Saturday 19 December 2009

Rute, Cordoba Province.

A visit to the Chocolate Belen in Rute.

Princess Letizia.
Jayne, Alan and I set off to Rute mid morning to visit what is said to be the biggest chocolate Belen in the world. We arrived and had a walk around the main display, which was very impressive but the smell was enough to put you off chocolate for a very long time. 
Queen Sofia.
We had a quick look at the shop and the drove a little way down the road to look at another largest chocolate Belen at another sweet factory. Here we did buy some of the sweets including some very nice sugared almonds.
Later we had a look around the centre of the town and had a walk around the market and some more sweet producer’s factories.
Chocolate Belen.
On the way back we made our way up to the motorway via the cross country road to Loja. Along this road we picked up Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and an Immature Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) just before we reached the motorway.

Huetor Tajar, Granada Province.

Over Night Rains.

The weather over night was savage, with very very heavy rain and strong winds. The dry barranco at the back of the house was running at about 2.5 meters deep and wide at 2am and when we were heading out to Rute later the Rio Genil was not it's usual 3 meters wide and a meter or so deep.
Photographs from the top: View upstream and view downstream.

Sunday 13 December 2009

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

Winter Atlas recording.

Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
I had another 8 itineraries to complete today this time on the Northern slope of Sierra de Loja, just above the town. It started in a disused quarry and finished on the flatter tops about 4.5kms to the west. The first birds seen were a flock of about 40 Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) circling above the crags, followed by Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis) and Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs). 
Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falcotinnunculus).
Further along the main track up the Sierra a small flock of passerines passed through the pines, including Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus) and a great many Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita). Out along the crags I started to pick up some of the upland species expected, these included a single Alpine Accentor (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis) which landed briefly on the top of the crags and spent a few minute flying around over head. 
Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula).
Also seen were Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falcotinnunculus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).