Saturday, 20 April 2013

Venta del Raya to Venta de Zafarraya, Granada Province.

The 2nd local Granada Wildlife walk / drive.

Today 14 of us met up at the bar just on the outskirts of Venta de Raya before heading south along the road down towards Venta de Zafarraya and at this point we were in nice sunshine but it was not to last!!! Our first stop was a few KM down the road over looking a largish expanse of cereal fields where we had nice views of several Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) including at least 5 ♂ and 3 ♀ . We also had Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica). We then went on along the road down towards Zafarraya and things soon started to deteriorate as we hit a bank of very thick fog / low cloud and then it started to rain. We eventually got to the first stop but could not see a dam thing and the rain and wind was freezing so we continued on to the second spot but things just got worse. So when we got there we to admit defeat and cancelled the morning and decided to rerun on Friday the 26th.
Anyway, Jan and Linda were not going to be here for the Friday trip so we all manned up and braved the weather and got out in to the woods looking for some Orchids, straight away we started to find lots of Yellow Bee Orchids (Ophrys lutea), a few Conical Orchids (Orchis conica) and then a clump of the beautiful Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea) which was made up of around 40 plants. We continued on and added a few spikes of the blue Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), along with some over with Fan-lipped Orchids (Orchis conica) and some not at their best Giant Orchids (Himantoglossum robertiana). Birds included Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla).
We then pushed on North and stopped on the roadside a few KMs up the road and went into the Oak woods and straight away we started to find more Yellow Bee Orchids, Giant Orchids, Conical Orchids, along with some not quite in flower Lange's Orchids (Orchis langei) and some nowhere near in flower Lizard Orchid (Himantoglossum hircinum). We then found a few new species including some of the variably coloured Small Early Purple Orchids (Orchis olbiensis), Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanatera longifolia) and in another small area of wood a couple of spikes of Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera). Birds included Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común /Cuculus canorus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus).
Photographs from the top: Conical Orchids (Orchis conica), Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea), Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanatera longifolia), Jan and Linda.

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