Wildlife Walk No 2.
Today another 15 of us set out for the second of the walks at Iznajar Dam, this time we started by going out over the dam first looking at the wildflowers growing in the cracks in the road (hope they don't go to deep). Wildflowers along here included Cliffhanger (Chaenorhinum villosum), Cut-leaved Valerian (Centranthus calcitrapae), Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), White Snapdragon (Antirrhinum Hispanicum), Small Melilot (Melilotus indica), Star Clover (Trifolium stellatum), Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum major), Purple Vipers Bugloss (Echium lycopsis), Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba ancistroides), Sticky Catchfly (Silene nicaeensis) and Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris). Birds were being seen all the way across, first were a pair of Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) out on the Embalse, House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) which were nesting in large numbers under the overhang of the dam wall, Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Somria / Larus fuscus) and Yellow-legged Gulls (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and a Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) which flapped over slowly. On the crags at the far end just before the tunnel we added a nice male Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), a trio of Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), a pair of Ravens (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricapilla) which was heard singing. We then went out on to the cliff walk and down to the view point over looking the river, here we saw Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Great Tits (Carbonero Común / Parus major), a singing male Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) which we all had nice views of through the scope, Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and a pair of Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) which flew in to a hole in the dam wall. We also added Mallow-leaved Bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides), Rock Phagnalon (Phagnalon saxatile) and Pitch Trefoil (Psoralea bituminosa).
We then made the walk back towards and past the cars and started off down the road to Cuevas de San Marcos where we quickly located the Italian Man (Orchis italica) and Sawfly Orchids (Ophrys tenthredinifera) we saw on Tuesday, the Man Orchids had come on and were perfect but the Sawfly had gone past its best. On the walk down to the junction we added Giant Orchid (Barlia robertiana), Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata ssp pullata), Nonea vesicaria, Warty Spurge (Euphorbia squamigera), Field Madder (Sherardia arvensis), Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis), Field Marigold (Calendula arvensis), Grey-leaved Cistis (Cistis albidus), Soft Stork's-bill (Erodium malacoides), Common Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum) and White Mustard (Sinapis alba). The birds included Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer Domesticus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla) heard only, Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino /Parus cristatus), a nice male Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus). At the junction we turned right and headed off down the road towards the dam where we saw more Giant Orchids and then one of the ladies spotted a single spike of Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca) which was good as it meant the group did not need to scale the steeper banks that we did on Tuesdays walk, I then found a couple of spikes of Ophrys subfusca and then a single spike of Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum subsp speculum) was found right on the road side. Other plants include Snake's Head Fritillary (Fritillaria hispanica), Narcissus baeticus, White Mignonette (Reseda Alba), Rosy Garlic (Allium roseum), Dwarf Red Valerian (Fedia cornucopiae), Common Stork's-bill (Erodium cicutarium), Doves-foot Cranesbill (Geranium Molle) and Southern Daisy (Bellis cordifolia). We turned around and headed back up to the junction were we had a look at the rarest of today’s Orchids the Bumble-bee Orchid (Ophrys bombyliflora) which had come on well and there were half a dozen or so spikes in flower. We walked back towards the car park along the steep banks, on the way we had a look down at a bend in the river using the scope and picked another Grey Heron, Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinula Chloropus) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).
We continued on but we did not add any new species to the list but did pick up another Mirror Orchid. Butterflies included Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias crocea), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Large White (Pieris brassicae), a female Moroccan Orange Tip (Anthocharis belia), Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Small White (Artogeia rapae), a very nice Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) and Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) which we had a look at in the scope. We arrived back at the cars some 3 hours after setting out and then made our way home.
Thanks for all those who came on the two walks and I hope that you enjoyed what we have seen.
Photographs from the top: Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata ssp pullata), Grey-leaved Cistis (Cistis albidus), Photographing the Bumble-bee Orchid, Snake's Head Fritillary (Fritillaria hispanica), Narcissus baeticus, female Moroccan Orange Tip (Anthocharis belia) and Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria).