Saturday 16 April 2011

Granada Province.

Another new Orchid for my Granada list.

Dark Spider Orchid (Ophrys incubacea).
Today we needed to take a trip into Granada for some items for the redecoration of the house, so when a friend said that he was going to look for some Orchids that morning it seemed like a good idea to join him. After dropping Jayne off at the retail park I went to the meeting place near the site and we continued on up some hairy tracks in my poor little ford fiesta. Arrangements had been made for a gate to this private site to be left open, so when we arrived we went straight up to the area that we hoped to find the Dark Spider Orchids (Ophrys incubacea) and Early Spider Orchid (Ophrys sphegodes)
Dark Spider Orchid (Ophrys incubacea).
We spent nearly two hour searching without any success but we did find several spikes of Ophrys dyris which was a new species for my province list, along with Fan-lipped (Orchis collina), Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis Papillionacea), Sawfly (Ophrys tenthredinifera), Woodcock (Ophrys Scolopax subsp picta) and Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca subsp fusca). 
Early Spider Orchid (Ophrys sphegodes) ?????
Birds were few but we did see Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata). Butterflies were numerous, with Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea), Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae), Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) and Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) all being recorded.
Bee Hives out on the hill side.
At this point I had to leave to go and meet Jayne so I left the others to walk back to their car and started the rough drive back down to the gate, about half way I picked up a nice big spike of Lizard Orchid (Himantoglossum hircinum) and a couple of Pyramidal Orchid (Orquidea pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia) all of which were close to flowering. 
Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis Papillionacea).
Then I picked up a very dark Ophrys species just by the side of the track which turned out to be a fine spike of Dark Spider and as we searched we found a couple of spikes which looked more like Early Spider, in the area I found several more spikes all in spot on condition but with variable colouration and lubelum shape. 
Prickly Poppy (Papaver argenone).
I then drove back up the hill and picked up the others and we all went back down and did some photos before I again left them to walk back down and I headed off nearly half and hour late to meet Jayne (good job she is very understanding).

Friday 15 April 2011

Around Illora, Granada Province.

Second new Orchid of the year.

Lady Orchid (Orchis purpurea).
I meet up with Beatriz Pérez Machado, Juan Pérez Contreras and Jose Luis Esteban Sanchez in the centre of Illora and we all jumped into Jose's car and headed out of town to a hill side just a few kms away. We parked and as soon as we were out of the motor we could see the first of the Orchids we had come for. A fine 70cm or so spike of Lady Orchid (Orchis purpurea) and just a meter or so away there were four more spikes, one of which is in the photographs. 
Lady Orchid (Orchis purpurea).
Whilst we were doing the photographs we picked up a male Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca) calling from one of the taller Oaks, Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops). 
Juan and Beatriz looking at the Orchid.
Jose then led us through some spiky scrub and down a hill to see some very nice plants of Wild Tulip (Tulipa sylvestris) a lot were dried out but a couple were still good. 
Iberian Worm Lizard (Blanus cinereus).

Other wildflowers and orchids included Fan-lipped (Orchis collina) most were finished, Mirror (Ophrys speculum), Somber Bee (Ophrys fusca), Yellow Bee Orchids (Ophrys Lutea), Tragopogon hybridum, Ground-pine Germander (Teucrium pseudochamaepitys), Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Mallow-leaved Bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides) and Omphalodes commutata.
Large Psammodromus Lizard (Psammodromus hispanicus).
We then went on to a second site up on the side of Sierra Parapanda looking for Amphibians and reptiles; we found a nice medium sized Iberian Worm Lizard (Blanus cinereus) and a Large Psammodromus Lizard (Psammodromus hispanicus). 
The only Butterfly I actually noted was a nice Comma ("C" blanca / Polygomum c-album).
Comma ("C" blanca / Polygomum c-album).

Thursday 14 April 2011

Laguna Herrera and Ronoral, Antequera, Malaga Province.

Co-operative birds for the camera (made a nice change).

Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta).
After a slightly later start from home than usual I arrived at the Laguna and the light was good so I put the camera on the side window just in case any thing wanted to play the game. As soon as I arrived a singing Melodious Warbler (Zarcero Común / Hippolais polyglotta) sat up on a reed head and sang for a good while giving me the chance to get a shot or two. Out on the flooded fields the bird numbers were well down but I saw several Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus) hawking insects over the water. 
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
On the floods there were just a few Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), lots of Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), a couple of pairs of both Kentish Plover (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus). Smaller birds included a cracking male Iberian race Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Crested (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra). 
Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta).
Further along the track on the margins of the lagoon I found a rather confiding Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta) having a battle with a worm type thing which it eventually won, this bird was just starting to show some signs of its summer plumage. Also here were a couple of Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), 3x Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and a nice pair of Kentish Plover
Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius).
Further down the lagoon there were good numbers of Greater Flamingo's (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber) close to the track along with a few Avocets (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and a single Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cuellinegro / Podiceps nigricollis). In the reed bed both Great Reed (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) and Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scirpaceus) rattled out their songs, along with several Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).
Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
I then went up to the hotel and picked up two guests and we headed out into the woodland at Ronoral on the hills above the town. As soon as we started out I was seeing loads of Pink Butterfly Orchids (Orquídea mariposa / Orchis papilionacea) in amongst the scrub along with huge numbers of Yellow Bee (Abejera amarilla / Ophrys Lutea) and Mirror Orchids (Espejo de Venus / Ophrys speculum subsp speculum). Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) and Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotraustes) were the best birds on the way around. 
Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orquídea mariposa / Orchis papilionacea).
On a bank just be fore we arrived back at the car I found a couple of hundred spikes of Champagne Orchid (Orchis Champagneuxii) and a couple of Somber Bee (Abejera oscura / Ophrys fusca subsp fusca) and Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera) just hanging on to a flower or two.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Granada Province.

