Saturday 10 February 2024

Huétor Fields, Balsa de Regidor, Cacín Valley and El Temple, Granada Province, Spain.

A days birding with Roberto and Anne.

Arroyo Vilano in flood.
We started the day out on the fields near Huétor Tajar where we parked at my usual spot after driving through a rather swollen Arroyo Vilano, the Montifrio area must have got more rain than we did.
As we walked the fields we picked up Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) x25 or so, Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) x2 and Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus).
We drove out across the fields on our way around to the Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) area adding Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) before we parked and scanned the fields just North of the town finding 9+ Little Bustards (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax), a single Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
Our next stop was at the man made Balsa de Regidor where we scanned the pool adding Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and a surprise immature Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
Spanish Sparrow (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis) male.
We continued on and after making a quick call at a nearby pharmacy to get me some painkillers as I had pulled my back earlier we made a stop at the crags below the town of Moraleda where had good but distant views of a male Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and just a little way along the road we had several Common Starlings (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris) up on a wire.
Our next stop was further down the valley amongst the Pine trees that line the main irrigation, here we found Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and further towards the Embalse near the dam we walked again and had a small flock of Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and heard Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).
Just up the road we checked the Contra-embalse de Bermejalis but it was fairly quiet but we did find White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) x2, Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris).
Spanish Sparrow (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis) male.
We dropped further down the valley to check the gorge but it was getting rather windy and we only added Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Capra pyrenaica hispanica) before coming back up the valley and having lunch next to the Rio Cacín near the village of Cacín, here we saw Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) before crossing the ridge to Ventas de Huelma where we stopped for a coffee before we headed out on to El Temple.
As we drove around the site we picked up Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Spanish Sparrow (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and a large flock of around 300+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus).
We started to head towards Granada City where I was dropping Anne and Roberto off but not before we popped into a semi-abandoned Cortijo where we picked up a couple of Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) before finishing the day.

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