May 2014 – Cordoba

May saw the Society’s first field visit to Cordoba Province with thirty members present representing all eight provinces other than Huleva and Jaen along with non-resident members who had either timed their Spanish visit to coincide with this meet or actually, in at least one case, made a special point of flying out to be with us; a truly impressive turn-out.  And none of us was to be disappointed.  The day was led by local Cordoba resident and member Florent Prunier who demonstrated not only his local birding knowledge but brought a wealth of expertise on the smaller creatures seen and discovered, those very many insects, bugs and other “creepy-crawlies” in general.  A much appreciated aspect of the day by those involved. The visit to the immediate countryside around the city of Cordoba included a range of habitats from riverside to mountain and back to deep valleys with river dams.  A beautiful day, perhaps too hot, with hardly a cloud in the sky and only the hint of a breeze to add any comfort.

House Sparrow, Gorrion cumun

Our first stop, just a couple of kilometres east of the city at Las Quemadas, took us through a recently-harvested corn filed to a shady pond alongside the mighty river Guadalquivir.  The pond was fringed with reeds and a wooded copse separated the track from the river.  A pair of Mallards took departure as we approached and a few members had already seen the single Little Grebe hiding at the back of the pool.

With one more stop at the lower river dam before making our individual departures back to the city and onwards, we drove along the narrow, winding country lane which, once again, produced some incredible sights.

Sardinian Warbler

Frank Hair stopped in front of us so that we remaining cars could watch a quite close Bonelli’s Eagle above. Overtaking Frank to catch up the rest of the party, we had hardly driven a kilometre when a most handsome male Golden Oriole flew out of the trees on the left and proceeded to fly along the road for about an hundred metres not more than ten metres in front of the car.  As if that was not wonderful enough, with a further five hundred meters another two male Golden Orioles undertook the same flight pattern albeit this time for only about twenty metres.  Marvellous.  Next up was a male Sardinian Warbler and then Janet Dixon was the first to see the single Red Kite on her side of the car. We certainly had a tale or two to report to the gathered group at our final stop.  Here, again patrolling the immediate area above the stone dam wall at San Rafael de Navallana we had another close view of a Black Kite.

Night Heron Martinete Comun Nycticorax nycticorax

PICTURE of Florent with bug
Caption:   Florent busy at work identifying a grasshopper, Ocnerodes prosternalis.

Many thanks are due to our leader for the day, local member Florent Prunier, who had a marvellous knowledge of the insect world so lots of identification of all sorts of “bugs” as we moved from site to site.  No doubt, like probably everybody else, we all managed to add White Storks as we passed through a rather large colony approaching Cordoba from the north and after comparing the lists of those present it would seem that the group, as a whole, recorded a magnificent 57 species (see below) for a most interesting day.

Shelduck, Mallard, Red-Legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Night Heron, Cattle Egret,  Little Egret, White Stork, Red Kite, Black Kite, Griffon Vulture, Short-Toed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Coot, Kentish Plover, Redshank, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Common Swift, Bee-Eater, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Red-Rumped Swallow, Nightingale, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti’s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Pied Flycatcher, Long-Tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Penduline Tit, Golden Oriole, Azure-winged Magpie, Magpie, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, And Corn Bunting.

Bob Wright – ABS Member

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