Saturday, 12 March 2011

Laguna Herrera and Embalse de Iznajar, Malaga Province.

Fifth and sixth Orchids for the year list.

Jayne and I went to Antequera via Salinas, we had a look around the Centro commercial and then made our way to Laguna Herrera. On the approach we picked up Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros). The flooded fields on the right of the laguuna were heaving with Gulls, most were Lesser Black-backs (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) but there were a few Yellow-legged (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) mixed in. On the margins there were a couple of hundred Northern Shovelers (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), a few Mallards (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Shelducks (Tarro Blanco / Tadoma tadorna). We went further on and scanned the main Laguna on the left of the track, the first species seen were the flocks of Greater Flamingo’s (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) numbering about 200 birds. A few Green Sandpipers (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) and a single Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus). On the margins my first Yellow Wagtails (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava) of the year feeding amongst good numbers White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), along with House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
On the other side of the road there were at least 400 more Greater Flamingo’s, several Eurasian Coots (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and about 20 Avocet (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta) which flew in from flooded fields further away. In the air above the site there were loads of hirundines including hundreds of Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), good numbers also of Sand Martins (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica). Other birds seen included Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) and Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris).
We then moved on to the second site at the Southern end of the dam at Embalse de Iznajar. Orchids were the main target here, I soon started to find spikes if full flower including Sawfly (Ophrys tenthredinifera), Somber Bee (Ophrys fusca), Italian Man (Orchis italica) and Giant Orchids (Barlia robertiana). The surprise was finding 20 spikes of Bumble-bee Orchid (Ophrys bumbyliflora) in a ditch on the roadside. Birds were few but I did see Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), 4x Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) and a pair of Ravens (Cuervo / Corvus corax).
Photographs from the top: Greater Flamingo’s (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) on the Laguna, Gulls over the Flooded Fields, Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca), Italian Man Orchid (Orchis italica), Giant Orchid (Barlia robertiana) and Bumble-bee Orchid (Ophrys bumbyliflora).

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