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), Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata). 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) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) were all added to the days list. On the way down we picked up Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo), Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus fasciatus), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata). Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera) and Small Early Purple Orchid (Orchis Olbiensis) were also seen on the way down.
Photographs from the top: Giant Orchid (Barlia robertiana), Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) and Narcissus bugei.