Embalse de Iznajar and Laguna Hurerra, Malaga Province.
A return visit.
After doing a very successful Granada Wildlife walk at the site a few days ago I returned to this amazing Orchid rich site in the company of two good friend Juan Perez and Jacinto Villalvilla to have another look around and to show Juan a hybrid Orchid that he particularly wanted to see. Juan and I arrived a little early so we started to have a search around the area but the light was not yet very good so anything we found would have to be photographed later. On this walk we found three spikes of Dark Spider Orchids (Ophrys incubacea), dozens of Naked / Italian Man Orchid (Orchis italica), 100ish spikes of Bumble-bee Orchids (Ophrys bombyliflora), Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta), Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys scolopax), Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca ssp fusca), Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera), Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum robertiana) and Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea).
We arrived at the dam where we met Jacinto and we started to make our way back along the way we had just come from but before we left the dam we had a scan over the lake and picked out at least 8 Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus) and around the dam walls there were hundreds of hirundines, most were House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) which were nesting on the dam wall in large numbers but there were also lesser numbers of Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris). We started the walk but soon took a detour up a track and onto a pine covered bank above the parking area where we soon had nice views of a female Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus). I the area we also saw some more Naked / Italian Man Orchids, Sawfly Orchid, Mirror Orchid and Giant Orchid. We dropped back down on to the road and started back and as the light was much better we started to take some shots of the Orchids, the first ones we came to were the two taller Dark Spider Orchids but the wind made getting good shot difficult. We continued on doing the Woodcock and Small Woodcock Orchids, the other shorter Dark Spiders and the rare hybrid between Naked / Italian Man and Man Orchid(Aceras anthropophorum)called Orchis bivonae. After taking some shots of this cracking plant we searched the area and found a single plant of Ophrys dyris and large numbers of Bumble-bee Orchids (Ophrys bombyliflora). We then walked down the road towards the dam looking for the Snake's Head Fritillary (Fritillaria hispanica) I had seen a few days earlier. Also seen in this area wereBonelli's (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and a Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax). From here we headed off towards Antequera and Laguna Herrera, on the way down the motorway I saw a nice male Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) on the verge, and several Avocets (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta) and Black-winged Stilts(Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus) on flooded fields. We arrived at the Laguna and had a look on some more flooded fields first where there were a good number of waders and wildlfowl, these included more Black-winged Stilts and Avocets, a single Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluviali squatarola), displaying Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadorna tadorna), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus). In the same area we recorded Yellow Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and a fly over Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla). On the main lagoon there were several Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica), at least three Whiskered Terns (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen(Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), a single Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Lesser Black-backed Gull (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus). Other species seen while we were here included Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and Sand Martins (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia), Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and a male Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe). We then made our way back to Huétor. Photographs from the top: 2 x Naked / Italian Man Orchid (Orchis italica), Dark Spider Orchids (Ophrys incubacea), 2 x Orchis bivonae, Bumble-bee Orchids (Ophrys bombyliflora), Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys scolopax), Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta) and Ophrys dyris.