Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A few early blooms.

The road to El Purche from the Sierra Nevada road was a lot better today the thick layers of ice had pretty much gone. The first detour was down a track that Juan Perez had shown me last summer where we had seen a great show of orchids. I was just doing a drawing of the site today, but along the track I had some very nice views of a couple of pairs of Rock Buntings (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), 5 or 6 Jays (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica). I then went back up onto the road and carried on to the furthest point and parked the car, here there were more Rock Buntings, singing Woodlarks plus Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Great (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus). I then went up past the two bars and out to the rocky crags above the large quarry hoping to add some early wildflowers to the list but I soon guessed by the amount of cow do around and the sight of several large beast munching the herbage this was not going to be easy. A few Dandelion type things and lots of Southern Daisy’s (Bellis cordifolia) later I gave up and walked back along the road seeing a dozen or so Redwings (Zorzal Alirrojo / Turdus iliacus), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and a cracking male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) and his not so cracking mate.
After fighting my way past two of the biggest, savage sounding fluffy soft hounds I made it back to the car and started to drive slowly back along to the Sierra Nevada road. A sizable flock of Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) were seen feeding amongst some Hawthorn bushes and at least 20 Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and an equal number of Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) flushed up from the road side. I had just started taking some shots of a Southern Grey Shrike perched close to the side of the road when I notice a Police Local vehicle in the mirrors and decided that as there were broken white lines on the verge I had better move on.
As I dropped down through the Pine woods I saw several Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus) nicely in flower so I pulled well clear of the road and let the police vehicle go by before getting some photos. On the way back to the car I started to find several spikes of the Endemic Sierra Nevada Crocus (Crocus nevadensis), along with of the rare Three-leaved Crocus (Colchicum triphyllum) both of which I have seen on Sierra de Loja but not here before.
I continued down on the main road towards Granada but turned off and took the road to Dudar and beyond to the Embalse. Whilst driving along the side of the lake a couple of Alpine Accentors (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis) flew up onto some rocks but it was some time before I found a place to park and by the time I walked back a few cyclists and another walker had been through the area so I was not surprised that I did not see them again. I did add a few Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) to the list and also saw Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea), Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) and several Spanish form Small Heath Butterflies (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus).
Photographs from the top: Remaining Ice, Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), The munching Cows, Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus), Sierra Nevada Crocus (Crocus nevadensis), Three-leaved Crocus (Colchicum triphyllum), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus).

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