Monday, 22 June 2015

Anchar de Alano's, Sierra Alano, Huesca Province.

A leisurley stroll into the hills?????
Granada Wildlife Pyrenees Tour Day Three.

We were up, had breakfast and were out heading through the stunning local countryside for just 30 or so Km and on the way we saw Red Kite (Milano Real / Milvus milvus), Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone),  Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea). We parked at a carpark a couple of KM along a track, got the kit together and started to make our way along the farm track. Straght away we were seeing lots of Fragrant (Gymnadenia conopsea), Burnt (Neotinea Ustulata) and Greater Butterfly Orchids (Platanthera chlorantha), Piedmont Ringlets (Erebia meolans) and as we made our way into the beech woodlands we saw and heard Coal  (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Treecreeper (Agateador Norteño / Certhia familiaris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs). On the track side banks we saw a nice patch of Common Wintergreen (Pyrola minor), Alpine Bistort (Polygonum viviparum), Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor) and just as we broke through the trees we found the first of many stunning Black Vanilla Orchids (Nigritella angustifolia) and the less showy Frog Orchid (Dactylorhiza viride). As we continued on we saw Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Yellowhammer (Escribano Cerillo / Emberiza citrinella) and several Citril Finches (Verderón Serrano / Serinus citrinella) which were a lifer for some of the group. We continued walking up past the two red roofed farm buildings, just past the second building we left the nice track and took to the hill properly, John and Judy stayed on the track and searched the area below the crags whilst six of us continued on up. The first part of the walk took us up through some superb orchid meadows packed with Black Vinilla, Frog, Fragrant and Lesser Butterfly Orchids (Platanthera bifolia) as well as a good number of Field Gentians (Gentianella campestris). Before we reached the scree higher up we had views of a couple Water Pipits (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros). We hit the scree level and the walking got slightly harder but we were seeing so many things it was not really noticed, it got even better when a sub-adult Lammergeier / Bearded Vulture (Quebrantahuesos / Gypaetus barbatus) which drifted along the ridge a couple of times giving us nice views. A little way further on we had Alpine Chough (Chova Piquigualda / Pyrrhocorax graculus), a Red Kite and as we started to push up into the crack throgh the ridge to the meadows above we eventually found our first of the Alpine Accentor (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis) we had been hearing all the way up. In fact we had come across a family party of two adults and at least three juveniles, one of which gave us incredable views. In the same area we saw Viola biflora, a carpet of Saponaria species, Mountain Everlasting (Antennaria dioica), Iberis Species and Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychlorus), Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera). We continued up the track a little way after the Accentors and checked out a few plants and had a sit down, whilst we were catching our breath I checked a large crag and had fleeting views of a pair of Snowfinches (Gorrión Alpino / Montifringilla nivalis) but they were gone before I could get the rest of the group on to them. Here Mike L, Mary-Ann and Linda decided to wait and sit on a rock looking for the Snowfinches whilst Mick H, Nick and I continued on up to the meadows above. Once we were out on the grasslands we checked the area seeing Alpine Marmot (Marmota marmota), more Alpine Accentors and a single Snowfinch which I again managed to see but this time I managed to get Mick H on to it before it disappeared over a nearby ridge. Nick spent a while searching around a nearby patch of snow but the bird did not show again so we made our way down the hill eventually catching up with Mick L, Linda and Mary-Ann and then all of us headed back down through the Orchid meadows where Mary-Ann found a couple of spikes of an interesting looking Orchid which we put down to a hybrid between Black Vanilla Orchids (Nigritella angustifolia) X Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea) = Gymnadenia pyrenaeensis
We dropped down again and met Judy and John down by the first Farm building, we were all pleased to hear that they had seen nearly all the species we had seen except for the Snowfinch but they had seen a Marsh Tit (Carbonero Palustre /Parus palustris) a species I had not seen up till now in Spain. Now that all the group were back together we started the decent to the car adding Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Common (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Alpine Swifts (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus).
We got back to the van and had a few minutes resting our feet and soaking them in the river, once we were sorted we started back towards the hotel. As we drove down the track we saw a small group of Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) just across the river, after we watched these smart looking animls for a while and took some photographs we continued on and stopped at a view point on the southern side of Sierra de Alano and scanned the cliffs. We only added Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus) and Great Tits (Carbonera Común / Parus major) along with Comma ("C" blanca / Polygomum c-album), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) and Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra).
Again we carried on and stopped again when we saw several plants of the delecate and beautiful Digitalis lutea and whilst we were stopped in the is area we had a very smart Southern White Admiral (Limenitis reducta), Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Wood White (Leptidea sinapis), Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni), Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna), Pyrenean Rock-rose (Helianthemum nummularium ssp. pyrenaica), Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) and Pyramidal Orchid (Orquidea Pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia).

Photographs from the top: Sierra de Alano's, 2x Black Vanilla Orchids (Nigritella angustifolia), Piedmont Ringlets (Erebia meolans), Lammergeier / Bearded Vulture (Quebrantahuesos / Gypaetus barbatus), Field Gentian (Gentianella campestris), Saponaria species, Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea), Alpine Accentor (Acentor Alpino / Prunella modularis), Viola biflora, Lizard species, Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha), View from Anchar de Alano, Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea), Gymnadenia pyrenaeensis, View of Sierra de Alano, Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) and Digitalis lutea.



No comments: