Saturday, 28 March 2009

A walk along Nívar Valley to Cortijo de Cariafaqui, Sierra de Huetor, Granada Province.

SEO Sierra Nevada Visit.

A truly international group of birders (Spanish, French, Italian and English) lead by Jorge Garzón, set off on a 12km walk to Cortijo de Cariafaqui in the Nivar Valley in Sierra de Huetor. The weather at the start did not look promising but it brightened up nicely as the morning went on and got quite warm by mid afternoon but let us down by pouring with rain right at the end of the day.
The first sighting was of a group of three Cirl Buntings (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) feeding under Olive trees at the side of the track, seen whilst we were looking at some Grape Hyacinths (Muscari neglectum). A little further along the track several spikes of Fan-lipped Orchid (Orchis collina) were found along with Wild Clary (Salvia verbenaca) and Scrambling Gromwell (Lithodora diffusa). Continuing on we saw Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and a new bird for my Granada list a Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea). Many Spikes of Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca) and Small Early Purple Orchid (Orchis Olbensis) were found along the track edges along with two much rarer plants, Adonis vernalis and Narcissus triandrus subsp pallidulus, both of which were new for me.
Just as we arrived at the spot where we were to have lunch Andy Mountford the other English lad on the walk picked up Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotraustes) in the nearby pine trees and whilst we were having lunch a pair of Bonelli's Eagles (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus fasciatus) put in an apperance, along with Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) and a heard but not seen Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli). We returned by much the same track adding Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Rock Bunting (Escribano montesino), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubicola) and we briefly heard a Scops Owl (autillo Europeo / Otus Scops). This is only a brief account of a very good day, thanks to Jorge and all the other pleasant people who took part.
Photographs from the top: Adonis vernalis, Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotraustes) and Narcissus triandrus subsp pallidulus.

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