Saturday 2 May 2015

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

A morning of Birds, Butterflies, Dragonflies, Orchids and Wild Flowers in the beautiful Sierra de Loja.

Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
I headed out early and made my way to Salar and up the Sierra de Loja from the Eastern slopes for a change, on the way I started the list off with House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus).
Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops).
Just out side the village I stopped by the small Arroyo de Salar and had a walk, the first bird I saw was a Garden Warbler (Curruca Mosquitera / Sylvia borin) followed by Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and just as I was returning to the car a very nice male Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus) flew over.
Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator).
I continued on up the road which soon change to track adding Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).
Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia).
I made a brief stop at a patch of uncultivated ground on the roadside where I checked for Orchids and plants seeing Yellow Bee (Ophrys lutea) and Mirror Orchids (Ophrys speculum) plus Common Asphodel (Asphodelus albus), Common Stork's-bill (Erodium cicutarium), Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus), Ground-pine Germander (Teucrium pseudochamaepitys), Large Blue Flax (Linum narbonense), Mediterranean Catchfly (Silene colorata), Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Navel-wort (Omphalodes commutata), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Red Phlomis (Phlomis purpurea), Rosy garlic (Allium roseum), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) and Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata ssp pullata).
Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa).
I continued up the track going through Olives, Almond, abandoned groves and eventually out on to the mountain tops, on my way up I saw Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius).
Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis).
After having a chat with the Campo Guard and a farmer near one of the larger marble quarries I continued on along the track towards Charca del Negro, on the way I had Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Black-eared (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia) and not yet in flower Lizard Orchids (Himantoglosum hircinum).
Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia).
Once I was at Charca I parked and went and sat in the rocks near the pool and waited to see what would come in to drink or perch near by for the camera. The first new species seen was a nice male Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) quickly followed by Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) and then the target species a fine male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) but this shy species knew I was there and stayed half hidden but it was still stunning.
Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).
I moved a short way down the slope towards the goat house and again sat and waited, here I had distant but nice long views of a singing male Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis), more Black-eared Wheatears, Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and several butterflies including Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea).
Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
Back up at the pool I checked what I could see in the water and soon had views of both Sharp-ribbed Salamander (Pleurodeles waltl) and Natterjack Toads (Sapo Corredor / Bufo calamita) as they came up for air, a couple of Andalucian Wall Lizards (Podarcis vaucheri) on the rocks and a very small Viperine Snake (Culebra Viperina / Natrix maura) which slipped away through the Pond Water Crowsfoot (Ranunculus Peltatus). Over the pool a couple of male Red-veined Darters (Sympetrum fonscolombii) battled for territory and several Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) passed over feeding.I continued on to the next corned just passed the charca's in the car before turning around, on the boulders in this area I found a nice Male Black-eared Wheatear which sat nicely for the camera.
Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata)-
I dropped steadily down the hill to a spot I know where I usually see Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) and before I had even got out of the car a male was display flying from a large broom bush nearby, in the same area there were several Thekla Larks (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), a family party of Dartford Warblers (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) which came right next to the car in an almond tree, Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus) and a single passing Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) which drifted off west. Again I continued down hill seeing a female Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Coal Tits (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) on the way and then had a look at the area around the old quarry.
Female Pied Flycatcher (Papamoscas Cerrojillo / Ficedula hypoleuca).
On the crags I found a single off duty Eagle Owl (Buho Real / Bubo bubo), 2 more Dartford Warblers, Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster) which flew over high along with Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice), Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes), Small White (Artogeia rapae), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) and Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni).
I then dropped down to the motorway and headed for the Huétor Tajar junction, just before I got there a pair of Hawfinches (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes) flew across and right on the exit a Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) was seeing off a Great Spotted Cuckoo (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius).
After a visit to the supermarket I made my way home across the fields and finished the day with Spanish (Yellow) Wagtail (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus).

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