In the Valley and around the hill.
Kate and Jim Day Five.
We went up the motorway to Moraleda and out to the fields, on the way we had Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto). Once we were out on the fields we soon located a single Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) at the far end of a newly harvested cereal field. We had a quick chat with a group of farm workers on the next field to check that we were OK to dirve on the stubble before trying to get better views of the Bustard but before we reached the the spot we flushed up three Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Ganga Ortega / Pterocles orientalis) which landed again on the far edge of the field and then disappeared over the Almond Groves. We could not relocated the Little Bustard so we continued on to the ruin and saw a male Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Short-toed Larks (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla). Further on we picked up Roller (Carraca / Coracias garrulus) but they never came close enough for the camera to be used which was a bit of a theme with the birds today. In the same area we saw Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis) and European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
We dropped down into El Turro seeing Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) on the way and had a coffee in the bar where we added Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia).
We later retarced our way along the motorway past Loja and on to the road south to Zafarraya, after a few KM we stopped and checked a couple of cereal crop fields and had views of Montagu's Harrier but as with most of the birds they kept their distance. We also had Iberian / Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Large (Pieris brassicae) and Small Whites (Artogeia rapae), Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus boeticus) and Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea).
We continued along the road and parked under some roadside oaks and had a walk through the woodland and soon started to find new species including Wild Peony (Paeonia broteroi), Lange's (Androrchis langei), Lizard Orchid (Himantoglosum hircinum), Pyramidal (Orquidea Pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia) and Sawfly Orchids (Flor de avispa / Ophrys tenthredinifera var ficalhoana), Epipactis temolsii, Carpentor Bee (Xylocopa violacea), Libelloides Baeticus, Clouded Yellow, Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Lorquin's Blue (Cupido lorquinii), Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Adonis Blue (Niña Celeste / Lysandra bellargus), Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), Bonelli's (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Subalpine (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) and Orphean Warblers (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), 6x Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus).
Our last stop of the day was on the lower tracks of Sierra de Loja where we rewalked the tracks around the low quarry. In the area we had Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius), Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Mancha Azul / Satyrium spini), Spanish Gatekeeper (Lobito listado / Pyronia bathsheba), Mucizonia hispida, Brown Bluebell (Jacinto bastardo / Dipcadi serotinum), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia).
Photographs from the top: Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Wild Peony (Paeonia broteroi), 2x Sawfly Orchid (Flor de avispa / Ophrys tenthredinifera var ficalhoana), 2x Adonis Blue (Niña Celeste / Lysandra bellargus), 2x Libelloides Baeticus, Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Mucizonia hispida, Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Mancha Azul / Satyrium spini) and Brown Bluebell (Jacinto bastardo / Dipcadi serotinum).