Saturday 21 May 2011

El Torcal, Malaga Province.

Rio Frio Healths Saturday morning hike (work).

Saxifaga biternata.
David and I met the guests at the Hotel Finca Eslava and headed out to the visitors centre at El Torcal, as it had been raining during he last few days we went to one of the lesser known routes to avoid the mud of the yellow trail.
As soon as we were of the car park we started to find orchids, the first were some of the later flowering Sawfly (Ophrys tenthredinifera), Pyramidal (Anacamptis pyramidalia) and Lange's Orchids (Orchis langei) which were all still in good shape.
We also found several spikes of Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum robertiana) in fruit. Amongst the Hawthorn bushes the last of the Wild Peony’s (Paeonia broteroi) were still holding on to a few bright pink petals but most were displaying their multi-coloured seeds. Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) were all seen in and around the scrub and several huge great shadows passed over head from the resident Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus). 
Saxifaga biternata.
We crossed the road and headed out into the restricted part of the park, luckily we had David with us who also does some guiding in this area so can enter this more picturesque part of El Torcal away from the Saturday crowds. On the first part of the route I saw the locally endemic Saxifaga biternata growing from some wet rocks and Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea). Further on we came to the rock called the hat where we had a quick break and then pushed on up and around the small labyrinths we usually take due to the forests of Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum).
On this part of the hike I picked up a couple of male Blue Rock Thrushes (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), a pair of very smart Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and a fine male Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) singing from the top of a Blackthorn bush.
The walk went very quickly and we were soon back at the visitors centre, on the way I saw Wild Leek (Allium ampeloprasum), Blue Alkanet (Anchusa azurea), Carduus granatensis, Blue Dreams (Chaenorrhinum Glareosum) and Wall Germander (Teucrium chamaedrys).
Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum).

Friday 20 May 2011

Granada Province.

Somewhere in the hills!

Orchis cazorlensis.
I meet Juan for an afternoons orchid hunting in the sierra's around Granada, we immediatly started the visit with some cracking spikes of Orchis cazorlensis in a nearby pine wood. They were growing alongside two possibly three plants of Cazorlensis X langei = Orchis x incantata
Orchis x incantata.
In the general area around this site we also saw lots of the pale yellow Barton's (Dactylorhiza insularis) and well over with Dense-flowered Orchids (Neotinea maculata). 
Barton's Orchid (Dactylorhiza insularis).
Whilst we were here we also picked up Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus). 
Add caption
We then spent some time driving slowly along woodland tracks and roads and along the way we found good numbers of Lange's Orchids (Orchis langei) including an albino spike, half a dozen or so spikes of Champagne Orchid (Orchis Champagneuxii) which we think is a new 10km square record for this species, Lizard Orchid (Himantoglossum hircinum), Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanthera longifolia) and Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea).
Common Twayblade (Listera ovata).
The next spot was some way off the road and requirred a walk of a couple of KMs , which was fine on the way but up hill on the way back. At this spot we found at least 45 spikes of the locally rare Common Twayblade (Listera ovata) and good numbers of Robust Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza elata). 
Nevada Aqueliga (Aqueliga Nevedensis).
Also amongst the scrub there were some nice blooms of a Nevada Aqueliga (Aqueliga Nevedensis) and a Soloman's-seal (Polygonatum) and cracking Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) did a fly over just as we were leaving for the walk back up the hill. 
Soloman's-seal (Polygonatum) species.
Our last spot was on the road side were we found more Orchis cazorlensis, a few well past their best Small Early Purple Orchid (Satirión manchado / Orchis Mascula ssp Olbiensis), lots more Orchis langei, Violet Limodore (Limodorum abortivum) and a possible Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula).
Violet Limodore (Limodorum abortivum).

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Malaga City, Malaga Province.

A crunching start to a visit to the Piccaso Museum.

Jayne, her sister Barbara and I set off nice and early to spend the day around Malaga but mainly to visit the Picasso museum (a place we had want to go for a while). All was going well and we were finding our way thought the traffic well until a nice Spanish Lady decided to try and fit a Renault Scenic in to a Ford Fiesta at a busy road junction and smashed in the front driver’s side of the car. Eventually after the police had told her she was turning right in a straight on lane we managed sort every thing out and continue to the museum. The Museum was well worth a visit particularly as we had unknowingly picked international museum day to go and entrance was free (Jayne said I was smiling all day, not that I am very tight). It was not as good as the Picasso gallery in Paris but we all enjoyed it. We then had lunch and a wonder around before heading further along the coast to Torre del Mar and having a walk around there before making our way back up over the mountains on the way back (Barb was not amused).