Saturday, 11 July 2009

A day in the Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

Barranco de San Juan, Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada.

Juan and Beatriz on the track out to the Barranco de San Juan.
After meeting Juan Perez and his wife Beatriz on the outskirts of Granada we set off up the main road to the sierra and on to a site for a plant called Odontites granatensis at what Juan tells me is it only known site. Many plants were seen but they were behind a low fence with signs making it quite clear that entry was prohibited, so the photos were not good and of poor specimens which grew through the wire.
Cerastium cerastoides.
Verbascum Nevadense was also seen growing quite commonly along with Juniperus sabina, Ptilotrichum spinosum, Digitalis purpurea and Ononis spinosa ssp. australis. Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita Campestris / Anthus campestris), Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) were all seen or heard. 
Botrychium lunaria.
We then made our way to the highest point to which you can get by car at about 2500 meters and parked by the barrier which prevents you from proceeding further towards the summit. From here we headed out on a track towards the start of the Barranco, on the way we passed through at least 2 or 3 territories of Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis). Several Imm birds were seen along with the stunning males. More Northern Wheatears, Rock Buntings were seen along with Linnets (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Pallid Swifts (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falcotinnunculus).
Pinguicula nevadensis.
Amongst the rocks Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Arenaria imbricata, Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis), Eryngium glaciale, Jasione crispa subsp amethystina, Linaria aeruginea subsp nevadensis, Lotus Glareosus, Pterocephalus spathulatus, House Leek (Sempervivum vicentei subsp lainzii) and Sierra Nevada Violet (Viola crassiuscula) were all seen close to the track side.
Spring Gentian (Gentiana verna subsp sierrae).
At the main site, a group of very wet flushes which produced a rich mossy landscape with masses of other rare and some endemic wildflowers including St Bernards Lily (Anthericum lilago), Cerastium cerastoides, Spring Gentian (Gentiana verna subsp sierrae), Pinguicula nevadensis, Starry Saxifrage (Saxifraga stellaris subsp alpigena) and Botrychium lunaria.
Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron subsp gordius)
On the return Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) were added to the day list.
Head of the Barranco de San Juan.
Butterflies were numerous all day flying between the many wildflowers. The best were a couple of Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron subsp gordius) and Meadow Fritillary (Mellicta parthenoides) seen on the return from Barranco de San Juan, Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina) and Long-tailed Blues (Lampides boeticus), Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea) and Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines) were also seen, we then returned to the city after a cracking morning in the mountains.

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