An afternoon Orchid Hunting with Sue and Sam.
Jayne and I headed over to Grazalema to spend three days with good friends Sue Eatock and young Sam (Our guide for the second day) on the way over we picked up a few species including Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus).
We started by heading to the Visitors Centre on the main carpark in the town where we found Sam playing and Clive working hard trying to promote this cracking area. We spent some time with Sam before going over the far side of the carpark for a drink with Clive and Sam, after a while Sue met us there and once we had finished our drinks Sue, Sam, Jayne and I headed off to Sue's place for some lunch before heading out for an afternoon spent in the countryside. Whilst we were at Sue's I saw and heard Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus).
From Sue's we headed off to a site nearby where we had information about the very rare Summer Lady's Tresses (Spiranthes aestivalis) orchid and once we had parked up we had a look along the small stream at the site, striaght away I had a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) fly away and under the small bridge carrying the track. In the air over the site there were several European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) hawking insects, from here we could also hear a singing Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea) and a calling Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus). We continued on along the banks of the stream and after a short while we located several spikes of the target species on a small islet in a flooded part of the stream and a short while later we had quite a few more plants in a drier part of the stream bed. We took lots of photographs of the plants before checking the area out for other species, in the scrub above the spot we found several Western Willow Spreadwings (Lestres viridis) in amongst the Hawthorn bushes, a teneral Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) which zipped away before I could get a shot and several Common Blues (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus). Down in the wetter area I also flushed out from underfoot several very small Stripe-less Tree Frogs (Hyla meridionalis) and a not so small Natterjack Toad (Sapo Corredor / Bufo calamita) plus during the walk we flushed out a couple of Large Psammodromus (Lagartija colilarga / Psammodromus algirus) Lizard. Other birds seen included Cirl (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus) and Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula).
After spending quite a while we headed back up to Sue and Sams where Sam and I had a walk around the garden, during the stroll we hear and saw both Crested Tit (Herrerillo Capuchino /Parus cristatus) and Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea). We had a look through the flowering plants and put names to a few of them with Sue's help later, they included Dorycnopsis gerardi, Lavatera trimestris and Elaeoselinum foetidum.
Sam and I then went back in to the house and we all settled for a pleasent evening.