Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Embalse de Iznajar, Malaga Province and travelling. (Wildlife Guiding).

A mornings Wildlife work.

I woke up to the sound of the rain hammering off the roof which was not the start I had hoped for but I got up and by the time I had showered and sorted there were a few breaks in the darks skies where some less grotty looking grey clouds were getting through. I set off for Iznajar lake with our neighbour Christine, the weather was at first not looking any better but as we got closer a few blue patches started to creep in but by the time we reached the Dam it was Peeeeeeeeeeeeeing down again. As we had been stuck behind slow drivers and at traffic lights most of the group had already arrived and we were soon joined by most of the rest of the small band so we set off. We waited near the dam as a couple of the group were still to arrive but we soon found several spikes of the beautiful Naked / Italian Man Orchids (Orchis italica), a Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera ssp tenthredinifera) and several Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea). Whilst we were looking at these our last to members joined us and we continued checking out what else was about, we soon found Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus), African Valerian (Fedia cornucopiae), Field marigold (Calendula arvensis), Common Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum), Scorpiurus muricatus, Soft Stork's-bill (Erodium malacoides), Mediterranean Daphne (Daphne gnidium) and Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis). We started to make our way along the road towards San Marco's scanning the right hand side of the road, on the way we saw or heard Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula). As we worked our way along we also found more Yellow Bee, Italian Man Orchids and we also added Borage (Borago officinalis), White Mustard (Sinapis alba), White Mignonette (Reseda Alba), Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis), Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) and several of the beautiful blue flowered Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum subsp speculum). We then turned right down the road towards the dam and saw our first Giant Orchids (Himantoglossum robertiana) but they were going past their best, a little further on we started to look on the left hand bank and found several flowering Snake's Head Fritillary's (Fritillaria hispanica), Warty Spurge (Euphorbia squamigera), Asphodelus ramosus, Ranunculus spicatus ssp blepharicarposThapsia (Thapsia villosa), Southern Daisy (Bellis cordifolia), Pitch Trefoil(Psoralea bituminosa), Mallow-leaved Bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides) and quite a few spikes of Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca ssp fusca) most of which were past there best but there were a few good flowers on the topof the spikes. Along this area we heard and saw Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), several Blackcaps(Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor). We then turned around and made our way back to the road junction and went up on to the bank opposite into the really good Orchid area. Straight away we found 40+ spikes of the plain but very nice Bumble-bee Orchids (Ophrys bombyliflora) and cutting back the way we had come from we quickly found two spikes of the very rare Dark Spider Orchid (Ophrys incubacea) and then amongst a sizable colony of Naked Man Orchids we saw the uncommon Hybrid between it and Man Orchid (Aceras anthropophorum) which is called Orchis bivonae and looks fantastic. In the same area we saw a stunning white example of the Naked Man Orchid, a little way into the nearby fire break we found serveral plants of Ophrys subfusca and on the far side of the break a single plant of the delicate Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta). We then walked back towards the car adding Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis). Plants included Purple Viper's Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Rosy garlic (Allium roseum), Naples garlic (Allium neopolitanum) and Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis). We also found another single spike of the rare Dark Spider Orchid. Once back near the cars we crossed the dam and scanned the cliffs on the Northern side, Straight away we saw a pair of Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) coming and going from the tunnel with the raod in it. We also saw a distant male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), more Jackdaws and Red-billed Choughs, House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto). We also saw quite a few new wildlflower species along the cliff walk which cuts around the tunnel for people on foot. These included Bermuda Buttercup (Oxalis pes-caprae), Bladder Vetch (Anthyllis tetraphylla), Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum), Bladder Campion (Silene Vulgaris), Rock Phagnalon (Phagnalon saxatile), Lesser Snapdragon (Misopates orontium), Small Melilot (Melilotus indica), Brown Bluebell (Dipcadi serotinum), Small-blue Convulvulus (Convolvulus siculus) and White Snapdragon (Antirrhinum controversum). We then walked back across the dam and back to the cars and we all went on our ways, Christine and I went back via the lake side trail, on the way we found more Somber Bee Orchids, Naked Man Orchids, a fine Giant Orchid which was still in perfect condition, Yellow Anemone (Anemone palmata), Italian Sainfoin (Hedysarum coronarium). Birds included Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) and as we got near to the motorway three Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) flew over the olives and right across the road in front of us.
Thankyou to all the people that came along and surported the morning, I do hope that you enjoyed it!!

Photographs from the top: Naked / Italian Man Orchids (Orchis italica), Getting a shot of the Italian's, Bumble-bee Orchids (Ophrys bombyliflora), the group looking at the Bumble-bee Orchids, Orchis bivonae , Dark Spider Orchid (Ophrys incubacea), white Naked / Italian Man Orchid, Small-blue Convulvulus (Convolvulus siculus) and Giant Orchids (Himantoglossum robertiana) on the way home.

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