I was fortunate to be asked by a friend Juan to attend a lecture on Orchids being given in the visitors centre at Sierra de Huetor.
On the way I stopped a couple of times in the pine woodlands in the surrounding area, the commonest species seen was Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea) several birds were heard and seen, along with Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) and Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra). Grey-leaved Cistis (Cistis albidus) was every where and Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris), Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena), Childing Pink (Petrorhagia nanteulii) and Polygala boissieri were all growing on the verge.
Once at the visitors centre I met Juan and his wife Beatriz and we started to have a look through some of the orchids that Juan had seen earlier in the week on a visit with some of his students. Most of the Yellow Bees (ophrys lutea) and all the Mirrors (Ophrys speculum), Dense-flowered (Neotinea maculata) and Southern Early Purples (Orchis mascula/olbiensis) were over with but a few very nice spikes of Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys scolopax subsp picta) were perfect. I also managed to get a few nice shots of a female Moroccan Orange Tip (Anthocharis belia).
At about 10:30 the lecture started and although as you would expect it was all in Spanish, I understood a lot and Juan explained what I could not sort out.
After the indoor bit we all got into the transport and made our way around to a woodland site nearby. Whilst we walked up the track many perfect spikes of Southern Early Purple Orchids were seen under the shade of the oaks and pines. In amongst the scrub we also found several fine spikes of Purple Limodore (Limodorum abortivum) but just a single one was in flower, the rest needing at least another week. The next species found was Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanthera longifolia) a single plant that was just starting to go over but still a beautiful flower. Once back at the cars some of the group including Juan and Beatriz had to make their ways home but I stopped with Juan the lecturer and some of the students for a drink before I to had to leave them to there second beer. I stopped at a site on the way back for a brief look for some Orchis cazorlensis which we were told about but only managed more mascula, Sword-leaved Helleborines and several Man (Aceras anthropophorum).
Photographs from the top: Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys scolopax subsp picta), the group, Moroccan Orange Tip (Anthocharis belia) and Purple Limodore (Limodorum abortivum).