Work today involved a stroll through the fine surroundings of El Chorro, We started from the shores of one of the Embalse's de Ardales and walked through a tunnel out into the wooded valley on the other side of the ridge. We started up hill and then continued higher to we had some fantastic views out over the gorges of El Chorro. On the way up I saw several Black Wheatears (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), a couple of male Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and once we we at the top we were treated some close views of Alpine Swifts (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) as they flew by. On the way we has some views of at least three Spanish Ibex (Capra pyreaica hispanica) as they moved along some very vertical looking crags. Orchids were also common including Champagne (Orchis Champagneuxii), Dense-Flowered (Neotinea maculata), Fan-lipped (Orchis collina), Man (Flor del Ahorcado / Aceras anthropophorum), Mirror (Espejo de Venus / Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), Pink Butterfly (Orquídea mariposa / Orchis papilionacea), Small Early Purple (Satirión manchado / Orchis Mascula ssp Olbiensis), Sawfly (Abejorros, flor de avispa / Ophrys tenthredinifera), Woodcock (Flor de la becada / Ophrys Scolopax), Yellow Bee (Abejera amarilla / Ophrys Lutea) and Somber Bee (Abejera oscura / Ophrys fusca subsp fusca).
On the way down we were following another group, a woman walking with them suddenly jump and pointed down to a small snake hurring a cross the track, I got there quickly enough to get a couple of shot before it went into a hole, late Identified as Viperine Snake (Culebra viperina / Natrix maura). During the hike we also picked up several butterfly species including Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea), Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra) and Large White (Pieris brassicae).
Other birds seen during the hike and the drives each way included Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Bonelli’s Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino /Parus cristatus), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus).
Photographs from the top: Champagne Orchid (Orchis Champagneuxii), 2x Viperine Snake (Culebra viperina / Natrix maura) and Dense-Flowered Orchid (Neotinea maculata).