A morning on the Northern lower slopes.
yes and he jumped in and started to give me directions, a way along the road we came across a group of horse-men who were herding around 20 large cattle along the road which made getting along the road immpossible but luckily the chap wanted to go to a bar along the road which follows the Rio Genil so we turned left and made our way there where I dropped him off and turned around and headed back to the road up the hill. On the way I tried but failed to get shots of the biggest Common Toad (Bufo bufo) I was amazed how fast the dam thing could go and it was soon in the cover of the track side vegetation. Along this track I also came across the beautiful Spanish Rusty Foxglove (Digitalis obscura), Rosy garlic (Allium roseum), Bellardia trixago and Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum major). I reached the road to find the Cattle had spent ten minutes resting on a large grass area but had just started off and the road was again blocked so I turned around and headed back throught the tunnels and parked down near one of the bars and had a walk along one of the tracks down to the Rio Genil across a small bridge and up the track on the far side of the river. Along here I found several species of Butterflies including Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes), both Marsh (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri) and Queen of Spain Fritillaries (Issoria lathonia) and Small White (Artogeia rapae). Birds included Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica),Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus). From here I went a few hundred meters up the road where I parked up again and checked the gravel margins for mineral collecting Butterflies, first I counted another 20 or so Panoptes Blues, several Marbled Skippers (Carcharodus lavatherae), a Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychlorus), Large White (Pieris brassicae) and Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina). I then jumped back into the car and followed the trail of cow pats up the hill until I caught up with the herd, at this point there was a conviniant parking slot so I left the car and walked the rest of the way up to the spot I had hoped to reach. I searched and quickly found half a dozen or so spikes of Barton's Orchid (Dactylorhiza insularis), lots of Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanatera longifolia) and a few none flowering Robust Marsh Orchids (Dactylorhiza elata). Birds included two singing Common Chiffchaffs (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula). I turned around and started to make my way back down towards the car, by a spot that I call the stone wall site I found a few none flowering spikes of the uncommon Epipactis fagicola in a roadside ditch. Whilst I was searching for these orchids I was aware of a shuffling in the woods above the wall and soon found this to be a very large male Wild Boar (Felis silvestris) which stood looking at me for a few seconds before trotting off into the wood. Before I reached the car I saw Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Large Psammodromus(Psammodromus algirus) and Tufted vetch (Vicia cracca).
Photgraphs from the top: Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes), Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata) with a Bee-fly species, Marbled Skippers (Carcharodus lavatherae), a view up to the Sierra, Water Avens (Geum rivale), Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanatera longifolia) and 2x Barton's Orchid (Dactylorhiza insularis).