Monday, 31 January 2022

Moraleda Fields, Cacín Valley, Cerro Hacho and Huétor Fields, Granada Province, Spain.

A cracking day on the Patch with Bob Wright.

Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) Female.
I was pleased to meet up with great friend Bob at Bar El Cruce where we had a coffee before heading out onto the nearby fields, we took a track up through the Almond groves and started what was going to be an 80+ species day with really good views of what was going to be my bird of the day, a Merlin (Esmerejón / Falco columbarius) which was being hassled by several Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and a Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) but it did not as expected fly straight off and came back for several passes toying with the Corvids.
Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) Female.

Other species seen before we reached the top fields included Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) Males.

Once out of the Almonds and on to the Cereal fields we picked up the first of many Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Meadow Pipits (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), a Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) which was perched on a wall of a ruined Cortijo, three or four singing Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and the first of at least 9 Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis).
Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) Males.
As we grove off the site we saw 2 more Little Owls, White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) and a bit further along the road another 2 Little Owls, Spotless (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Common Starling (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris) and on the Cross country route to the road to Cacín a distant soaring Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
On the ridge above Cacín we checked the Pylons and Olives where we found a very smart Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Rock Dove (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and after we dropped down through the village we checked the Gorge seeing Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris). 
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
As we drove back North towards the Contra Embalse we had an Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei) fly over the road and by the Embalse we boosted the list with Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) and Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea).
Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus).
A little further up the road we stopped by the bridge over the Cacín where we picked up
Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Redwing (Zorzal Alirrojo / Turdus illacus) and amongst the Pines a little further North Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Brambling (Pinzón Real / Fringilla montifringilla) and Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus).
Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus).
Our next stop was on the way to Hacho at the cliffs below Moraleda but we did not add anything new but we managed a couple of Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) on the fields near Huétor.
Up on Hacho we walked part of the way around the loop where Bob caught up with Common Crossbill and we added Siskin (Lúgano / Carduelis spinus), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Coal Tit  (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa).
Siskin (Lúgano / Carduelis spinus).
We dropped back down to the Fields near Huétor finishing the days birding off with Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus) on the Lucerne Fields and on the Rio Genil in the town Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata) and Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti). This is where we finished for the day and Bob headed back home as I did after a good days birding in good company.

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