Sunday, 27 February 2011

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

A quick trip up the hill.

Jayne and I went up Sierra de Loja for a quick look to see if there were any early flowers in bloom, we took the small track up to the disused quarry above the town and soon realised that we had chosen the wrong day to go up as it was a holiday Sunday and most of Loja appeared to have had the same idea. I did have a look on the limestone slopes and found a few spikes of Fan-lipped Orchid (Orchis collina) the third Orchid of the year in flower, along with Friar's Cowl (Arisarum vulgare), Common Stork's-bill (Erodium cicutarium), Wide-leaved Iris (Iris planifolia) and Viola dementria. A small group of Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) circled over the near by crags and were mobbed noisily by a pair of Common Kestrels (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), while at least two male Dartford Warblers (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) carried out almost continual display flights. We drove a little further on up along the crags adding Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) on the way to the first parking spot. The traffic was so heavy it almost felt like there had been a diversion set up off the main A92, we decided that due to the amount of disturbance we would do this another day and started to make our way home. On the way down we picked up Giant Orchid (Barlia robertiana and Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca) near the motorway.
Photographs from the top: Fan-lipped Orchid (Orchis collina), Friar's Cowl (Arisarum vulgare), Common Stork's-bill (Erodium cicutarium) and Viola dementria.

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