Saturday 14 March 2009

Orchid meadows near Zafarraya, Granada Province.

Orchids and the Guadia.

Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum robertiana).
After a day down on the coast we returned home via Zafarraya and several good orchid sites. The first stop was at a large area of rocky grassland which had a good display of Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum Robertiana) and a single Fan-lipped Orchid (Orchis Collina), I had hoped to see more but after the wet cold winter I think some species are going to be later flowering this year. We continued on and made several more stops but only the same two species were seen. At the final site I was taking some photographs of the location when a Guadia Civil 4X4 pulled up and the officers asked if we were having any problems. I explained to them I was photographing Orchids, the one policeman did not think any orchids grew in the area but with in minutes him and the second officer were both taking an interest and looking at Fan-lipped and Giant Orchid a site I never thought I would see!

Thursday 12 March 2009

Embalse De Iznájar, Cordoba Province.

Spider Orchid hunt.

Italian Man Orchid (Orchis italica).
The main reason for visiting this site was to try and find Dark Spider Orchid (Ophrys incubacea) amongst the Pine trees. It was not to be my day for this species but I did see some of the best Italian Man Orchid (Orchis italica) I have ever seen (right and below), Ophrys forestieri, Sawfly (Ophrys tenthredinifera), Mirror (Ophrys Speculum) and a single spike of Giant Orchid (Himanthoglosum robertiana).
Italian Man Orchid (Orchis italica).
Further around the lake on the Southern Road / track we saw more Ophrys forestieri, Spanish Toadflax (Linaria amethystea), Vinca difformis, Fedia (Fedia cornucopiae), Galactites tomentosa and at the view point half way around there was a nice show of Narcissus baeticus. Birds were few but we did see Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) and Red-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax / Chova Piquirroja).

Monday 9 March 2009

Laguna de Fuente de Piedra, Malaga Province.

Greater Flamingos at Fuente de Piedra.

Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus).
On my way down to Coin I called in at Fuente de Piedra to catch up with a few species I had not seen for a while. The lake and surrounding pools and marshes were all full of water after the very wet winter. Several thousand Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus) could be seen out on the main Lagoon and some were much closer on the smaller pool on the entrance road. White-headed Duck x1(Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucophala), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Red-crested Pochard x9 (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Mallard (Azulón Europeo / Anas platyhynchos) and Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera) were all seen.
Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus).
Several waders were present including Black-tailed Godwit (Aguja Colinegra / Limosa limosa), Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnas), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Common Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), European Golden Plover (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaia), Dunlin (Correlimos Común /Calidris alpina), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta).

Early Orchids in Malaga Province.

Searching for rare Orchids in Malaga Province.

Atlas Orchid (Ophrys Atlantica).
Ian Phillips an Orchid expert from Malaga and myself spent an exciting (well it was for me) few hours tracking down some very interesting species in the area around Alhaurín el Grande and Coin. The first site visited produced an amazing show of 100s of Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys scolopax) a single Man Orchid (Aceras anthropophorum) and many Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera). We moved on and with Ian's guidance and local knowledge of the area we managed to find a single spike of Atlas Orchid (Ophrys Atlantica)at the next site, a species I have wanted to see for many years and I was not disappointed. Also in the same area we saw Champagne Orchid (Orchis champagneuxii), Ophrys dyris and it's hybrid with Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca), Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca) and Sawfly Orchid

Ophrys dyris.
We then moved to a site which is unfortunately under severe threat from a nearby quarry. Here we saw Two-leaved Gennaria (Gennaria diphylla) about 15/20 plants. Also seen were Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum), Somber Bee Orchid and Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea). The final location was in pine woodland near Alharín, we hoped for Atlas Orchids again but the site had been scrapped with some kind of digger, there were still some none flowering Orchids. In an abandoned orchard near by we found several spikes of both Fan-lipped (Orchis Collina) and Conical Orchids (Orchis Conica) and the very small Narcissus beticus. Other species seen included Barbary Knut (Gynandiris sisyrinchium), Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus), Friar's Cowle (Arisarum vulgare) and Dutchmans Pipe (Aristolochia baetica). A couple of species of Butterfly were also noted including Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) and Large White (Pieris brassicae) and just as we were leaving the last site a pale phase Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus) was soaring quite close by.

Two-leaved Gennaria (Gennaria diphylla).