Thursday 27 January 2022

Cacín Valley and surrounding areas, Granada Province, Spain.

Picking off a few Year ticks to keep me busy.

Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis).

Today was always going to be a bit difficult as It would have been Jayne's 60th birthday so I went out birding early to keep busy and started by checking the fields near Moreleda, as I drove there I started the day list with Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis).
I entered the fields and within a couple of hundred meters I had 3 male Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) in flight which circled round and landed amongst some new Almond trees, in the same area I could hear more Sandgrouse but they flew over and drew the other up and all 9 birds flew off.
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
In the same area I also saw a couple of Iberian Grey Shrikes (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and 2 Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) which were sitting out on a large rock pile.
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
As I had seen the Sandgrouse so quickly I went back to the tarmac and headed towards Castillo de Tajarja, on the way I checked so very old Almond trees along side the road and found 2 more Little Owls as well as Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
I took a track across country to the Ventas de Huelma / Cacín Road and parked by a disused finca on the way where I saw Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
From the Finca I then went towards the watch point but as  reached the road I had a Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) sat on a Pylon, at the watch point it was cold, windy and raining so I did not do well with the Raptors but I did add Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus).
I dropped down off the ridge and through Cacín to the road which runs along the Cacín Valley, I turned South and then checked out the gorge and I was very pleased to see a Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus) circling above the Olives being hassled by a flock of Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and lots of Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris).
Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus).
I turned the car around and drove back north along the valley seeing a nice male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) on some large bolders up one of the side ravines and further up towards the Embalse I had fly over Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), an adult Northern Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and the first of a big number of Redwings (Zorzal Alirrojo / Turdus illacus) in total I must have seen at least 70 which is by far the best count I have seen in Spain.
Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus).
I arrived at the Embalse and checked a raptor that was sat on one of the pylons which turned out to be the second Northern Goshawk but an immature this time and on the ridge behind me I had a Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) and adult Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
Out on and around the lake I found Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago) and a pair of displaying Marsh Harriers (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus).
Northern Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis) immature.
I dropped down to the Rio Cacín where I saw lots more Redwing, Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula).
My last stop before I went to spend some time with Friends, along the Cacín just on the edge of the village I had a large flock of around 45 Common Waxbills (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild) and a wintering Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis).
Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
I went up into the village where I spent a very pleasant couple of hours chatting with friends Jane and Bob from the days when Jayne, Howard, Santi and I used to make up a team in the quiz nights Jane and Bob organised, how times have changed.
Today turned out to be better than expected with messages and calls lifting my spirits greatly, Thanks all.

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