Ruta de las Orchideas.
First of all I meet up with Juan Perez and his wife Beatriz just on the edge of the town of Illora and then we made our way through some tight streets to the town hall where we met up with Jose Luis Esteban Sanchez who was leading the group as part of a day with Illora Natural.
We first drove to a spot just a few KM from the town and parked by a water deposito that had been adapted to assist the local Amphibian population. We then walked through an area of Olive groves, Oak trees and rough ground picking up good numbers of Fan-lipped (Orchis collina), Mirror (Espejo de Venus / Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), Sawfly (Abejorros, flor de avispa / Ophrys tenthredinifera), Small Early Purple Orchid (Satirión manchado / Orchis Mascula ssp Olbiensis) and Yellow Bee Orchid (Abejera amarilla / Ophrys Lutea). We continued on through more Olives and across a couple of fallow fields and out on to some grassland where we found some very nice Giant Orchids (Barlia robertiana) spikes and some Lizard Orchids (Himantoglossum hircinum) which were a long way off flowering. Also a long way off flowering were the next two species, In a small area of Oaks Jose Juis showed us two spikes of Purple Limodore (Limodorum abortivum) and some leaf rosettes of Lady Orchid (Orchis purpurea). A little further on we added a few spikes of Somber Bee Orchid (Abejera oscura / Ophrys fusca subsp fusca) which were still in good flower. We were finding groups of Giant Orchids regularly as we started to climb up one of the smaller sierra's, on the way up we heard our first Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus) of the year and found the only Italian Man Orchid (Orchis italica) of the day. Also seen along here was an albino Small Early Purple Orchid, plus lots more Yellow Bee and Mirror. We continued to climb and then dropped down into some Pine woodland here we picked up the small multi-flowered Narcissus baeticus and nearby a still to be identified Narcissus. Our route then took us back down hill through some ancient almond groves to the car. We then all returned to Illora for a well earned drink. Other wild flowers seen during the walk included Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum major), Aphyllanthes (Aphyllanthes monspliensis), Spring Rockcress (Arabis verna), Blue Woodruff (Asperula arvensis), Navelwort (Umbilicus rupestrs), Spotted Rockrose (Tuberaria guttata), Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata), Med Buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus), Common Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum), Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum), White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum), Valerian (Fedia cornucopiae) and Brown Bluebell (Dipcadi serotinum).
Photographs from the top: Fan-lipped (Orchis collina), Jose Luis photographing Giant Orchids (Barlia robertiana),Albino Small Early Purple Orchid (Satirión manchado / Orchis Mascula ssp Olbiensis), Group looking at Purple Limodore (Limodorum abortivum) and Narcissus baeticus.