In search of later Orchids but only finding ones for next year.
|Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) female.|
After a brief visit to the English in Loja meeting I headed off down the valley towards the town of Zafarraya to look for some Orchids. On the way down a small group of 8 or so Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) were soaring in the fantastic blue skies over the western slopes of Sierra de Loja and at several points along the road Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) were perched up high looking for their next meal. Once in the area I started to find the leaf rosettes of Giant Orchids (Himantoglossum robertiana) by the dozen this looked good for next years show. In the Oaks surrounding this site I could see and hear Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) which along with White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) at this time of year are almost constantly on view where ever you are. I moved a little further on towards Zafarraya and stopped in a lay-by and walked for a KM or so back towards Loja. During this walk which was on a nice sunny length of road I picked up quite a few species of butterfly including Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Brimstone (Limonera / Gonepteryx rhamni), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias crocea), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Small White (Artogeia rapae) and Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) not bad for the first of November!
|Southern Autumn Crocus (Crocus serotinus).|
In all the areas visited the commonest wildflower was the Southern Autumn Crocus (Crocus serotinus) which grew in therir hundreds. Birds included Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Iberian Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), singing Blackcaps (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).
On the way home I went back across the fields north of Huétor Tajar to see if I could find the late arriving Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) flock which for the last five years had been on site by now. I did not find the Bustards but I had some stunning views of a female Hen Harrier (Aguilucho Pálido / Circus cyaneus), lots more Iberian Magpie, Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and a snoozing Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) which look very happy having a nap in the nice warm sun.