Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A day in two places for Pam and John.
(Pam and John, Day Four).

For the first time the four of us set off for Granada on the way we picked up Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Woodpigeon(Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula). We reached the city where Pam and Jayne were going to spend the day in the city looking around the shops and checking out some of the museums while John and I headed up the road towards the Ski resort of Sierra Nevada. On the way up to our first stop at the barrier we had a female Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) fly across the road infront of us which made fora good start. We arrived at the parking area near the big green military building before starting to check out the rocky areas between then the large slabs of snow, the first species as usual to be seen were Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), a couple of males were seen and heard singing from the crags below. Next came Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica),  Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Rock (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and House Sparrows (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and then came the species we had come for. We had distant views of a Alpine Accentor (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis), which was a lifer for John, even though the bird was distant we could see the main identification details. From here we dropped down to a point in the town and walked out on to one of the tracks on to the ski slopes, on the way out we had good views of two singing male Dunnocks (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis) the one bird was seen to acompany a female bird to what appeared to be a nest site. Also along here we had at least two displaying male Common Whitethroats (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), a singing Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia). We retraced our steps with out seeing a single butterfly species, once we got back to the car we headed down the hill to the start of the old road down to Guejar-sierra and Pino's Genil. We stopped at a grassland area after a few Kms and checked the area finding Small White (Artogeia rapae), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli), Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Berger's Clouded Yellow (Colias alfacariensis), Common Blue (Icaro (Dos Puntos) / Polyommatus icarus), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), False Ilex Hairstreak (Querquera / Satyrium esculi) and then we had a surprise Lesser Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea trivia) which was a pain to get shots of as it was spending all it's time chasing off the Scarce Swallowtail. Birds included Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius). In amongst the grassland and under the pine trees there were plenty of wildflowers and a few Orchids including Berberis hispanica, Carduus granatensis, Onosma tricerosperma subsp granatensis, Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis), Red Phlomis (Phlomis purpurea), Southern Red Bartsia (Parentucellia latifolia), Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata), Tragopogon pratensis, Yellow Phlomis (Phlomis lychnitis) and both Southern Early Purple (Orchis olbiensis) and  Lange's Orchids (Orchis langei). From here we dropped down to the area near the Seminario Diocesano where we picked up Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus). New butterflies included Grayling (Hipparchia semele), Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri), Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba), Black-veined White (Banca del Majuelo / Aporia crataegi), Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines) and Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri). A little bit further down we stopped on a sharp bend with step banks, here we located a single Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma) but it remained well out of the range of the camera. We stopped further down the hill on the side of the rio Genil where in the passed we had seen large numbers of butterflies but numbers were low as the banks had been washed away and there were not as many areas for the insects to collect there minerals. We did however see Mallow Skipper (Carcharodus alceae), Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus lavatherae), Marsh Fritillary (Euphydrayas aurinia beckeri), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and Southern Gatekeeper (Pyronia cecilia). Near the valley just a short way down the hill we walked down to the river and scanned from a concrete bridge over the Genil but we did not see the hoped for Dipper (Mirlo Acuático / Cinclus cinclus) but on the track on the far side of the river we saw Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Iberian Marbled White (Melanargia lachesis) and Dusky Meadow Brown (Lobito / Hyponephele lycaon). Our last stop of the day was at the dam end of the Embalse de Canales where we saw Jackdaw, Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba). From here we went down into the city where we met up with Pam and Jayne who had had a great stroll around the city and then headed back to the house.

Photographs from the top: One of the many wet flushes at 2500 meters, Lesser Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea trivia), Blue Hedgehog Broom (Erinacea anthyllis), Berberis hispanica, Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata) and John along the Rio Genil.








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