A couple of Easter parades and some Orchid hunting.
Jayne and I headed down to Loja to watch the start of the Good Friday Easter parade; we parked up and made our way to the far end of town where the masses were congregating. It started pretty much on time and made its way down the main street and on wards around the town. Even for people with no religious beliefs they still make for a spectacular and enjoyable event.
We later headed out towards Zafarraya calling in at a couple of Orchid site to check whether it was worth organising another wildlife walk towards the end of April but on the showing today I suspect that May might be a better idea. At the first stop I found a good number of Conical (Orchis conica) and Giant Orchids (Barlia robertiana) in full bloom along with a few Southern Early Purple (Satirión manchado / Orchis Olbiensis), Sawfly (Abejorros, flor de avispa / Ophrys tenthredinifera) and a single Mirror Orchid (Espejo de Venus / Ophrys speculum subsp speculum). In the same area there were other plants but they were along way from flowering including Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanthera longifolia) and Lange's Orchid (Orchis langei). A few birds were seen and heard including Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Wood (Totovia / Lullula arborea) and Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus). A couple of Bath Whites (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), a tatty Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) and a Provencal Hairstreak (Tomares ballus) were also recorded.
We then moved on towards Zafarraya to the second stop and again Conical and Giant Orchids were common but I also saw a few Fan-lipped Orchid (Orchis collina), along with the rosettes of Small Woodcock (Ophrys picta), Small Tongue (Serapias parviflora), Pyramidal (Orquidea pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia), Pink Butterfly (Orquídea mariposa / Orchis papilionacea) and Lizard Orchids (Himantoglossum hircinum). Birds included Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus). We then went and had a cracking menu del dia at the last bar on the left just before you go through the arch into Malaga Province. We made our way back home across country to the Salar to Alhama road and the back up to Loja. On the way round we added a pair of Southern Grey Shrikes (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), a couple of dozen of Lesser Kestrels (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), Crested (Cogujada Común / Galerida cristata), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla) and Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
We returned home and Jayne called me to the back door where a Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus) could be heard out in the Olives. Later we went down to Huétor to watch the evening parade there which was very enjoyable also.
Photographs from the top: 1 to 4 of Loja Parade, 2x Conical Orchid (Orchis conica) and 2x Southern Early Purple Orchid (Satirión manchado / Orchis Olbiensis).