Friday, 21 March 2014

Near Padul, Granada Province.

A couple of hours Birding and Orchid hunting with Juan. 

Juan Pérez Contreras and I headed out in his 4x4 to a site not too far from Padul where in the past we have both seen the locally rare, possible close to extinct in the Province Dupont's Lark (Alondra Ricotí / Chersophilus duponti). The entrance track was evry bit as bad as Juan thought it would be which was why he suggested we should take his car and not mine. As we drove up the track we saw Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and the first of many Fan-lipped Orchids (Orchis collina) this one was the standard deep pink colour. We parked the car and walked one of the tracks off to the western side of the site and did a loop around to a gorge on the eastern side before returning to the car. On the first stretch we saw lots more of spikes of the common Fan-lipped Orchid, a couple of the eaqually common Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum robertiana) and several Common Grape Hyacinths (Muscari neglectum). During the walk several different colour variaties of the Fan-lipped including an almost gold coloured plant. There were also a few butterfly species in the area including Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus), Province Hairstreak (Cardenillo / Tomares ballus), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice).
As we reached the far side of the site we saw a fine male Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) which was quickly followed by a male of the Northern (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe) relative. We dropped down in to a small gorge at the furthest part of the area and then made our way back to the car passed a small pool which was full of Natterjack Toad (Sapo Corredor / Bufo calamita) tadpoles. Birds along this stretch included Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra). On the last stretch of the walk we picked up the most fantastic smells as a large flock of goats moved through the herbs.

Photographs from the top: 3x Fan-lipped Orchids (Orchis collina) and Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum robertiana).

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