Saturday, 26 May 2012

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

Checking on the Orchids.
Jayne and I had a quick look at the disused Quarry area on Sierra de Loja where 10 days or so ago I had found a single spike of the hybrid between Ophrys picta and Ophrys tenthredinifrea and to get the plant fully checked out we needed a single flower as a herbarium sample. I arrived at the site and found the plant along with some Pyramidal (Orquidea pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia) and Small Woodcock Orchids (Ophrys picta) but all of them including the hybrid were passed their best, so the sample was not going to be great. In the area we heard Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) which was well hidden in the scrub on the hillside, saw a displaying Blue Rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) and Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido / Apus pallidus). Butterflies seen included Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Satyrium spini), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Moroccan Orange Tip (Anthocharis belia), Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes) and Spanish Marbled White (Melanargia ines). Some wildflowers were still in good condition but a lot of the vegetation was starting to dry out very early. Plants included Centaurea prolongoi, Centaurea boissieri, Blue Hounds-tongue (Cynoglossum creticum), Dianthus Pungens, Brown Bluebell (Dipcadi serotinum), Barbary Nut (Gynandiris sisyrinchium), Large Blue Flax (Linum narbonense), White Flax (Linum suffruticosum), Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascene) and Omphalodes commutate.

Photographs from the top: Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Satyrium spini), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Centaurea prolongoi and Centaurea boissieri.

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