Back out into the hills.
I first of all meet up with Ian Phillips at salida 203 on the A92, from where we went to Salida 225 where we meet up with Juan. Once Juan and Ian had got acquainted we headed out into the Sierras again hoping to add two new species to Ian's Spanish Orchid list. Our first stop was to have a look at the Red Helleborine's (Cephalanthera rubra) I had seen a few days ago but they were well over with. Just down the road we parked on the road side and ventured into a small wet ravine where after some searching we relocated three spikes of Small-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis microphylla) which Juan had found earlier in the week, the first of Ian's new plants. Also seen here were a few birds taking advantage of the water in the warm weather, we saw Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Subalpine Warblers (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis). We continued on through the hills to a picnic area where we had a quick walk around looking for anything interesting, I managed some better shots of a nice male High-brown Fritillary (Argynnis adippe) and had some nice views of a family party of Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotraustes). We then drove some distance to a new site for me where Juan had found a second sizable population of Algerian Butterfly Orchids (plantanthera algeriensis), we found several plants including a huge spike with many flowers on it all in perfect condition. Also here we found Common Twayblade (Listera ovata) and Robust Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza elata). Dragonflies were also in good numbers and they included lots of Common Golden Ringed (Cordulegaster boltonii subsp algirica), Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum), Copper (Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis) and Western Demoiselle's (Calopteryx xanthostoma), Iberian Bluetail (Ischnura graellsii), Common Blue (Enallagma cyathinerum) and Large Red Damselflies (Pyrrhosoma nymphula). In the water there were a few tadpoles of the rare Iberian Midwife Toad (Alytes cisternasii) and a single adult Iberian Water Frog (Rana Común / Rana Perezi).
Again we continued on to another site where we saw incredible numbers of Epipactis fageticola growing in a Planted Poplar wood, here we shown another three spikes of Algerian Butterfly Orchid, found some Bug Orchids (Orchis coriophora) but they were well over with and a single spike of Common Twayblade. A single Wood White (Leptidea sinapis) was seen egg laying on some Lotus stems and several Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines) flicked around the bushes. Our last stop of the day was in a small village near by for a drink and some tapas but even here the finds continued with several spikes of Fageticola being seen in a road side Poplar wood, a female Large Red Damsel coming to the table where we sat and a family of Barn Swallows (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) on a light fitting above the door of the bar.
Photographs from the top: Juan and Ian getting shots of microphylla, High-brown Fritillary (Argynnis adippe), Algerian Butterfly Orchids (plantanthera algeriensis), Southern Skimmer (Orthetrum brunneum), Epipactis fageticola and Wood White (Leptidea sinapis).