A couple of hours in the field.
Two friends (Brenda and Janet) from over Ronda way who were coming on the Orchid walk tomorrow arrived at ours at around 15:00 and we had a drink before heading out for a couple of hours birding on the agricultural plains near El Turro. We went in Janet’s 4X4 which made life easier as we could have a look at some of the tracks that I can not do in the Ford Fiesta. On the first track we picked up several singing Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), a pair of Thekla’s (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra). Out on the normal track we stopped at the ruin of a Cortijo and searched for the Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which again eluded us. Brenda was pleased with a couple of wild flowers that were seen growing on the field margins including Red-horned Poppy (Glaucium corniculatum) and Hypecoum imberbe. We then continued out on the dirt tracks and found our way through to a patch of rough ground where we saw several spikes of Fan-lipped Orchid (Orchis collina) growing amongst the broom scrub. Birds included my first Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus) of the year, a nice male, Crested Lark (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulga / Falco tinnunculus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus). We then retraced our steps and on the ridge of one of the fields we picked up a cracking male Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) which was strutting his stuff of any watching ladies that happened to be nearby, it seemed to be working as both Brenda and Janet were well impressed with him. On the way round we also recorded several butterflies including Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias crocea), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) and Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli). A single moth was seen and after checking the shots at home I identified it as Thistle Ermine (Myelois circumvoluta cribrella). We then made our way down along the side of the Solar Panels and then had a drive along a track out into one of the almond groves where we found considerable numbers of Fan-lipped Orchids. We then heard and saw at least 5 Great Spotted Cuckoos (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius) which was a lifer for both Brenda and Janet, after having great views of these birds and hearing several Stone-curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) we continued a short way along this track and had views of 2 of the Curlews as they flushed from amongst the Almond trees. We then started to make our way back towards our house adding Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and a Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis) which we heard but it remained out of sight in the olives.
Photographs from the top: Brenda and Janet watching the Little Bustard, Hypecoum imberbe, Fan-lipped Orchid (Orchis collina) and Thistle Ermine (Myelois circumvoluta cribrella).