Friday 12 April 2013

Sierra Nevada, Granada Province.

A fantastic plant I have wanted to see for a long time.

Sierra Nevada Narcissus (Narcissus nevadensis).
Jayne and I travelled up to Granada to visit Juan Perez and Beatriz, Jayne stayed at their apartment with Beatriz, while Juan and I headed up to the Western slopes of Sierra Nevada. I had long wanted to see the extremely rare Sierra Nevada Narcissus (Narcissus nevadensis) and Juan had a pretty good idea of where it could be found having seen it some years ago.
Sierra Nevada Narcissus (Narcissus nevadensis).
We started the drive up into the Trevenquillo which takes you through some fantastic scenery, eventually we parked up and we continued on along the track on foot. Along here we picked up Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica).
Three-leaved Crocus (Colchicum triphyllum).
We then turned off the track and we headed up the hill into an area of wet grass where Juan found lots of Narcissus nevadensis plants in bud and eventually in a sunnier patch we found several plants in full bloom.
We spent quite sometime photographing the plants and searching the area, during which time we found lots of Sierra Nevada Crocus (Crocus nevadensis) and a few plants of Three-leaved Crocus (Colchicum triphyllum).
Sierra Nevada Crocus (Crocus nevadensis).
Also seen were Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus), Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychlorus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
We then made our way back to the car and headed back down towards the city through the Pine woods, on the way we made a stop to look at a single spike of Naked / Italian Man Orchid (Orchis italica) seen whilst driving past, in the area we also saw Ophrys forestieri, Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera) and Fan-lipped Orchid (Anacamptis collina).
Naked / Italian Man Orchid (Orchis italica).
Next we went back down to Juan's, once we were there Beatriz suggested that we all went up into the city to a Spanish bar they knew well for something to eat and a drink. So we all went up in Beatriz's car and spent a very pleasant couple of hours wandering around the very busy city and visiting the bar where we did indeed have something to eat and drink before calling in at the Italian Ice-cream shop opposite the Cathedral. Later we made our way back to the car and then back to their apartment and then on wards home.

Thursday 11 April 2013

Fuente de Piedra, Laguna Dulce, Laguna Salida, Laguna Herrera and Arroya Marin, Malaga Province.

88 bird species in 5 and a bit hours.

Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
I started off by taking Jayne over to Trabuco for the monthly meeting of the Amigas de Casa womens group, from there I headed over to Fuente de piedra for a bit of birding. On the way over some good birds were seen including Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) and Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus). On some flooded areas around Antequera I picked up good numbers of Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica) and Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus).
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
I arrived at the reserve and parked up before giving the large pool along the entrance road a quick scan, I soon located more Black-winged Stilts, Avocet (Avoceta Común / Recurvirostra avosetta), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), a single male type Ruff (Combatiente / Philomachus pugnax), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra) and Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae). I had a walk out on to the board walk but there were just small numbers of waders present but they did include at least three sparkling Wood Sandpipers (Andarrios Bastardo / Tringa glareola).
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
I continued on along the track to the corner on the raised back where I scanned the the flooded margins and soon located a very nice male Garganey (cerceta Carretona / Anas querquedula), several pairs of Red-crested Pochards (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Gadwall (Anade Friso / Anas strepera), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos) and just a small flock of around 50 or so Greater Flamingo (Flamenco Común / Phoenicopterus roseus). In the same area there were a large number of Yellow Wagtails of all three expected forms including a very bright male of the UK form flavissima, also here there were a small group of 6 Wood Sandpipers roosting on the mud betweeen the Juncus tussucks and a Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix) was calling from the field behind me.
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
I then turned around and walked back across the boardwalk and around to the hides at the back of the visitors centre, on my way I saw a couple of Little Egrets (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) fly into the reeds near the next pool round the walk. This pool was almost deserted except of a dozen or so Black-winged Stilts and a few Common Moorhens. I had a look in the larger of the two hides, on the islands there were good numbers of Avocets, Black-headed Gulls, new species for the list included Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Shelduck (Tarro Blanco / Tadorna tadorna), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis) and on my way to the smaller hide a male Spanish Sparrow (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis) flew towards the centre.
Black-winged Stilt (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus).
Once I was in the smaller hide I had a male Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) in the bins and I could hear several Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) singing from the reed bed. I then went back to the car and headed to the next view point around on the Western side of the lake, on the way I picked up both Kentish (Chorlitejo Patinegro / Charadrius alexandrinus) and Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) on some flooded fields near the road and further round Lesser Kestrel (Cernicola Primilla / Falco naumanni), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
Great Crested Grebe (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus).
From the view point I watched a cracking male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) hunting over the reed fringed pool, a Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) which was sitting in a large tamarisk tree on the margings. Over the water I added Whiskered Tern (Fumarel Cariblanca / Chilidonias hybridus) and in the reed beds there were both Reed and Great Reed Warblers (Carricero Tordal / Acrocephalus arundinaceus) singing. Whilst in the scrub between the view Point and the pool there was a calling Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and a singing Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala). I then continued on towards Laguna Dulce near Campillos, on the way I stopped several times picking up Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus).
Red-Knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata).
Eventually I reached Dulce where I met a chap from the medio ambiente with his scope set up watching a very nice male Red-Knobbed Coot (Focha Moruna / Fulca cristata) and he then pointed out another three birds and informed me that there were at least 5 birds on the lake, I had seen 4 none collared birds but he had also seena collared bird on the far shore but we could not locate it. We also picked up a nice male Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca), lots of Great Crested Grebes (Somormujo Lavanco / Podiceps cristatus), a Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio) and several singing Calandra Larks (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra). Other species here which I had seen earlier included Common Pochard, Red-crested Pochards, Gadwall, Black-necked Grebe and Northern Shoveler. I then went and had a look at Laguna's Salada and de la Marcela where I added White-headed Duck (Malvasia Cabeciblanca / Oxyura leucocephala), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus).
Ferruginous Duck (Porrón Pardo / Aythya nyroca).
I then started to head back towards Trabuco to pick Jayne up but on the way I called in at Laguna Herrera just to the North of Antequera, on the drive in I watched a displaying male Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) in a field of seedling sunflowers and a Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) which was perched on one of the many pylons. On the flooded fields to the right of the track there were loads of Gull-billed Terns roosting, along with a few Black-headed and a dozen or so Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus). Out in the water more Common Redshank, Avocets and Black-winged Stilts were joined by two summer plumage Spotted Redshanks (Archibebe Oscuro / Tringa erythropus), a pair of Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) and a Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea). Along the margins there had been a mass emergance of 100s of Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) and these were joined by several Lesser Emperors (Anax parthenope).
Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio).
I then continued on around the fields and made my way back to the motorway and came off again near Archidona, still having a few minutes to spare I drover the first couple of KM along Arroya Marin and soon picked up several new species for the day list, these included Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and a pair of Hawfinches (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotraustes) which flew up from the side of the track. I then headed back to trabuco where I picked Jayne up from the craft group meeting and we headed off home. Later in the evening I went out onto the terrace and could hear Little (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Eagle (Buho Real / Bubo bubo) and Eurasian Scop's Owls (Autillo Europeo / Otus scops) all calling.
Gull-billed Terns (Pagaza Piconegra / Gelochelidon nilotica).

