Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Venta del Zafarraya Area, Granada Province.

In search of white Orchids.

Today’s quest was to find a white variant of the Giant Orchid (Barlia robertiana) which Mary-Ann, a member of the Axarquia Bird group had e-mailed me a photograph of. On the way there I saw several small flocks of Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and 3x Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) which flew low over the road in amongst the Olive trees.
As soon as I arrived at the site I started to find Giant Orchids of varying shades of pink/red but not the white ones I had come for. I found several spikes of Fan-lipped Orchids (Orchis collina) and a few Conical Orchids (Orchis conica) just poking their heads above ground but not really in flower yet. Eventually I found a spike of the white plant but it was not the one Mary-Ann had found as it was still in bud. Well, a couple of hours later I stumbled across two plants of the white variant in bloom and they were well worth the search. While I had been searching I picked up Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
I then started to make my way home via the agricultural areas to the east of Zafarraya and up through Salar, on the way I found a nice pair of Stone-curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) near the roadside which stayed while I set up the camera which made a nice change and did not move a muscle even when a huge lorry thundered by. I also added loads of Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and again one sat long enough for a couple of shots, Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni) and Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).
Photographs from the top: Standard looking Giant Orchid (Barlia robertiana), White Giant Orchid, Stone-curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) and Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra).

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