Two new Orchid species for my Granada List.
Juan and I found ourselves back at the usual spot near Motril to carry out the monthly RAM sea bird count and I remembered my chair this month which made for an all together more comfortable experience. The hour and a half spent up on the cliff tops was very quiet in sea bird terms, with just small numbers of Balearic Shearwaters (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus), Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo) and a couple of Great Skua's (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua) being recorded. The usual Gulls included Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), a few Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) left over from winter and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis). It was nice to see some visible migration whilst we were there including good numbers of hirundines and swifts heading North and both Squacco (Garcilla Cangrejera / Ardeola ralloides) and Night Herons (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) coming into view from far out at sea. Other birds seen here included Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus), 2x Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus).
We stopped off at the port quickly but birds were few, we did add Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) to the list but most of the gulls had moved on.
We then tried but failed to get into Charca, during the breeding season the access is even more restricted than usual, so we looked on the marshes near by. We picked up Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Tree Sparrow (Gorrión Molinero / Passer Montanus), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) and Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata).
Our next stop was further along the coast at Cerro Gordo, a small headland near the Malaga boarder. Here the objective changed to Orchids and as soon as we walked out towards the old tower we found the first target species, Two-leaved Gennaria (Gennaria diphylla). Several plants were found amongst the scrub and later many more were seen in the pine woods, all were slightly past their best but identifiable. In this area we also saw Yellow Bee (Abejera amarilla / Ophrys Lutea), Pink Butterfly (Orquídea mariposa / Orchis papilionacea) and Mirror Orchids (Espejo de Venus / Ophrys speculum subsp speculum). On the bird front we picked up Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Bonelli’s Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and Alpine Swift (Vencejo Real / Apus melba). We then returned to the café and walked down through the Pine woods seeing Somber Bee (Abejera oscura / Ophrys fusca subsp fusca), Fan-lipped (Orchis collina) and the second new species, a single flowering spike of Champagne Orchid (Orchis Champagneuxii). Other wildflowers included Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), Yellow Anemone (Anemone palmate), Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia baetica), Yellow Sea Aster (Asteriscus maritimus), Borage (Borago officinalis), Cut-leaved Valerian (Centranthus calcitrapae), Blue Dreams (Chaenorrhinum Glareosum), Grey-leaved Cistis (Cistis albidus), Narrow-leaved Cistis (Cistis monspeliensis), Small blue Convulvulus (Convolvulus siculus), Cytinus hypocistis, Brown Bluebell (Dipcadi serotinum), Purple Vipers Bugloss (Echium lycopsis), Valerian (Fedia cornucopiae), White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum), Iberis pectinata, Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum), Hemp Broomrape (Orobanche ramose), Phlomis purpurea and Ground-pine Germander (Teucrium pseudochamaepitys).
Photographs from the top: Two-leaved Gennaria (Gennaria diphylla), Champagne Orchid (Orchis Champagneuxii), Small blue Convulvulus (Convolvulus siculus), Cytinus hypocistis and Phlomis purpurea.