A day of being too late or early!!!
We started the day by getting young Sam ready and off to school on the bus which picks him up from the Venta near the house and then I had a quick look around the garden and and along the track near the house where I started the day list off with several Long-tailed Tits (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) which were feeding in the gardens oaks. In the same area I also had Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and a more distant calling Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis). A little later we headed out on one of the local tracks to a place called Campobuches and then on a little further to a grassland spot just below some cliffs where we were hoping for a late flowering Narcissus cavanillesii but all we found were several seed heads (just too Late). I the area we did however get some very nice views of several Woodlarks (Totovia / Lullula arborea) which seem to be common this autumn, Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and a single Spanish Psammondromus (Psammondromus hispanicus). We walked around this site for a while and flushed up several insects from the grass including Blue-winged Grasshopper (Oedipoda caerulescens), Wingless Iberian Mantis (apteramantis aptera) and several Clouded Yellows (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).
We made our way back up to the Grazalema road, on the way we saw a couple of new species for the day list including Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
We then headed along the road towards Ubrique and turned along a track to a site just on the edge of a small village called Villaluenga, a short way along this thrack there was a gate across it so we parked and went for a walk. Straight away I had stunning views of a Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus) which messed around in a small shrub at the side of the track but never came on to a clear enough branch for me to get a shot. Also along this track we saw and heard several Common Crossbills (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) and added both Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) and Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) to the butterfly list.
On our way back towards Grazalema we called at a small Picnic site where Sue showed us a very active Hornets (Vespa crabro) nest in an old Oak tree, also growing in the Oak was a nice plant of Southern Polypody (Polypodium cambricum) and in the general area several well ladden Hawthorns (Crataegus monogyna) along the stream bed.
Our next stop was on a roadside between Sue's house and Grazalema where we spent some time searching a large grassy field for the uncommon Autumn Lady's Tresses (Spiranthes spiralis) in an area where Sue had seen lots of spikes in 2012 but this year they had failed to flower completely, but they are a species which commonly does this if there is not enough rain early in the autumn.We again continued on towards Grazalema and on the way had nice roadside views of a couple of male Blue-rock Thrushes (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and a male Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) along with a dozen or so Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) circling over head.
We passed through the town just stopping for some lunch on the way up to the pass at Puerto de las Palomas where we parked up and had a short walk down the hill checking the Pinsapo's on the way, we had intended to stake out the water trough near the car park but there were a couple of rather noisy birders there keeping all the birds away. On the way down we had several Ring Ouzels ( Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus) which were holding back but clearly wanted to get to the water, also seen were Black Redstart, Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), a good sized flock of Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), a single Andalucian Wall Lizard (Podarcis vaucheri), lots of Migrant Hawkers (Aeshna mixta), a couple of Brimstones (Gonepteryx rhamni), Large (Pieris brassicae) and Small Whites (Artogeia rapae) and a couple of Painted Lady's.
We then dropped down into the town of Grazalema again and went into see Clive Muir at the Visitors Centre on the main Carpark. We spent some time there before collecting Sam and heading back to the house, I had a walk in the garden and then Sam and I repaired Sue's garden table before sitting out on the terrace where we watched a group of Griffon Vultures pass by very close to the house. Later we settled down to a nice meal and a couple of drinks.
Photographs from the top: View along the walk at Villaluenga, taking Sam to the bus, Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea, Sue and Jayne on the Villaluenga walk, Southern Polypody (Polypodium cambricum) and a Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) from Sue's Terrace (not cropped)