Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Wildlife walk with the Aldeas Infantiles SOS group, Granada Province.

Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada.

On my way up to the Sierra Nevada Ski Resort to Meet Jorge Garzón I had a quick look on the fields to the North of Huetor Tajar and was surprised to see a flock of 37 Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) feeding on a flooded Lucerne (Medicago sativa) field along with several hundred Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and a Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea). Before Meeting Jorge Garzón at the Ski resort I spent some time in the Genil Valley checking out an orchid site for a potential visit by an Orchid enthusiast from Malaga but the Epipactis Phyllanthes were well over with as were all the species except for a few Dactylorhiza Elata. Later I went part of the way along the trail to the Barranco de San Juan again hoping to get some repeat views of the Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Rojo / Monticola saxatilis) males we had seen the previous weekend. Some brief views were had but the photos were not great. Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros).
I then made my way to the Ski resort to Meet Jorge and the 60 strong group going on this walk. We made our way to the edge of the built up area seeing Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Black Redstart. On the banks of a small ornamental pool in the gardens a couple of spikes of Dactylorhiza elata were shown to the group and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Motacill alba) were also seen. At least three different male Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyrenaica) were on the slopes feeding in amongst the low vegetation. An imm Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator glandarrius) flew up the slope in front of us and a couple of Apollo (Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis) Butterflies passed by. The endemic variety of Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea var nevadensis) was growing quite commonly on the slopes along with Verbascum Nevadense, Ptilotrichum spinosum and Eryngium glaciale. We made our way out to a view point down the valley and then returned to the resort and to the hotel for something to eat. Later the group went up to the top car parks where a couple of local astrologists had a telescope set up and we spent some time looking at the night sky.
Photographs from the top: Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Sierra Nevada Ski Resort, Dactylorhiza elata, Apollo (Parnassius apollo subsp nevadensis) and Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyrenaica).

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