Friday, 27 March 2009

Birding on the local Sierras, Loja, Granada Province.

Summer Arrivals.

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.

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