Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province.

Our second day in the Sierra de Loja.
Kate and Jim Day Six.

We headed out and up the mountain for a repeat visit, this time we went straight to the small dell near to Charca del Negro making just a few short stops for birds including Black-eared (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) and Black Wheatears (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Alpine Swift (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and then I spotted a very large leathery looking Ocellated Lizard (Lacerta lepida), with a second one on the track a little further on and a couple of Andalucian Wall Lizards (Podarcis vaucheri) on roadside rocks.
We stopped by the dell and spent a long while searching the area and seeing Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Spanish Marbled White (Medioluto Inés / Melanargia ines), Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina ssp hispulla), Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Moroccan Orange-tip (Anthocharis belia), Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus boeticus), Spanish Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Large (Pieris brassicae) and Small Whites (Artogeia rapae). Along with the butterflies we also saw Pyramidal (Orquidea Pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia), Small Woodcock (Orquídea abejera becada / Ophrys picta) and Lizard Orchids (Himantoglosum hircinum), Upland Peony (Paeonia coriacea), Viola dementria and Yellow Phlomis (Phlomis lychnitis). 
We continued on out past the pools and stopped at the nearby crags to try and photograph the butterflies which up till now I had thought were Spanish Argus (Aricia morronensis) but once we looked at the photographs we realised that we had actually had found a new colony of Geranium Argus (Eumedonia eumedon) for the area. There are small populations in nearby Sierras but ths was the first record Loja. In the area we also found the food plant for these butterflies Erodium cheilanthifolium as well as Mediterranean Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Chickweed (Cerastium boissieri), Carduus granatensis, White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum), Mucizonia hispida, Putoria calabrica, Spanish Thistle (Scolymus hispanicus), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris).
We again moved on a short way and had a look at another area of crags and had nice views of Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Western Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis), Scop's Owl (Autillo Europeo / Otus scops) heard, Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus) and Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and several Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica) way up on the crags.
We started to make our way back down towards the pools and found a nice male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) off to our right but he stayed well out of range of the camera but as we were watching him a male Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) popped up in a stunted Hawthorn bush right by the side of the drivers window which made it easy for me to get the camera in action but harder for Kate and Jim. 
We stopped at the pools and found  Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Lorquin's Blue (Cupido lorquinii), Large Psammodromus (Lagartija colilarga / Psammodromus algirus), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros).
As we dropped further down we saw Iberian / Azure-winged Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cyanus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur).
Our last stop of the day wason the quarry track but we did not anything to the list except for Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria).

Photographs from the top: 2x Spectacled Warbler (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata), Southern Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus boeticus), Erodium cheilanthifolium, Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina), Geranium Argus (Eumedonia eumedon), Knapweed Fritillary (Melitaea phoebe), Small Woodcock (Orquídea abejera becada / Ophrys picta), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Carduus granatensis and an immature Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).

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