Tuesday 26 April 2022

Sierra de Loja, Moraleda Fields, Cacín Valley and El Temple, Granada Province, Spain.

Meeting up with some Guys from Denmark for some birding.

Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) the Male.

Today was one of those days where things just dropped into place nicely I am pleased to say, I was birding with Guys from Denmark who friend Bob Wright knows but as Bob was back in the Uk I had the pleasure of a couple of days in their company.
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) the Female.
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) the Female.
Viggo, Peter, Ib, Joern and I started off by heading up the Sierra de Loja from the Abades service area and on the way out to the spot for the Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) which was our main target we picked up Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) before we left the woodlands.
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) the Male again.
Out on the tops there were Northern (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Black (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and Black-eared Wheatears (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Capra pyrenaica hispanica), Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus), Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea), Buckler Mustard (Biscutella frutescens), Cloven Petalled Campion (Silene colorata), Common stork's bill (Erodium ciconium), Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis), Wild Clary (Salvia verbenaca), Iris Subbiflora, Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum baeticum), Viola dementria, Wild Peony (Paeonia broteri) and Spanish Bluebell (Scilla hispanica).
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) the Female.
Once we were up at the Rock Thrush crags one of the lads picked up a stunning Male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush down on the rocks below us, it showed well and kept coming towards up giving us great views of this beautiful normally quite secretive bird and then Viggo came over and said can you come and have a look at a bird he was sure was a female.
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) the Female.
He pointed out the direction so I started to scan the rock ahead of us and I said I can't see it and it took a while to realise I was looking in the right direction but about 50 meters to far away as the bird was right infront of us on the roadside, she was collecting material and was not a bit interested in us and just potted around giving us amazing views.
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
After we had been watching this stunning pair of birds for a while we continued on a short way and added Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Western Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros).
Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa).
We turned around and started to make our way down, we stopped off at Charca del Negro where we could see large numbers of passage Swifts including Alpine (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Common  (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Pallid (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and as we continued to drop down we had a male Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), a male Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Coal Tit  (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) and Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli).
Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
We got back on to the Motorway and headed for Moraledawhere we took to the tracks and were soon watching several Greater Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), two Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix) which flew up from the track side but only Peter saw them I think, a single Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), a brief Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis).
Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius).
We dropped down through El Turro and then down the Valley where we made a couple of stops along the wood areas before the Embalse where we added European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Grey (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and in the irrigation a Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos).
Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Capra pyrenaica hispanica).
Up at the Embalse it was quiet but Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Perez's Frog (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
We drove down the valley to Cacín and the up over the ridge towards Ventas de Huelma, on the way we made a stop at a view point over looking valleys and hills seeing Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo),  a distant Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) and a Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) which was only heard.
Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius).
Our final site of the day was out on the fields of El Temple where we again took to the tracks and saw a roosting Long-eared Owl (Búho Chico / Asio otus), Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and  Spanish Sparrow (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis), another Great-spotted Cuckoo but this time we saw it and at a spot where we stopped to scan the fields we had several Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) and a nice Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) which finished the day with the lads off nicely.
I headed home and they headed back to the coast, on my way I picked up Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur).

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