Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

A day on my favourite part of my local patch.
(Pam and John, Day Three).

We left the house and on the way down to the motorway we started to pick up a few speices including House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor). Once we were on the hill we started to pick up some woodland species as we passed through the Pine woods heading for the turning area, they included Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) plus a couple of Red Squirrels (Sclurus vulgaris) which chased eah other around the trees. We parked at the turning point and walked up the track to the small disused quarry, on the way we had cracking views of a family party of Dartford Warblers (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), several adult and young Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and in the air there were good numbers of Barn (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica) and Red-rumped Swallows (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Pallid (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and Common Swifts (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) all feeding low over the mediterranean scrub. Wildflowers along here included Centaurea boissieri, Linaria anticaria, Chickweed (Cerastium boissieri), Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Rosy garlic (Allium roseum), Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum), Pyramidal Orchid (Orquidea Pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia) and Small Woodcock Orchid (Orquídea abejera becada / Ophrys picta). Butterflies had also started to fly and they included Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), False Ilex Hairstreak (Querquera / Satyrium esculi), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Sage Skipper (Muschampia proto), Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Satyrium spini) and Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes). Up at the quarry we scanned the cliffs but there was no sign of the Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo), we did however see Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
From here we returned back to the car and started to make our way along the crags and parked around three quarters of the way up and started to check the Hawthorn scrub below the road, we soon had good views of both Orphean (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis) and Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), with the former sitting almost in the open while it preened. In the same area we also had views of Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and the first of many Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae). We moved on up the crags to the bend at the top where we again stopped and checked what was about, here we added our first Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus lavatherae), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri), Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri) and Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea). From here we made our way across the mountain towards Charca del Negro, on the way we saw many more Black-eared Wheatears, another pair of Black Wheatears and Thekla's. Once we reached the Charca we had very good views of Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and passing Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus). On the pool a male Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) was holding territory and was chasing off a couple of Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) which were also on the same pool which was covered in Pond Water Crowsfoot (Ranunculus Peltatus). Here we also saw several large tadpoles of the Sharp-ribbed Salamander (Pleurodeles waltl), we eventually found an adult Salamander but it quickly disappeared into the weeds. We were looking for the Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) but unlike the last few visits we did not find the bird near the pool so we headed further on around to the area of crags passed the Goat Caves where we stopped twice but did not see the thrush so we started to retrace our steps but almost as soon as we turned around we saw a cracking male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush sat on a large rock right on the side of the road, we had good views through the bins and as I started to get out of the car to set up the scope the bird flew off up on to the crags and was not seen again. On the way back down we stopped at a couple of places and had very nice views of a couple of Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) on the fields near the goat cave, a species we do not see up in this area very often and halfway down we had good views of a pair of Spectacled Warblers (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata). In this area we also added a few butterflies including Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Cardinal Fritillary (argynnis Pandora), Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) and Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra).
From here we headed down the hill and along the Motorway to a site near Moraleda where we worked our way along the tracks out in the agricultural areas, during the drive we picked up Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) and a pair of Rollers (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) which were breeding in a tree on the site. On the high ground we around the Cortijo we saw a couple of Swallowtails (Papilio machaon) hill topping.
Our last stop on the way back was at Balsa de Reigido on the side of the A92 where we were looking for dragonflies, Birds included Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos). Insects included Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Blue / Common Emperor, Red-veined Darter, Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea), Small Red-eyed (Erythromma viridulum) and Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathinerum). From here we headed back to the house and did the notes up on the terrace.

Photographs from the top: Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia) x2, Centaurea boissieri, Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Satyrium spini), Linaria anticaria, Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).

1 comment:

nic.b van es said...

Wat is de natuur toch fantastisch mooi op dit moment.