Wednesday 24 May 2023

Granada Birding

Iberian Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava Iberian

 Wednesday 24 May

What a wonderful day's birding with my friend, Mick Richardson; it has to be one of my best ever birding experiences.  Starting at Mick's home in good weather we worked our way down to the now dry river bed at the bottom of the road before making our way inland to cover the steppe area between him and just south of the city of Granada.  And did we see some wonderful birds including 11 (eleven) raptors excluding both Woodchat and Iberian Grey Shrikes. And by the end of the day we had recorded over 70 species and still the thought that we might see a Red-necked Nightjar this evening whilst sitting on the terrace during the early evening.

Leaving the house just after 8.30 we immediately observed both Collared and a number of Turtle Doves plus Blackbird and Barn Swallow.  Once across the now dry ford we stopped to check the fields on our left and immediately added many of the local resident birds plus Linnet, Iberian Yellow Wagtail, Nightingale, Stonechat, Corn Bunting and Woodpigeon. However, perhaps the most exciting sighting was that of the male Little Bustard at the distant back of the field.

Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax

Moving on down towards the small wood we then added Zitting Cisticola, Golden Oriole, Iberian Magpie and a number of House Martins.  Our last batch of sightings before heading towards the steppes were a few (Common) Magpies, Woodchat Shrike, Jackdaw and Mistle Thrush.

Having seen our first Buzzard as we left the home territory we were rewarded with a second, and indeed more, once we arrived at our entrance to the steppe area.  A Common Kestrel, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Blackcap were immediately seen and soon, next to a small, wooded gorge we added the first Serins of the day.

Arriving on some open, ploughed land we suddenly came across at least eight Stone Curlew and whilst watching these "waders" a couple of Black-bellied Sandgrouse made a hasty departure.  At the same time we were inundated with Calandra Larks and even saw the chase off appear of Short-toed Larks.  Crested Larks were also very common throughout the area.  And it was whilst watching the antics of the Calandra Larks that we saw both Hoopoe and the arrival of our first Short-toed Eagle of the day.

Short-toed Eagle Circaetus galicus

Moving on to our next area which included many strands of both almond and olive trees we found our first Roller and a number of Lesser Kestrels.  A Little Owl was sitting on a fence near an irrigation lagoon and an Iberian Grey Shrike was seen atop a nearby olive tree. Over the other side the field a Red-legged Partridge was sitting on top of a small boulder and a couple Feral Pigeons passed over.

Little Owl Athene noctus

Approaching more trees we encountered both Great Tit and Chaffinch and above us a large number of Common Swifts.  Then came a message from one of Mick's friends, just after a close view of a second Roller, that the "special" birds had been sighted and we joined him to see a (true) pair of Red-footed Falcons.  What a wonderful experience as we watched the pair both settle (far away) and quarter the corn field below us.  At the same site we also recorded another Short-toed Eagle, dark phase Booted Eagle and many Lesser Kestrels.

Moving on after a top for lunch we stopped to admire yet another Booted Eagle and also picked up a Melodious Warbler.  Whilst watching the latter, a Rock Sparrow landed immediately below us.

Having found a Thekla lark at the watch point we moved down into the village Cacin to find a White Wagtail walk-in the street and a further quartet in the river itself.  Whilst at the river we also came across two Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopus major

Our next port of call was the Contraembalse de los Bermejales where we found over thirty Mallards and  over a hundred Coot.  Also present were a small number of Pochards, two Moorhen and a lone Heron.  At the back marsh harrier was quartering the site and in the reed bed to the right both Reed and Great Reed Warblers along with three Cetti's Warblers.

Leaving the water we headed up the road to the trees to stop and find both Blue and Long-tailed Tits along with Grey Wagtail, Wood Lark and Spotted Flycatcher.  Our final stop in the cabin valley Wass to check the cliffs where we found Black Wheatear, Crag Martin and Blue Rock Thrush.

Record shot of Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata

Then it was on towards home vis the dry river bed and, once again, the Little Bustard on show and we also found a Tree Sparrow, a pair of both Black-winged Kite and Montagu's Harriers.  What a cracking day we had.

Iberian Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava IberianBirds seen:

Mallard, Pochard, Red-legged Partridge, Heron, Honey Buzzard, Black-winged Kite, Short-toed Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Moorhen, Coot, Little Bustard, Stone Curlew, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, Little Owl, Common Swift, Bee-eater, Roller, Hoopoe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Calandra Lark, Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Wood Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Iberian Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Nightingale, Stonechat, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Golden Oriole, Iberian Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Iberian Magpie, Magpie, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Crossbill, Corn Bunting.

Tree Sparrow Passer montanus

Distant Roller Coracias garrulous 

Very distant female Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus

Distant high Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus
Short-toed Eagle Circaetus galicus

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