Saturday 5 March 2011

RAM, Motril Port, Charca del Suarez and above Granada City, Granada Province.

Birds, flowers and Orchids.

Great Black-backed Gull (Gavión Atlantico / Larus marinus).
Juan and I found our selves down at the usual spot for our monthly Sea bird survey and for the second time I forgot my chair and ended up with a numb bum sitting on the gravel. The sea birds were few and far between today, mainly due to quite a strong breeze going out to sea. We did pick up 9X Cory's Shearwaters (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea), 5X Balearic Shearwaters (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus), 3X Great Skuas (Págalo Grande / Catharacta skua) and quite a few Great Cormorants (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocorax carbo). 
Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii).
All the expected Gulls were seen, they included Audouin's (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Mediterranean (Gaviota Cabecinegra / Larus melanocephalus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis) and a single probable adult Great Black-backed Gull (Gavión Atlantico / Larus marinus), a much darker bird than last months. While we were there a Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) was seen a couple of times and a Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus) did several passes, one carrying prey. 
Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita).
Other birds seen included Sandwich Tern (Charrán Patinegro / Sterna sandvicensis), Northern Gannet (Alcatraz Atlántico / Morus bassanus), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus).
Probable 1st winter Great Black-backed Gull (Gavión Atlantico / Larus marinus).
Our next stop was to do some ring reading at the fish port at Mortil, Gull numbers were low but we did pick out several birds including an Audouin's with a ring on. Again we picked up a very large gull but this month it was a 1st winter which again could be a GBB Gull and photo's have been forwarded. The adult bird we saw last month was also forwarded and was confirmed as a rather pale mantled GBB Gull by a several people. Also added here were Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egretta garzetta) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus).
Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera).
A very quick trot around Charca was next as the warden was shutting a bit early, we only got chance to look in two of the hides but added a few species. They included my first Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) of the year, Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), loads of Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Great Tit (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus). 
Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca).
Out on the water a couple of pairs of Eurasian Coots (Focha Común / Fulica atra) were tending their strange looking chicks, along with Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus). Stripeless Tree Frogs (Hyla meridionalis) were heard but not seen, several Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) butterflies were on the wing and a single Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) shot across the track and off over the pools.
Fan-lipped Orchid (Orchis collina).
Juan then drove us back to Granada where he did me a map of a site nearby where I could go and see Narcisuss cantabricus, I drove to the site and parked up. I started the walk and quickly started to think that I was on the wrong track as Juan had said it was flat and the one I was on was not, but I did pick up several very noisy Great Spotted Cuckoo's (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) on the way, along with several spikes of Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera) the fourth species for the year list, Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca) and hundreds of Fan-lipped Orchids (Orchis collina) including several spikes resemmbaling var flavescens
Fan-lipped Orchid (Orchis collina var flavescens).
I did eventually, after a quick call to Juan work out where I had gone wrong and decended down the very steep fire break to the correct track and quickly found several hundred blooms of the Narcisuss
In the same area I added White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum), Linaria aeruginea ssp nevadensis and French Lavender (Lavandula stoechas). Birds included Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
Narcisuss cantabricus.

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A few early blooms.

It's a tad cold.
The road to El Purche from the Sierra Nevada road was a lot better today the thick layers of ice had pretty much gone. The first detour was down a track that Juan Perez had shown me last summer where we had seen a great show of orchids. I was just doing a drawing of the site today, but along the track I had some very nice views of a couple of pairs of Rock Buntings (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), 5 or 6 Jays (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica). I then went back up onto the road and carried on to the furthest point and parked the car, here there were more Rock Buntings, singing Woodlarks plus Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Great (Carbonero Común / Parus major), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus). 
Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis).
I then went up past the two bars and out to the rocky crags above the large quarry hoping to add some early wildflowers to the list but I soon guessed by the amount of cow do around and the sight of several large beast munching the herbage this was not going to be easy. 
A few Dandelion (Taraxacum spp) things and lots of Southern Daisy’s (Bellis cordifolia) later I gave up and walked back along the road seeing a dozen or so Redwings (Zorzal Alirrojo / Turdus iliacus), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and a cracking male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) and his not so cracking mate.
Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus).
After fighting my way past two of the biggest, savage sounding fluffy soft hounds I made it back to the car and started to drive slowly back along to the Sierra Nevada road. A sizable flock of Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) were seen feeding amongst some Hawthorn bushes and at least 20 Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and an equal number of Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) flushed up from the road side. 
Endemic Sierra Nevada Crocus (Crocus nevadensis).
I had just started taking some shots of a Iberian Grey Shrike perched close to the side of the road when I notice a Police Local vehicle in the mirrors and decided that as there were broken white lines on the verge I had better move on.
Three-leaved Crocus (Colchicum triphyllum).
As I dropped down through the Pine woods I saw several Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus) nicely in flower so I pulled well clear of the road and let the police vehicle go by before getting some photos. On the way back to the car I started to find several spikes of the Endemic Sierra Nevada Crocus (Crocus nevadensis), along with of the rare Three-leaved Crocus (Colchicum triphyllum) both of which I have seen on Sierra de Loja but not here before.
Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus).
I continued down on the main road towards Granada but turned off and took the road to Dudar and beyond to the Embalse. Whilst driving along the side of the lake a couple of Alpine Accentors (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis) flew up onto some rocks but it was some time before I found a place to park and by the time I walked back a few cyclists and another walker had been through the area so I was not surprised that I did not see them again. I did add a few Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) to the list and also saw Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea), Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) and several Spanish form Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus).

Sunday 27 February 2011

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

A quick trip up the hill.

Fan-lipped Orchid (Orchis collina).
Jayne and I went up Sierra de Loja for a quick look to see if there were any early flowers in bloom, we took the small track up to the disused quarry above the town and soon realised that we had chosen the wrong day to go up as it was a holiday Sunday and most of Loja appeared to have had the same idea. I did have a look on the limestone slopes and found a few spikes of Fan-lipped Orchid (Orchis collina) the third Orchid of the year in flower, along with Friar's Cowl (Arisarum vulgare), Common Stork's-bill (Erodium cicutarium), Wide-leaved Iris (Iris planifolia) and Viola dementria
Friar's Cowl (Arisarum vulgare).
A small group of Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) circled over the near by crags and were mobbed noisily by a pair of Common Kestrels (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), while at least two male Dartford Warblers (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) carried out almost continual display flights. We drove a little further on up along the crags adding Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) on the way to the first parking spot. 
Common Stork's-bill (Erodium cicutarium).
The traffic was so heavy it almost felt like there had been a diversion set up off the main A92, we decided that due to the amount of disturbance we would do this another day and started to make our way home. On the way down we picked up Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum robertiana) and Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca) near the motorway.
Viola dementria.