Saturday, 30 May 2009

A day in the Sierra Nevada with SEO, Granada Province.

The Genil Valley.

A group of 13 set off on a wild life walk along the Rio Genil in the wooded valleys in the north of the National Park. The walk started at Estacion de Maitena just east of Guejar-Sierra and followed the Rio Genil for quite a few KMs. Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) were all seen before leaving the road and following the disused tram line. Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) were all feeding in a small group of Sweet Chestnut Trees (Astanea sativa) along the way. Pyrenean Oak (Quercus pyrenaica) and Yew (Taxus baccata) were both found near the first Venta and just before we left the tram way to join la Vereda de la Estrella we found several spikes of Robust Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza elata) in a track side flush, along with Digitalis obsura and Dianthus Pungens. Acer granatense, Acer monspessulanum and Sorbus torminalis were three new tree species I had not seen before in Granada Province, all described by our walk leader Jorge Garzón. Bonelli’s Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla) and Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) all sang from the scrub growing on the slopes.
We stopped for lunch on the bank of the Rio Genil where a Dipper (Mirlo Acuático / Cinclus cinclus) put in an appearance up stream from us.
The weather then took a turn for the worse, thunder, lightening, hail, rain and snow all took there turn before the sun returned. The storm rumbled away behind us for the rest of the day but did not cause any problems. Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Blue-Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) and Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) were all added to the day's list on the way back to the cars. Many more species were seen during the day (too many to list here) and every one had a most enjoyable walk.
Photographs from the top: Barranco de San Juan, Digitalis obsura, Pyrenean Oak (Quercus pyrenaica) and Sierra Nevada.

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