Thursday, 25 June 2015

The forests of Irati, Navarra Province and the track to Gabardito, Huesca Province.

Searching for Woodpeckers in the huge forests or a needle in a haystack would be more like it.
Granada Wildlife Pyrenees Tour Day Six.

We were up and out a bit quicker this morning a we had a 70 or so KM drive to reach our main birding spot today and most of it was on windy mountain roads. We made a brief stop on the way to check out a stretch of river where we had Dipper (Mirlo Acuático / Cinclus cinclus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Red Kite (Milano Real / Milvus milvus), Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus) and on the roadside bank Nottingham Catchfly (Silene nutans), Pyrenean Rock-rose (Helianthemum nummularium ssp. pyrenaica) and Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca).
We made a stop at a bar in the town of Ochagavia and whilst we sat along side the river we saw Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone),  House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
After the caffeine in take we continued on and arrived at the main car park where we were charged €5 to park but this did include a couple of very useful maps. We immediately started to hear an immature Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis) which we continued to call just about all day. We started by taking a short walk along the trail leading North out of the car park seeing Mistle (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) and Song Thrushes (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Coal  (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Crested (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus) and Blue Tits (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea) and Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs).
After a while we returned to the car park and took another trail following the river, along side this trail there were a few small clearings with swathes of Thistles growing in them which attracted quite a few butterflies including Large (Ochlodes venatus) and Small Skippers (Thymelicus sylvestris), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria), Small (Artogeia rapae) and Large White (Pieris brassicae) and Comma ("C" blanca / Polygomum c-album). There were also a couple of dragonflies whizzing around and eventually one of them landed and gave me the chance to get a distant shot so that we could Id it and it turned out to be a new species the Sombre / Two-toothed Goldenring (Cordulegaster bidentata), we also had several Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo). Plants included both Purple (Lathraea clandestina) and Common Toothwort (Lathraea squamaria) and none flowering Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleboine). Birds along this walk included Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and Garden Warbler (Curruca Mosquitera / Sylvia borin). We again retraced our way back to the car park but continued across to the far side and took the track up the far side of the river and walked for quite a long way finishing up in a nice meadow area for butterflies. On the way we saw the Green Woodpecker we had been hearing and Linda go a very nice photograph of it when it dropped down on to the track side bank and some of the group heard a possible Lesser-spotted Woodpecker (Pico Menor / Dryobates minor) but we could not find the bird. Further along the track we had a Lefebvre's Ringlet (Erebia lefebvrei), Common Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus), Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) and Pearly Heaths (Coenonympha arcania). Yet again we retraced our way back to the vehicle adding Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus), Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum), Common Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Marsh Tit (Carbonero Palustre /Parus palustris), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius).
Bcak in the car park we had our lunch and added a family party of Bullfinches (Camachuelo Común / Pyrrhula pyrrhula) to the list before popping up to the next car park for another walk but thins were getting quite warm by now and we did not add very much, Nick did however find a very smart Buff-tip Moth (Phalera bucephala) before we returned to the vehicle. At this point we decided that the target for today the White-backed Woodpecker (Pico Dorsiblanco / Dendrocopos leucotos) would have to be a good reason to return to the area again in the future.
We made our way back towards the hotel adding Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus) and several Southern White Admirals (Limenitis reducta)which flew up off the road on the way. 
Once we were at the hotel some of the group finished for the day and some of us continued on a walked the track near the start of the Gabardito track and as soon as we pulled up we were rewarded with nice views of a male Red-backed Shrike (Alcaudón Dorsirrojo / Lanius collurio) and a little further along the track we had a very nice European Peacock (Aglais io) as well as Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne), Greater Butterfly (Platanthera chlorantha) and Pyramidal Orchids (Orquidea Pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia). Later we made our way back to the vehicle and went back for our evening meal and log call.

Photographs from the top:  Under the Beech (Fagus sylvatica) woodland, 2x Large Skipper (Ochlodes venatus), Purple Toothwort (Lathraea clandestina), Large White (Pieris brassicae), Sombre / Two-toothed Goldenring (Cordulegaster bidentata), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni), Common Toothwort (Lathraea squamaria) and a view from along the Gabardito track.

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