A mornings stroll looking for Orchids.
I started the day by driving over to Iznajar and then taking the track along side the southern edge of the Embalse to the Helipad near the Dam, on the way I saw my first European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) of the year, plenty of Azure-winged Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus) and heard both Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos).
I arrived at the dam early as planned as I wanted check a few things out before I met up with the small group back at the Helipad. Just before 10:00 seven of us (Jenny and Bob Wright, Pat and Eric Lyon and two friends who where visiting them) met up and started the walk down the road, almost straight away we were seeing our first of hundreds of Naked / Italian Man Orchids (Orquídea italiana / Orchis italica) of varying colours and sizes. During the first stop we also saw several Yellow Bee Orchid (Orquídea Abejera / Ophrys lutea), Sawfly Orchid (Flor de avispa / Ophrys tenthredinifera), Mirror Orchid (Espejo de Venus / Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), Violet cabbage (Moricandia moricandioides), Field marigold (Calendula arvensis), Common Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum) and Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus).We continued on down the road seeing lots more Naked Man, Yellow Bee and Mirror Orchids as well as Southern Daisy (Bellis cordifolia), White Mustard (Sinapis alba), Western ramping-fumitory (Fumaria occidentalis), Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata ssp pullata), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Pitch Trefoil (Psoralea bituminosa), Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), Little Robin (Geranium Purpureum), Curry Plant (Helecrisum stoechaes), Corn Poppy (Papaver rhoeas), Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis), Common Asphodel (Asphodelus albus), Blue Hounds-tongue (Cynoglossum creticum) and Eruca (Eruca sativa). We also saw our first Butterflies during this part of the walk which included Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Moroccan Orange-tip (Anthocharis belia), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and Large White (Pieris brassicae). Several birds were also seen and heard which included Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Coal Tits (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
We reached the road down to the dam and turned right seeing several spikes of just passed their best Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum robertiana), Mediterranean Daphne (Daphne gnidium), Dove's Foot Cranesbill (Geranium molle), Fedia (Fedia cornucopiae), Snakes-head Fritillary (Fritilaria hispanica), some Somber Bee Orchids (Abejera oscura / Ophrys fusca subsp fusca) which were all finished, Shepherds Needles (Scandix pecten-veneris), Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Rosy garlic (Allium roseum), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum), Henbit Deadnettle (Lamium amplexicaule), Common Stork's-bill (Erodium cicutarium) and Red Phlomis (Phlomis purpurea). Butterflies included Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice). We heard but did not see both Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus) and Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli).
We retraced our steps and headed into the main area for Orchids and were soon photographing large patches of the beautiful but less than colourful Bumblebee Orchid (Orquídea abejorro / Ophrys bombyliflora) along with more Naked Man and a single but different from last your Hybrid between Italica and Man Orchid (Orchis anthropophora) which is given the name Orchiaceras bivonae. Just a few meters away from this beauty were a couple of spikes of the rare Dark Spider Orchid (Ophrys incubacea) during the walk we saw four spikes of the cracking Orchid in total. In the area nearby we increased the list by seeing Man Orchid, Ophrys subfusca and just a little further on a spike of Small Woodcock Orchid (Orquídea abejera becada / Ophrys picta).
As we walked back towards the car we saw a very nice Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), once back at the cars we had a drink and a snack before walking across the dam and checking the crags at the far end for plants and birds. On the way cross we saw several species of flower growing in the gutter including Common (Antirrhinum major) and White Snapdragons (Antirrhinum controversum), White Mignonette (Reseda Alba), Small Melilot (Melilotus indica), Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), Sedum sediforme, Cut-leaved Valerian (Centranthus calcitrapae), Cliffhanger (Chaenorhinum villosum), Soft Stork's-bill (Erodium malacoides), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Mucizonia hispida and Nonea vesicaria.
On and around the dam we also saw Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia). Birds were also seen over and around the large crags at the far end of the dam and these included a nice pale phase Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).We walked along the short track around the tunnel and added a few more plants species to the growing list including Brown Bluebell (Dipcadi serotinum), Mediterranean Catchfly (Silene colorata), Rusty-back Fern (Ceterach officinarum), Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum) and Wild Clary (Salvia verbenaca) along with a single Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli). We retraced our way back to the cars and all headed off towards Iznajar on the lake side road, I stopped and photographed Iberis pectinata and Large Pimpernel (Anagallis monelli) and had nice views of a female Goshawk (Azor Común / Accipitor gentillis), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) and Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi) along the way.
Thanks to the group for supporting Granada Wildlife and for their company on an enjoyable and productive morning.
Photographs from the top: Naked / Italian Man Orchids (Orquídea italiana / Orchis italica), Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum robertiana), Dark Spider Orchid (Ophrys incubacea), Orchiaceras bivonae, Mirror Orchid (Espejo de Venus / Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), Man Orchid (Orchis anthropophora), Somber Bee Orchids (Abejera oscura / Ophrys fusca subsp fusca), Yellow Bee Orchid (Orquídea Abejera / Ophrys lutea), Ophrys subfusca, Bumblebee Orchid (Orquídea abejorro / Ophrys bombyliflora), Sawfly Orchid (Flor de avispa / Ophrys tenthredinifera) and Small Woodcock Orchid (Orquídea abejera becada / Ophrys picta).