The plan had been to go up Torcal near Antequera but as we got closer we soon realized that this was not going to be a good choise as there was a thick layer of cloud covering the ridge. So we made a quick about turn and headed a short way back down the motorway to the Arroya Mirin just to the south of the town of Archidona. The site is a narrowish valley with a woodland line stream, Cistus scrub, broad-leaved and Pine Woods edged in with some nice crags. As soon as we got out of the car several Nightingales (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) were singing from the track side trees and a distant Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla) called somewhere down the valley. On the back along the side of the track good numbers of Yellow Bee (Ophrys lutea) and Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum) were in flower along with Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum), White Mignonette (Reseda Alba), Intermediate Perriwinkle (Vinca difformis) and Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata). The valley opens out about half way down and there are some nice meadows where there were many more of the two species of Orchid mentioned above.
Several species of butterfly were seen while we were in the meadows including Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea), Moroccan Orange Tip (Anthocharis belia) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui). The distinctive call of European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) rang out from high above as a small flock of birds moved north and lower down the startling rattle of a Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) blasted from the stream side bushes. Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) along Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) were also hawking for food above the valley. Further down the river we heard a second and third Wryneck calling and found several spikes of the not so exiting Man Orchid (Aceras anthropophorum) under the Pines. We made our back adding Long-tailed (
Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus).
We then moved on to Laguna Dulce where we picked up a couple of White-headed Ducks (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala) both females, Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and a small group of Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna). On the shore line several Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus), Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) were seen feeding amongst the plentiful Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber). Also out on the water we picked up Little (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Black-necked (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), one of the later was try it best to swallow a Sharp-ribbed Salamander. Over the area good numbers of Gull-billed (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) and a single Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chlidonias hybridus) were noted along with both Pallid (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus) and Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus).We then went around some of the other lagoons near by but did not add anything except for a male White headed Duck.
Later at Sierra de Teba we managed a single Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) and several Red-billed Choughs (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) along the crags. Also seen here were European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus). On the way home we had a quick look in at Sierra Loja and in the small disused Quarry we soon located the Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo) which was sitting out on the edge of the nest platform. We also added Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus). Several plants were seen around the site including Viola dementria, Southern Wild Tulip (Tulipa sylvestris ssp australis), Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) and Intermediate Perriwinkle (Vinca difformis).
Photographs from the top: Intermediate Perriwinkle (Vinca difformis), Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus) and Viola dementria.