then up to the side of Sierra Crestellina where I parked in a supposed Raptor viewing point but soon got moved by the dust from the lorries going to the construction site below. However I did see a few Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) before dropping down to see friend John Hale for a while.
I had hoped and planned to call and see Penny and John but it was with great sadness I heard a week before that Penny had passed away, it was very sad news to get and she will be dearly missed by John, her Family and many, many people in the Moth world down here in Spain and back in the UK.
Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus).
I got to the Finca and soon found John and we spent the next 7 hours chatting (could not believe we had been there that long) and going over memories sat out on the terrace, we were distracted many times by passing Griffon Vultures but also had a fine adult
Egyptian (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus) which was my second year tick of the day.
Other species included Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Alpine Swift (Vencejo Real / Apus melba) and a fly over Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus).
Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus).
I said goodbye to John at just after 18.00 and headed for my hotel in Palmones where I sat in a bar opposite the hotel and had a few beers before hitting the pit. 
Good day and great to spend some time with John and plan a trip for later in the year.

Thursday 10 June 2021

The Cacín Valley, El Temple (briefly), Cartuna, a site further along the coast and another in the Alpujarras, Granada Province, Spain.

Down the Valley, along the coast and back up into the mountains again.
Shag (Cormorán Mondudo / Phalacrocorax aristotelis) x2.
I was meeting Juan for the regular Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) at midday so I dropped down the Cacín Valley for a few hours birding beforehand, my first stop was for a walk along the Irrigation channel near the bridge that crosses the Rio Cacín near to the Embalse.
As I walked I heard or saw Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Melodious (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) and Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki).
Just along the road I stopped and scanned the Embalse, the water looked a tad minging but there were still quite a few birds including Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and singles of both Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius).
Around the margins and in the air I also recorded a pair of Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and a hunting Northern Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis) which came through low the full length of the lake and caused mayhem on her way.
A this point I noticed I had a slow puncture so I made my way across country to the nearest petrol station I could think of at Ventas de Huelma and pumped it up and continued for a look at the El Temple area finding just an immature Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) before I checked the puncture and found that it was already going down again so I got over to a tire place in Padul to get a repair. 
I messaged Juan to tell him I would probably be a bit late but was amazed to be on the road again just a few minutes later, the guy found the problem, which was a sharp stone which he removed with out taking the wheel off the car. Got a drill looking type tool and did something with that and the a bradawl looking thing with some glued up rope threaded through it and plunged into the tie and pulled it back part way leaving the rope there, he cut of the access and pumped the tire back up and I was on my way in 10 minutes.
A Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) watching us go passed.
I dropped down to the coast and arrived about 5 minutes before Juan, we then carried out the usual walk from one end of the beach to the other recording Nest, Young and activity of the Kentish Plovers and we were pleased with today's results which included 4 active nests, several immature birds of varying ages and a good number of adult birds.
Other species seen during the survey included Little Ringed Plover, Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Balearic (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus) and Cory's Shearwaters (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris borealis), 3x Shag (Cormorán Mondudo / Phalacrocorax aristotelis) which were new for the year, Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and a Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus).
Once we had finished the survey I foolowed Juan down the coast a bit to a spot where in the past there had been records of breeding White-rumped Swift (Vencejo Cafre / Apus caffer)  and we wanted to check it again but we found nothing, there were Red-rumped Swallows in the area so a return visit might be worth while.
Our final stop was far more successful, Juan had some info about a pair of White-rumped Swifts that had been seen at a spot in the Alpujarras a few days earlier so we drove there and parked and we were soon watching a pair of the stunning birds zipping around and it looked like they were checking for potential nest sites.
In the same area we also saw Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) before we both headed home very happy.

Tuesday 8 June 2021

Around the Grazalema area, Cadiz Province, Spain.

