A mornings birding and looking for early signs of 2012s Orchids.
I meet Juan just of the A92 at Huétor Tajar and because of a thick layer of fog we decided to head off towards Loja and then down the valley to the west of the sierra towards Zafarraya. Our first stop was on a road side bank just before we reached Puerto de Los Alazores where we found lots of leaf rossetes of Giant (Barlia robertiana) and Pyramidal Orchids (Orquidea pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia), along with at least 3 Spanish Ibex (Capra pyreaica hispanica). We then went up to Puerto de Los Alazores where Juan pointed out several good spots for Amphibians, along this stretch of road we recorded Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Song (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos) and Mistle Thrushes (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Meadow Pipit (Bistita Común / Anthus pratensis) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros).
We continued on down the main road towards Zafarraya for a few more Kms before parking in the Oak woodlands and having another look for early signs of next years orchids. The first thing we saw was the remains of some spikes of this years Epipactis Tremolsii plants, followed by more Barlia and several dead Orchis type spikes with new leaves at there base. Birds included Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla), singing Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Robin (Petirrrojo / Erithacus rubecula).
Further down the road we added Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus).
Our next stop was on the road side near Alhama de Granada to look at more dried Trmolsii along with several spikes of Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanthera longifolia) and a couple of Common Buzzards (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo). At the small lake called the Pantanteta de Alhama we saw several Common Pochards (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis) and Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo) out on the water whilst in the woods we had nice views of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and heard a Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea). On a grassey bank nearby Juan showed me some Epipactis fageticola plants, they were as expected well over with but at a new site for me. Our next stop was at Embalse de Bermejales but we saw very little at the site and only adding a single Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos) and Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea).
From here we started to make our way back towards Huétor Tájar along the Cacín Valley stopping at the Embalse on the way up. It was again very quiet but we got a male Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), several Northern Shovelers (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) before heading back to the A92 and then home.
Photograph: Early morning heat in the Oak Woods.