Sunday 7 April 2013

Hacho, Loja, Granada Province.

100s of Orchids and a few birds.

Southern Early Purple Orchid (Orchis olbiensis).
This weekend we were looking after Yogi, Paul and Cherry's dog while they were away for a few days. We decided to take him for his afternoon walk on the Northern slopes of Hacho a smallish Sierra just to the North of Loja. We parked on the track near the large quarry on the road up to Ventorros de San Jose and while Jayne collected cones Yogi and I walked the woods looking for Orchids.
Southern Early Purple Orchid (Orchis olbiensis).
We were soon seeing lots of Giant Orchids (Himantoglossum robertiana) which were starting to go over a bit but this is not surprising as I have been seeing this species in flower here for well over a month.
Southern Early Purple Orchid (Orchis olbiensis).
The next species that stood out was the beautiful little Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp tenthredinifera) the early flowering short version of this plant, within a few minutes I had seen at least a 100 spikes. Next came the very variable Southern Early Purple Orchid (Orchis olbiensis) which was found in small groups, some groups numbered up to 30 plants and most contained flowers of different colours.
Southern Early Purple Orchid (Orchis olbiensis).
Lower down the hill I saw my first Yellow Bee (Ophrys lutea) and Mirror Orchids (Ophrys speculum) but just the odd ones. I then walked up into a disused quarry where I came across a sight that I see more and more in the Spanish countryside at the moment, a large pile of rubble dumped by some scum-bag builder on a beautiful piece of land.
Snake's Head Fritillary (Fritillaria hispanica).
Anyway I dropped back down to the lower part of the site where I found several spikes of Fan-lipped Orchids (Orchis conica) which were growing amongst a few spikes of Snake's Head Fritillary (Fritillaria hispanica). I walked back up to the car and then on passed up into the scrubbier areas of the hill, along here I found lots of Ophrys forestieri most of which were past their best. Also seen here were Ranunculus spicatus ssp blepharicarpos, Asphodelus ramosus, Field marigold (Calendula arvensis), Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus), Pink Med Catchfly (Silene colorata), Common Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum), Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis), Blue Hounds-tongue (Cynoglossum creticum), Yellow Anemone (Anemone palmata), Purple Viper's Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Rosy Garlic (Allium roseum) and Rue-leaved Saxifrage (Saxifraga tridactylites).
Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum subsp speculum).
During this walk round I saw and heard several species of birds including Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilargo / Sylvia undata), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) and the whole time I was there an European Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo) was calling from the crags above the site.
Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera).
I then walked back down to the car where we found Jayne still up on the hill before we headed home.
Ranunculus spicatus ssp blepharicarpos.