New Orchid for my Province List.

Dark Spider Orchid (Ophrys incubacea).
I was lucky enough to be taken to a site for the uncommon Dark Spider Orchid (Ophrys incubacea) at the site we saw 30+ spikes of this very smart plant along with great numbers of Mirror (Espejo de Venus / Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), Somber Bee (Abejera oscura / Ophrys fusca subsp fusca), Yellow Bee (Abejera amarilla / Ophrys Lutea) and Fan-lipped Orchids (Orchis collina), along with a single spike of Southern  Early Purple (Satirión manchado / Orchis Mascula ssp Olbiensis) which was well passed it's best. The only bird we note was a single Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) which was my first of the year.
Dark Spider Orchid (Ophrys incubacea).
Later in the day I meet up with José Mª González Cachinero, Beatriz Pérez Machado and Juan Pérez Contreras to carry out the monthly count of Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) at a roost site near Granada City. By the end of the survey 323 Egrets had been recorded along with 4 Purple Herons (Garza Imperial / Ardea purpurea) which circled the site for several minutes before drifting off. 
Cone-head Mantis (Empusa pennata).
The last species of the evening turned up just as I was leaving and forced a trot out me to get views, it was a hunting Barn Owl (Lechuza Común / Tyto alba) only just visible in the dark conditions.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Fuente de Piedra and Archidona area, Malaga Province.

Wader passage.

Curlew Sandpiper (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea).
Instead of the usual visit to Laguna Herrera I went for a quick look at Fuente this morning after reading Andy Patterson Blog "Birding the Costa" and hearing of his Marsh Sandpiper (Archibebe Fino / Tringa stagnatilis). Just as I arrived I meet two Norwegian birders and we started to scan the wader flock on the scrap just out of the car park, I was not very hopeful as waders can move through the site quite quickly. But within a few seconds I had the Marsh Sandpiper in the scope, along with a good number of Wood (Andarrios Bastardo / Tringa Glareola), Green (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and Curlew Sandpipers (Correlimos Zarapitin / Calidris ferruginea). We continued picking up more waders including a second Marsh Sandpiper, Avocet (Avoceta Común/ Recurvirostra avosetta), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax) and Little Stint (Correlimos Menudo / Calidris minuta). 
Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus).
While we were watching the birds on the scrap several species flew over including Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), a single Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) and a female Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus). Other species seen here included Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Black-headed Gull (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus), Common Pochard (Porrón Europeo / Aythya ferina), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Northern Shoveler (Cuchara Común / Anas clypeata), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), Gull-billed Tern (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) and Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis).
Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus).
It was then down to the Hotel for this morning hike which was around the wooded loop at Archidona and then up to the monastery on the hill above the town. On the way round I picked up Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Bonelli’s Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlona / Sylvia hortensis), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos).
Just before I headed home I popped in to Laguna Herrera, It was fairly quiet but I did get the first singing Great Reed Warbler (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) of
the year.

Sunday 10 April 2011

El Chorro, Malaga Province.

Woodland walk.

Champagne Orchid (Orchis Champagneuxii).
Work today involved a stroll through the fine surroundings of El Chorro, We started from the shores of one of the Embalse's de Ardales and walked through a tunnel out into the wooded valley on the other side of the ridge. We started up hill and then continued higher to we had some fantastic views out over the gorges of El Chorro. On the way up I saw several Black Wheatears (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), a couple of male Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and once we we at the top we were treated some close views of Alpine Swifts (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) as they flew by. On the way we has some views of at least three Spanish Ibex (Capra pyreaica hispanica) as they moved along some very vertical looking crags. 
Viperine Snake (Culebra viperina / Natrix maura).
Orchids were also common including Champagne (Orchis Champagneuxii), Dense-Flowered (Neotinea maculata), Fan-lipped (Orchis collina), Man (Flor del Ahorcado / Aceras anthropophorum), Mirror (Espejo de Venus / Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), Pink Butterfly (Orquídea mariposa / Orchis papilionacea), Southern Early Purple (Satirión manchado / Orchis Mascula ssp Olbiensis), Sawfly (Abejorros, flor de avispa / Ophrys tenthredinifera), Woodcock (Flor de la becada / Ophrys Scolopax), Yellow Bee (Abejera amarilla / Ophrys Lutea) and Somber Bee (Abejera oscura / Ophrys fusca subsp fusca).
On the way down we were following another group, a woman walking with them suddenly jump and pointed down to a small snake hurring a cross the track, I got there quickly enough to get a couple of shot before it went into a hole, late Identified as Viperine Snake (Culebra viperina / Natrix maura). 
Viperine Snake (Culebra viperina / Natrix maura).
During the hike we also picked up several butterfly species including Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus), Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea), Bath White (Pontia daplidice), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra) and Large White (Pieris brassicae).
Dense-Flowered Orchid (Neotinea maculata).
Other birds seen during the hike and the drives each way included Cetti’s Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenuela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Bonelli’s Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino /Parus cristatus), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus ruber), Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus).