Thursday 5 May 2022

El Temple area, Granada Province, Spain.

A brilliant evening working on a Radio Tagging project.
Ebird List for El Temple.

A view over our search area.
I was very pleased to be invited to assist with a Project which François Mougeot is running in conjuction with SEO to tag Sandgrouse with transmitters so that a greater understanding of their movements can be gained to protect the habitats and drinking sites.
Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus).
Anyway we all met at a location near Granada and then headed out on to the area to be worked, whilst it was still light we divided up and check likely looking spots for the birds bo roost. 
Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).

Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
Juan and I picked a good spot and whilst there we watched a group of 4 Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) right up up till dusk so we were sure they roosted in the field.
François fitting the transmitter whilst I held the first male bird.

During the time we were watching these birds we also saw and heard Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus), Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra)Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius), Pallid (Vencejo Pálido a/Apus pallidus) and Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus), Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Little (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and Long-eared Owl (Búho Chico / Asio otus), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra).
The female almost ready, just need the straps trimming and she will be away.
As it dropped dark we all met up again but unfortunately Juan had to head off, the news was good as we were sure that the four birds were still on our field and François had another 5 birds on a different field so all we needed to do was wait until it was dark enough.
The first male with the transmitter fully fitted.
Once it had dropped dark we headed on foot to the first field where François and Gaëlle, his daughter (who took all the Grouse shots)  headed off into the field with a Thermal Imaging Camera, Spot light and a net and soon had a stunning Male Sandgrouse in the net ready to be fitted with a transmitter. 
Showing the different wing pattern from the male.
I was very pleased to do the handling on all three birds that were caught, the weight and wing length was taken for each bird and a few feathers were collected for testing.
The female ready for release.

Anyway once the first bird was released we drove to the second spot and the plan worked again but even better this time as François managed to catch a pair of birds which were roosting together.
The second male.

Again these birds were processed and released and at around 01.00 we all headed off home, I was knackered but had a great night helping what I thought would be a very worthwhile project..
The second Male with the Transmitter all ready for the off.
Participants were François Mougeot, Gaëlle Mougeot, Francisco Javier Contreras Parody, Antonia García Vargas, Elena Ballesteros Duperón, Antonio José Álvaro León, Juan Pérez Contreras y Mick Richardson. Thanks all for a great time.
The Male about to be released.

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