Sunday 2 April 2017

Sierra de Loja and Zafarraya Road, Granada Province.

Mountain birds, orchids and a few butterflies.
Kate and Jim McCusker, Day Seven.

Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti).
Kate, Jim and I headed for Loja after a quick look around the fields along the side of the Arroyo Vilano where we started the day off with the song of several Nightingales (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Cetti's (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Reed Warblers (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago), around 50 Common Waxbills (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild), Common (Urraca / Pica pica) and Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
Common Waxbills (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild).
After a hour or so we moved on and made our way up to the lower Quarry on Sierra de Loja and had a wander around the area at the top of the track adding to the day list with singing Dartford (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Subalpine (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans) and Spectacled Warblers (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) all of which were dashing around between the many Gorse bushes, Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata). 
Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica).
There were a small number of butterflies including Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Southern Brown Argus (Aricia cramera), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) and Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera). 
Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina).
We also saw several orchids, the commonest as usual were the Yellow Bee's (Ophrys lutea) but we also saw a few Southern Early Purple (Androrchis Olbiensis) in various colour forms lining the quarry top, several spikes of Sawfly (Ophrys tenthredinifera) were growing along side the track along with several past their best Somber Bee Orchids (Ophrys fusca / O. forestieri). 
Conical Orchid (Neotinea conica).
Goodnumbers of wild flowers were also starting to show and these included the rare Viola dementria, Southern Red Bartsia (Parentucellia latifolia), Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum), Red Phlomis (Phlomis purpurea), Mediterranean Catchfly (Silene colorata), Mallow-leaved Bindweed (Convolvulus althaeoides), Common Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum), Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis), Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum major) and Andalusian Storksbill (Erodium recorderi).
A female Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura).
We moved on out on to the crags and found a pair of Black Wheatears (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura), Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Buckler Mustard (Biscutella frutescens), Field marigold (Calendula arvensis), Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus) and Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas).
Viola dementria.
Up on the tops we pushed on to the far side where we were looking for Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) but we diddipped on this species but did see Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Black-eared (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) and Northern Wheatears (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) and Woodchat Shrikes (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) as well as a couple of groups of Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica).
Andalusian Storksbill (Erodium recorderi).
On the way down the hill we stopped in a small dell and saw Weasel (Comadreja / Mustela nivalis), Spanish Festoon (Zerynthia rumina) and a single spike of Conical Orchid (Neotinea conica) which was the first time I had seen this species on to of the sierra and near Charca del Negro I found that the Narcissus bugei were in flower on the crags.
Black-eared Wheatear (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica).
Once we were down we made our way down the western side of the Sierra and made a coupe of stops between Venta del Raya and Zafarraya, on the way we had some lunch and found Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Carpentor Bee (Xylocopa violacea) and Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum) all nectering at a nice Lilac Tree. 
Narcissus bugei.
On the way down the valley we saw a couple of Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) displying above a regular field where we see them every year. 
Iberian Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides feisthameli).
Between the two stops we picked up Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), a singing Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Giant (Himantoglossum robertiana) and Pink Butterfly Orchids (Anacamptis papilionacea) which were new, also seen were more Yellow Bee, Conical, Fan-lipped and Southern Early Purples
Pink Butterfly Orchids (Anacamptis papilionacea).
There were no new butterflies but we did see more Moroccan Orange-tips, Spanish Festoon, Wall Brown and Large White before we headed back up to the hotel.

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