Wednesday 1 April 2009

Orchids near Ronda, Malaga and Cadiz Provinces.

Another new species.

Sulphur Orchid (Dactylorhiza sulphurea).
I spent the morning with Brenda Jones from Ronda searching for Orchids in the Genil Valley and at the Botanical Gardens in El Bosque. At the first site (information given by Ian Philips of Malaga) we had amazing views of 200+ spikes of Sulphur Orchid (Dactylorhiza sulphurea) in full bloom. Along with several Champagne Orchid (Orchis chanpagneuxii), Dense flowered Orchid (Neotinea maculata) and Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanthera longifolia) it made quite a show.
We then made a bit of a mistake and drove the winding roads all the way to El Bosque which took along time and the Violet Limodore (Limodorum abortivum) we were hoping for were there but need another week before they were to be in flower. We would have been better spending the morning in the Genil Valley looking for other species.
 Sulphur Orchid (Dactylorhiza sulphurea).
On our travels we picked up Griffon Vulture (Buitre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Golden (Aguila Real / Aquila chrysaetos), Short-toed (Culebrera Europea / Circaetus gallicus) and Booted Eagles (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and Iberian Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Ibérica / Phylloscopus brehmii) was heard at the Botanic Gardens.

Tuesday 31 March 2009

Another day in the mountains and valleys, Granada Province.

Starting them Young.

Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
Bernard again joined me for a day in the country side around Loja, we were joined today by Kevin and his son a very good little birder called Matthew, who at 10 years old has already learned a lot of good identification skills and field craft and has seen some very good species. We started the day near El Turro seeing Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator glandarrius), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) around the embalse.
Kevin, Bernard and Mathew.
On the lake there were several Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) heard only. In the reed beds the years first Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus) were singing along side the resident Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala). We then moved up in to the hills and started to see more new species for Matt, including Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común/ Lanius senator) and a species he had said was at the top of his wanted list a cracking Golden Eagle (Aguila Real / Aquila chrysaetos).
Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia).
Later further up the sierra we picked up 4 Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris). By the end of the day the list neared 70 species and I think Matt had see a good few new birds.

Monday 30 March 2009

On the local patch, Granada Province.

Searching in the olive groves.

European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
Whilst there I also had the first European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) of the year, a group of about 30 heading North and a couple of Hoopoes (Abubilla / Upupa epops). A little further a long the track is a small area of oak woodland where I also saw three species of orchid Mirror (Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), Yellow Bee (Orquídea Abejera / Ophrys lutea) and Fan-lipped Orchid (Anacamptis collina).

Snakes-head Fritillary (Fritilaria hispanica).
After a tip off from one of our dog walking neighbours Garry, I headed along one of the many tracks amongst the olives in search of a Fritillaria species he had seen in some scrub. With his good description of the site I soon found four plants growing in the track side vegetation. Unfortunately they had started to go past there best but still be identifiable as Snakes-head Fritillary (Fritilaria hispanica).