Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Hecho Valley and Portalet Area, Aragon.

Granada Wildlifes tour of Belchite and the Pyrenees.
Day Four. A day with some very rare beauties of the Orchid type.

Andy M and David coming back up from the river after looking for Dipper.

Robust Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza elata).
In the area around the hotel we started the list off with Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus), Ivy-leaved Toadflax (Cymbalaria muralis) and Robust Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza elata).
After breakfast we headed down the Hecho Valley and then east through Jaca and up into the mountains at Portalet, as we dropped down the valley we saw Red Kite (Milano Real / Milvus milvus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Carrion Crow, Egyptian Vulture, Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Nightingale.
yramidal Orchids (Anacamptis pyramidalia).
Part way down the Valley we stopped to have a look at the Rio Aragon and saw or heard Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha) and several spikes of what looked like a couple of different species of Epipactis but they were not in flower at this point.
After going east through Jaca we drove North up towards Portalet calling at a spot on the way near the turn to the Fuente Santa de Elena, we parked on the main road and walked out to the bridge and then down the main road a short way. Near the bridge we had White (Helianthemum apenninum) and Pyrenean Rock-rose (Helianthemum nummularium ssp. pyrenaica), Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum), Chimney Sweeper (Odezia atrata), Garden Warbler (Curruca Mosquitera / Sylvia borin), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) and the star birds which were two Lammergeiers / Bearded Vultures (Quebrantahuesos / Gypaetus barbatus), an immature and adult which drifted over the valley. 
Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium calceolus).
We also had Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae), Large (Pieris brassicae),  Small (Pieris rapae) and Wood White (Leptidea sinapis) and Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera). Along the road I found several really nice clumps of Robust Marsh as well as Fragrant (Gymnadenia conopsea) and Pyramidal Orchids (Orquidea Pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia), Scarce Swallowtail (Chupaleches / Iphiclides podalirius feisthameli), Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / Argynnis pandora) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla).
Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium calceolus).
Further up the valley we reached a spot on the roadside where we parked and met the local warden who showed us several clumps of the Orchid of all Orchids the Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium calceolus) which were as usual amazing to see. In the same area we saw more Fragrant Orchids along with Broad-leaved Marsh (Dactylorhiza majalis), Elder-flowered (Dactylorhiza sambucina), Common Spotted (Dactylorhiza fuchsii), Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata), Bird's-eye Primrose (Primula farinosa), Common Cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium), Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages), Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines) and Tree Pipit (Bisbita Arbóreo / Anthus trivialis).
Slightly further up the road we stopped for a coffee where whilst I was parking the Van after filling up with fuel I had views of a Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) on the river but none of the group saw it and it remained that way through out the trip.
After our coffee we drove up to the summit where we walked along a stream through a nice bit of Alpine meadow seeing Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Common Frog (Rana temporaria), Centaurea montana, Alpine Bartsia (Bartsia alpina), Pyrenean Squill (Scilla liliohyacinthus), Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine pratensis), Pyrenean Cranesbill (Geranium pyrenaicum), Horned Pansy (Viola cornuta), Large-flowered Butterwort (Pinguicula grandiflora), Globeflower (Trollius europaeus), Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris), Pyrenean Fritillary (Fritillaria pyrenaica), Anemone narcissiflora and Heath Spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza maculata).
Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium calceolus).
Next came lunch and then a walk along the track behind the bar where we were looking for but did not find Ortolan Bunting (Escribano Hortolano / Emberiza hortulana) however we did find Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Griffon and Egyptian Vultures, Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Viviparous Lizard (Lacerta vivipara), Alpine Marmot (Marmota marmota), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus) and Piedmont Ringlet (Erebia meolans) and as we were just about to reach the car we had a fly over Honey Buzzard (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus). 
We then got some info from some other birders that we had turned around just short of where they had seen the Ortolan's so we decided to redo the walk and go a little further. Just past the spot that we turned around I heard an Ortolan singing up on a slope above us but it took some finding but eventually we had good views of a couple of males before dropping back down to the van seeing Large-flowered Butterwort (Pinguicula grandiflora), Spring Gentian (Gentiana verna) and Rock Jasmine (Androsace villosa) on the way.
Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium calceolus) and something less good looking on the right.
We dropped back down to the bar and sat out on the terrace having a coffee watching the river picking up Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and then the spot struck again when a male Bullfinch (Camachuelo Común / Pyrrhula pyrrhula) flew past but all the group missed it so we all piled out on to the car park looking for the bird. We did not find the Bullfinch but we did find a nice male Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra) which was bathing in the river giving us good views. 
Andy M and David, two birders looking happy after looking at some Orchids.
Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata).
We drove back to the hotel via Jaca where we made a brief stop before we pushed on and enjoyed another good meal at the hotel.
Bird's-eye Primrose (Primula farinosa).

Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae).
Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages).
Elder-flowered Orchid (Dactylorhiza sambucina).
Elder-flowered Orchid (Dactylorhiza sambucina).
Large-flowered Butterwort (Pinguicula grandiflora).
Pyrenean Fritillary (Fritillaria pyrenaica).
Saxifrage species ???????
Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae).
Broad-leaved Marsh (Dactylorhiza majalis).
Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus F lyllus).
Lizard Species.
Heath Spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza maculata).
Rock Jasmine (Androsace villosa).
Ortolan Bunting (Escribano Hortolano / Emberiza hortulana).

Ortolan Bunting (Escribano Hortolano / Emberiza hortulana).
Alpine Marmot (Marmota marmota).

1 comment:

Linda Fowler said...

Reading with interest as Jan and I will be at Portalet/Tena valley soon. I guess orchids etc will be over bu I'd so like to see a lammergeier!