Sunday, 14 October 2012

Near Zafarraya, Granada Province.

A new Orchid for the Granada List along with a new plant for my Spanish list.

I met Juan Perez, his wife Beatriz and their new dog Chica at the Cortijo de Tajar Hotel just off the A82 at exit 203. After a brief chat and fuss of Chica we made our way down towards Venta del Raya and then onwards down the side of Sierra de Loja to a site just north of Zafarraya. Juan and I had searched this area on a few trips last year for the rare Autumn Lady's Tresses (Spiranthes spiralis) but with out success. We started our search on the side of the main road at a spot where we had seen many Orchids species in the past including some particularly nice spikes of Epipactis tremolsii. We did not find any Spiranthes plants at this site but we did see and hear Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus). We continued on towards Zafarraya and stopped at the second site we knew off which was just along a dirt track off the main road and Juan very quickly found a single plant growing in a small grassy paddock, which was quickly followed by at least another20 plants further along the track. Some of these plants were starting to go over and all of them were out of the range of the lens behind a wire fence, so we continued to search. A little way along the road we discovered several more plants growing in amongst Oak trees and rocks and this gave us the opportunity to get some shots of this cracking little Orchid. We continued to check around this area and Beatriz than spotted three plants of the very rare Sternbergia colchiciflora in amongst the hundreds of the pink flowered Crocus serotinus (Southern Autumn Crocus) which was a very nice find and a new plant for me. We then had a quick look at one more site but did not turn up any thing new before we returned to have another look at the Spiranthes and then head back to Huétor but we made one final stop to look at a very nice show of the other rare yellow Crocus Sternbergia lutea on the way.
Other species seen during the morning were Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla). Butterflies were few but we did see a Common Blue (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus) and several Small Whites (Artogeia rapae).
Photographs from the top: Autumn Lady's Tresses (Spiranthes spiralis) x2, Sternbergia colchiciflora, Beatriz and Chica, Common Blue (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus) and Crocus Sternbergia.

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