Some local walks around Grazalema with Sue.
Grazalema Poppy (Papaver rupifragum).
After a good nights sleep we were up and Sam was off to school and then soon after that Sue and I headed out to do some local walks, our first was out to the west of the town.
Provençal Fritillary (Melitaea deione).
Provençal Fritillary (Melitaea deione).
Provençal Fritillary (Melitaea deione).
Sue parked and we walked a shortish distance along this first trail where our main target was the stunning Grazalema Poppy (Papaver rupifragum), on the way up we passed through quite a lot of Scabious plants which had quite a few butterflies on them nectaring butterflies including Provençal (Melitaea deione), Marsh (Euphydrayas aurinia) and Knapweed Fritillaries (Melitaea phoebe), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Southern Marbled (Carcharodus baeticus) and Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis) and Cleopatra's (Gonepteryx cleopatra).
Mountain Catchfly (Silene andryalifolia).
As we climbed Sue found the first of several Common Winter Damselflies (Sympecma fusca) and we also added Bug Orchid (Anacamptis coriophora), Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris), Mountain Catchfly (Silene andryalifolia), Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum litigiosum), Cerastium boissieri (gibraltaricum) and on a rock face the target Grazalema Poppy which looked amazing but was hard work to get shots of in the wind. 
Grazalema Poppy (Papaver rupifragum).
There was a particularly nicely located plant that Sue put me on to but instead of taking the shot straight away I said something to Sue and then turned around to find that the wind had blown three of the four petals off, DAM.
Bug Orchid (Anacamptis coriophora).
In the same area we had more Bug Orchids, Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Small White (Pieris rapae), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina) and Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi).
Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia).
Bird wise there were several Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) calling, Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Coal Tit  (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and as usual some Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) over head.
Large Skipper (Ochlodes venatus).
Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe).
On the way down we spent a while getting shots of the many butterflies around the scabious again but added
Large Skipper (Ochlodes venatus) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).
Common Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fusca).
Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus baeticus).
We walked passed the car and a short way down the road to a spot where Sue showed me a group of  Cistus x incanus which is the uncommon hybrid between
Curly Rockrose (Cistus crispus) and Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus) along with both of the parents, a late flowering Ophrys ficalhoana and Tragopogon pratensis.
Cistus x incanus.
We returned to the car and dropped back down to the village seeing a second Cistus oddity on the way, another roadside stop produced a very smart looking white form of the normally Pink Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus).
Ophrys ficalhoana.
We made a roadside stop just above the village where we saw Lizard Orchids (Himanthoglosum hircinum) one of which had a very smart Cone-head Mantis (Empusa pennata) climbing on it and in the same area we found Campanula specularioides, Sedum mucizonia and White Stonecrop (Sedum album).
Tragopogon pratensis.
Our next walk was a few Kms away but we were soon parked and starting off down through an Oak woodland where I was surprised to see a male Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus) as well as the more expected Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs).
Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus) white form.
Lower down we also had several Thread-winged Lacewings (Nemoptera bipennis), Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba), a very nice but mobile Wood White (Leptidea sinapis) and Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines).
Campanula specularioides.
Once out of the trees we went down to a dry stream bed where in the past Sue had seen Aetherie Fritillary (Melitaea aetherie) and we followed the stream bed for as long as we could, just as we started the walk and at just over the halfway point we had two butterflies which inflight looked very promising but they were both carried off in the strong wind.
Cone-head Mantis (Empusa pennata)
In this more open area we heard or saw Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Western Orphean (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis) and Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix).
Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe).
We walked back up the hill somewhat slower than we had come down and returned to the car before heading back to Sue's just in time to meet Clive, Sam, Little Eli and Antonio. Later we had some food and as Sam had got quite a bit of homework we decided that I would make the final stop of the trip on my own on the way home.
Summer Lady's-tresses (Spiranthes aestivalis).
Summer Lady's-tresses (Spiranthes aestivalis).
I said goodbye to Sue and Sam after a great day and a bit and went back to a spot not too far away where I checked a river which was not running but still held quite a bit of water in some large pools and after a bit of a search following Sue's directions I found some just coming into flower
Summer Lady's-tresses (Spiranthes aestivalis). Well pleased I drove back home tired but very happy with the trip. Thanks to Ricky, Sue and Sam for the Company.