After going to the English meeting at the Hotel above Riofrio, Jayne and myself had a drive out to check for parking space at a couple of sites which the group will be visiting later in the month. The first site there was a good number of Conical Orchids (Orchis conica) in flower, many more than in the last few years. But the opposite was found for Giant Orchid (Barlia robertiana), only about 10% of the plants compared to last year. Yellow Bee (Ophrys lutea) was common enough and a few spikes of Fan-lipped (Orchis collina), Sawfly (Ophrys tenthredinifera var tenthredinifera) and Mirror Orchids (Ophrys speculum) were found. Southern Early Purple (Orchis olbiensis) was found growing in the shade of the Oaks and was at its typical variable self, with flowers ranging from white with purple spots, through to deep purple with black spots. Large numbers of leaf rosettes were found, which makes me think there will be a good show later in the month.
A pair of Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea) were seen in the rocks on the field surrounds and a couple of singing male Bonelli’s Warblers (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and a single Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus) were heard.
The second spot a little nearer Zafarraya was much the better location, on the more open grassy slope many thousands of Yellow Bee Orchid were in flower with equal numbers still in bud. The Giant Orchids have done better here to, with about a 100 spikes being seen, along with Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papillonecea), many more Conical and a few Sawfly it made quite a show. Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Long-tailed Tit (
and Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) were also seen here and on the way home near Alhama de Granada we watched a cracking female
Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus) hunting over the woodlands.
Photographs from the top: Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea), Conical Orchid (Orchis conica) and colour variants of Southern Early Purple Orchid (Orchis olbiensis).