Monday, 25 January 2016

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

Couple of hours on the Sierra with Jayne.

We drove up over to the far side of the hill where I was hoping to find a few species for the year list. I parked the car at a high point on the road and had a walk down hill checking the crags and bushes as I went along but things were very quiet. Half way down I heard Alpine Accentors (Acentor Alpino / Prunella collaris) off to my left and soon had a group of around 23 birds scuttling across the rocks not too far up the slope so I tried to get some shots. Whilst in the area I also saw Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Great Tits (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and a single Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor / Hieraetus faciatus) but there was no sign of the Ring Ouzels ( Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus) or Fieldfares (Zorzal Real / Turdus pilaris) that I was looking for.
After not finding the Thrushes I drove around to the other far side of the hill but on the way I saw a lager flock of Mistle Thrushes (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) so I stopped and checked through them as the flew up and around on a large flat area of rocky ground. As I checked through I found 4 possibly 5 Fieldfares amongst them. Again I moved on and down in to the next valley where we checked the large area of Hawthorns but could not find any Ouzels, however I did find a couple of very smart Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
On the way down from the hill we found several spikes of Giant Orchids (Himantoglossum robertiana) near the motorway.

Photographs from the top: View from Sierra de Loja west, 4x Alpine Accentors (Acentor Alpino / Prunella collaris) and Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum robertiana).

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