Thursday 9 May 2019

On the way to Alhama de Granada

Pochard Porron Europeo Aythya ferina
Thursday 9 May

It was a clear, sunny morning so a last minute I decided I would have a leisurely drive over to Alhama de Granada stopping off at various sites that have been productive in the past.  However, by the time I pulled in at the old railway track at Ventas de Zafarraya there was a good cloud cover and much colder in the exposed are with a very keen breeze.  Perhaps for that reason the only bird seen was a Black Wheatear and I was certainly not going to "hang about" but a brisk walk back through the tunnel to the car!  So down through the village past the many House Martins and on to a tour of the growing fields, many freshly planted with salad crops.  House Sparrows and Spotless Starlings along with three pairs of Mallard on the pond plus both Stonechat and Crested Lark near the road before heading off to the "Magpie Woods."

All, again, very quiet but I did see a couple of Corn Bunting and a handful of Wood Pigeon before arriving at the picnic site on the far side of the laguneta above Alhama de Granada.  Leaving the car I was deafened by the noise of the calling Cuckoos and soon picked up both Nuthatch and Chaffinch.  A Spotted Flycatcher caught my eye to the left whilst a Hoopoe made a distant pass.

Very distant Great Spotted Woodpecker Pico Picapinos Dendrocopus major

From the hide I could see Coot, Mallard, Pochard and Moorhen on the water and away to my right in the thin, dead trees a Wood Pigeon resting on top of the tallest with a Great Spotted Woodpecker feeding on the trunk of a neighbouring tree.  Nightingales were singing below me and from the opposite hide near the venta I also saw a Little Grebe and visiting Crag Martins and Barn Swallows. The walk down to the bridge from near the dam produced both Blackbirds and Serin and atop a rock on the hill above a pair of Blue Rock Thrushes.

Male Blue Rock Thrush Roquero Solitario Monticola solitarius

Then it was back down towards the town seeing more House Martins, Common Swift and Collared Dove before taking the country road back towards Ventas de Zafarraya.  Remembering what birding friend George Lamb had told me a few weeks ago, I took the turn on the left and drove over 4km up the wide track and through the woods to the Queseria.  Having found the farm at the very end of the track I studied the local produce on offer and came back with a large piece of semi-cured cheese.  I have a feeling it will not survive till the week-end; sorry Steve!  And even better, as I drove back through the woods towards the road a I had a few Azure-winged Magpies (now called Iberian Magpie?) fly across in front of me.  And back on the coast not a cloud in the sky and the temperature had soared up to 30C.

A mass of Poppies in all the corn fields

Birds seen:
Mallard, Pochard, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Cuckoo, Common Swift, Hoopoe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Nightingale, Black Wheatear, Stonechat, Blue Rock Thrush, Blackbird, Spotted Flycatcher, Nuthatch, Azure-winged Magpie, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Corn Bunting.

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