Saturday, 21 November 2009

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

Ring Ouzel's, camera shy Thrushes.

The main reason for the drive up was to try and get some photographs of the Ring Ouzels (Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus) seen a few days earlier. We started our drive from the woodlands above Loja, several species of wildflower were starting to add a nice splash of colour to the area, including Wide-leaved Iris (Iris planifolia) with just a few of the many thousands of blooms were just starting to show, Purple Vipers Bugloss (Echium lycopsis), Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris) and Field Marigold (Calendula arvensis). Passing the crags several climbers were seen scaling the cliffs, whilst Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Red-billed Choughs (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) flew along the ridge above them scalding loudly. Once up on the tops we started to see Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) all of which are regular here. Once we reached the area for the Ouzels we parked in a convenient spot and waited. Several Corn Buntings (Triguero / Miliaria calandra), Black RedstartRock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) all paid a brief visit to the water hole but the Ringed Ouzels remained distant. After a couple of hours the light started to drop so we decided to return down the mountain before dark. On the way we added several small groups of Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis) and a flock of about 15 Alpine Accentors (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis). A couple of male Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Capra pyrenaica) were also seen wondering around alone on the higher rocky ridges.

Photographs from the top: Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Wide-leaved Iris (Iris planifolia), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Capra pyrenaica).

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