I arrived in Sorbas several hours before I was due to meet Jan and Linda (two friends who own the La Paz holiday Accommodation in our road back home) and the other members of the OUGS. As I was early I had some breakfast in one of the local ventas and then headed down the road south of the town. I parked up and had a walk through a nice area of Cistis scrub, the first bird seen was a fine male Ring Ouzel (Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus) which did an all to brief fly passed, the next bird was a male Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), followed by a female Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis) which was feeding in an Olive tree and just totally ignored me. Several spikes of the Giant (Barlia robertiana), Yellow Bee (Ophrys lutea) and Mirror Orchids (Ophrys speculum) were growing on the verges along with the very impressive Yellow Broomrape type plant Cistanche (Cistanche phelypaea). Other plants included Fagonia (Fagonia cretica), Grey-leaved Cistis (Cistus albidus), Pink Phlomis (Phlomis purpurea) and Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena). From the other side of the road there was a view down over a valley with some small crags, here I saw and heard Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos).
I then meet up with the Geology Group and made my way behind there four cars to the first of a few road side stops. Here we look at what to me was an amazing lump of shinny rock, to the experts it was a large Gypsum Bush (ever felt completely out of you depth, wildlife is so much easier) which ever way it was very impressive. A couple of European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) briefly did a fly passed and another Black Wheatear surveyed us from one of the large rock pinnacles near by. Further along the road we walked out on to a flat area made up totally of Gypsum, here we were looking at what a total Geopillock would describe as water damage, where the water has lifted a layer of rock. More Mirror Orchids were seen here along with a lot of a small Linaria species (yet to be identified).
Again we moved on and arrived at the Cuevas de Sorbas where we had a loo and coffee stop and I managed to pick up something for my lunch which was to be taken at the far end of rambler on the way to the caves. Along the cave several features were pointed out by Linda, Several birds were seen including Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala),
The last stop was at Rambler de Gochar where we
Photographs from the top: The Group looking at the Gypsum Bush, Gypsum Crystals, Gypsum Hollow?, Rippling in layered sediments,