|Giant Orchid (Barlia robertiana).|
Bernard, Dave and myself spent the day birding the hills around Loja, the first stop was not for the birds but to have a look at a nice group of Giant Orchid (Barlia robertiana) growing on the embankment at the side of the A92 motorway, whilst here we did see our first Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) of the day, several Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and a male Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melancephala). Moving up higher we walked along one of the many tracks through the gorse scrub to a small disused quarry where we picked up Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata).
|Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).|
Again we moved further up the sierra and picked up Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and both Black-eared (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) and Northern Wheatears (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe). At a spot about 1500 meters up we searched an outcrop of rock for plant species and found a single Sierra Nevada Crocus (Crocus nevadensis) also many plants of Narcissus bugei (kindly Identified by Sue Eatock from Wildside Holidays in Grazalema). Whilst we were here a pale phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus) made a brief pass over head and Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) were all added to the days list.
On the way down we picked up Iberian / Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus fasciatus), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata). Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp tenthredinifera) and Southern Early Purple Orchid (Chupaeros / Androrchis Olbiensis) were also seen on the way down.