Saturday 22 April 2023

Sierra de Loja and Huétor Fields, Granada Province, Spain.

Some birding with good friend Juan Perez Contreras.
Ebird List for the Sierra.
Ebird List for the Fields.

Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) male.
I was just about to start doing some work in the garden when the mobile rang and it was Juan who asked if I fanced doing some birding up on Sierra de Loja and on my local patch, surprisingly I had to think for about half a second before I said yes and we arranged to meet at the hotel up near the A92.
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) male.
I popped into the Hotel bar for a coffee but Juan was there faster than I had expected and we were soon on our way to the start of the main track up the mountain and then all the way over to the far crags, on the way up we saw Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Coal Tit  (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) which stooped across the track in front of us and down the slope.
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) male.
Up on the tops we had the expected
Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Common Stonechats (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Black-eared (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Northern (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Iberian Grey (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and the first Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius).
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) male.
We drove alound the curves of the far crags and as we turned one of the bends we saw a stunning male
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) sat on a rock right by the side of the track, I took a few shots at the point where we first saw it but as we need to pass the spot Juan drove slowly towards the bird and we were amazed that it sat there until we were rght up level with it, it jsut sat there and sang a few times before hopping to the next rock away, the closest I have ever got to one. 
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) male.

We continued on as anothere species we wanted to see was the Western Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis) which we soon heard and then saw down in the Hawthorn trees along with a single Willow (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and below us on a small pool 2x Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos).
Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe).
We turned around and started to head down, on the way we stopped and walked up to the middle quarry, on the way we had Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) and a pair of Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos), one of which was carrying a Pine twig.
Golden Eagles (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
We dropped back to the Motorway and then headed to the Hotel and then out onto the fields along the Arroyo Vilano where we had views of the male Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), Turtle Doves (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) x6, Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) x1 pale morph, Black-winged Kite (Elanio Común / Elanus caeruleus) x2, Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti),  Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae).
Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae).

Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) male.

Juan headed off and I headed back home where I could hear both Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) and Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) as well as several Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki).
Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) and Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus).

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