Monday 3 May 2010

Sierra de las Nieves and Casares areas of Malaga Province.

26 Orchid species in one day.

Trabut's Limodore (Limodorum trabutianum).
I headed over to Sierra de las Nieves to meet up with Ian Phillips a friend from Malaga with a fantastic knowledge of the Orchids of Andalucia and where to find them. I arrived early so I had a quick look at the entrance to the Sierra de las Nieves national park just off the San Pedro to Ronda road and quickly started to find Orchids. The first was a nice patch of Champagne Orchids (Orchis champagneuxii) flowering nicely under some low trees, in the Cistus scrub the next species was Woodcock (Ophrys scolopax). Italian Man (Orchis italica) and Dull Bee (Ophrys fusca subsp????) were next, flowering on the top of the roadside bank and lower down both Yellow Bee (Ophrys lutea) and Mirror (Ophrys speculum) were found. The last two species were Lange's (Orchis langei) and Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanthera longifolia) both growing on the more open right hand bank.
Orchis cazorlensis.
Ian and myself then meet up and headed back into the reserve for the main species of the day, on the drive up to the site we picked up some more nice Lange's, Champagne Orchids and Sword-leaved Heleborine. We added Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tentredinifera) and both Purple (Limodorum abortivum) and Trabut's Limodore (Limodorum trabutianum) which were not quite in flower. 
At the main site we soon found four plants of Orchis cazorlensis and large numbers of Man (Aceras anthropophorum) and Woodcock Orchids. Just around the corner from there we found three more Cazorlensis plants and a couple of the hybrids between it and Orchis langei named Orchis x incantata. Whilst in this area we picked up a single female Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) flying over and several singing Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus) and Bonelli’s Warblers (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli).
Dactylorhiza sulphurea
Our next stop was in the Genil Valley at a site for Dactylorhiza sulphurea, I had expected them all to be well over with but a few spikes were still in fine condition, along with two of the tallest Lange's, Sawfly and a weedy plant of Trabut's Limodore. 
We then moved on to a site near Casares, picking up an Egyptian Mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon) on the way. At the first of the Casares sites, which was in an anchent Cork Oak (Quercus suber) woodland we soon started to find new species for the day including Bee (Ophrys apifera), Tongue (Serapias lingua) and Small-tongue Orchids (Serapias parviflora). both Epipactis Tremolsii and lucitanica, plus the hybrid between them were seen in the darker parts of the wood. Limodorum trabutanum and abortivum were both at the site as well. 
Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera).
We then moved down towards the coast at Manilva and quickly found several more spikes of Serapias strictiflora than Ian was expecting, he had only found 6 spikes on a previous visit but today we managed to find a fantastic 40 plants in perfect flower and Small Woodcock Orchid was again seen but this time the subsp Picta. We then had a late lunch and later I drove home via the busy coastal motorways.
Serapias strictiflora.
We had several other species of bird during the day including Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans). 

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