Monday 5 June 2017

Hecho Valley, Aragon.

Granada Wildlifes tour of Belchite and the Pyrenees.
Day Three. The main target for the guests on the tour is under the belt, always good when your the guide !!!!

Citril Finch (Verderón Serrano / Serinus citrinella), Male.
Before breakfast  had a short walk by the hotel and started the day list off with Egyptian (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus) and Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica). 
Citril Finch (Verderón Serrano / Serinus citrinella), Female.
after a very good breakfast we got in the van and went up the Hecho valley and the drove to a point in the hills where we parked in and open meadow area amongst the woods. 
Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne).
On the way up we had views of Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), an unexpected Iberian Brown Hare (Liebre ibérica / Lepus granatensis) quite high up and in dense woodlands, on the verge several spikes of Lesser Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera bifolia), Wild Aquilegia's (Aquilegia vulgaris) and just as we reached the carpark 3 Jays (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and a couple of Citril Finches (Verderón Serrano / Serinus citrinella) which flew to a small puddle out in the grass.
Elder-flowered Orchid (Dactylorhiza sambucina).
We parked and then made our way over to the spot where the Citril Finches had dropped and had exellent views of male, female and immature birds. 
Pale-flowered Orchids (Orchis pallens).
In the same area we also saw and heard Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater) and Garden Warbler (Curruca Mosquitera / Sylvia borin) which was heard but remained hidden.
Andy P arriving at the Wallcreeper site.
We got our kit together and went for a walk out along one of the trails, most of the time we were in the woods but there were a couple of clearings on the way as well, just after we started we picked up Crested Tits (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus) and then through the trees our first two Lammergeier / Bearded Vultures (Quebrantahuesos / Gypaetus barbatus) an adult and subadult which few up the valley and away along with several Griffons.
Red-billed (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and Alpine Choughs (Chova Piquigualda / Pyrrhocorax graculus) over the Wallcreeper site.

As we pushed on through the woods we picked up Common Treecreeper (Agateador Norteño / Certhia familiaris), Coal Tits, Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and several spikes of White Helleborine (Cephalanthera damasonium) which were flowering in the shade of the trees.
David looking for the Wallcreeper.
Out in the largest of the clearings we had House and Crag Martins (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) hawking insects, a pristine Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne), out on a very distant crag a perched Golden Eagle (Águila Real / Aquila chrysaetos) and below us in the woods a barking but unseen Roe Deer (Corzo / Capreolus capreolus).
Andy M also looking for the Wallcreeper.
We continued on along the track adding Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis), Elder-flowered (Dactylorhiza sambucina) and Pale-flowered Orchids (Orchis pallens), Alchemilla-leaved Cinquefoil (Potentilla alchemilloides), Rock Jasmine (Androsace villosa), Creeping Globularia (Globularia repens) and Alpine Gentians (Gentiana alpina). 
Watching the Wallcreeper, I think David is happy.
We arrived at the spot below the crags where we were looking for the main target species the Wallcreeper (Treparriscos / Tichodroma muraria) and a short while later all the group had had good if rather short views through the scope as the bird fed on the cliffs above us.  
Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) with nesting material.
It took Andy P 50 odd years and Andy M 40 odd years to see this bird and even though it was much less time for David and Juliet all were over the moon with the sighting we had.
Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus).
The Wallcreepers were still sitting eggs so they did not visit the area very often so I was very pleased that we had these early god views, in the same place we also saw Fairy Foxglove (Erinus alpinus), Red-billed (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and Alpine Choughs (Chova Piquigualda / Pyrrhocorax graculus), Common and Alpine Swifts (Vencejo Real / Apus melba), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), more Griffon and Egyptian Vultures and on the slopes on the far side of the valley a couple of grazing Chamois (Rebeco / Rupicapra rupicapra).
Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus).
We waited on site for quite a while but the bird did not show up again so we moved on, Andy P made his way back down the track while the rest of us continued on right up and out onto the Alpine meadows above the site. 
Watching Alpine Choughs and two Chamois (Rebeco / Rupicapra rupicapra).
On the way we had views of Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines), Little Blue (Cupido minimus), Large (Pieris brassicae) and Small Whites (Pieris rapae), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum) and Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli).
Meadow above Hecho Valley.

Once we were up on the tops we sat for a while and just took in the fantastic views of this wonderful spot before finding a cracking male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Yellowhammer (Escribano Cerillo / Emberiza citrinella), Red Kite (Milano Real / Milvus milvus) and a surprising above the tree line Black Woodpecker (Picamaderos Negro / Dryocopus martius) which shot past us and down into the wooded valley below. 
Little Blues (Cupido minimus).
 On the grassy areas we also found good numbers of Burnt (Neotinea Ustulata) and Fragrant Orchids (Gymnadenia conopsea) along with Piedmont Ringlet (Erebia meolans), Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and a lot more Little Blues.
Little Blues (Cupido minimus).
On out way down we found several One-flowered Wintergreens (Moneses uniflora), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Western Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis), Goldcrest (Reyezuelo Sencillo / Regulus regulus), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea) and after we met Andy P on the way down we had Red Squirrel (Ardilla común / Sclurus vulgaris), Mother Shipton (Callistege mi) moth and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui). 
Juliet making up her list.
Once we were down at the van we drove down to the lower meadows stopping a couple of times on the way down, at the first we found Lange's Orchid (Androrchis langei), Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanatera longifolia), Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii), Blackbird, Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Black-veined White (Banca del Majuelo / Aporia crataegi) and a couple of Duke of Burgandy (Hamearis lucina) butterflies. 
Andy P on the Alpine meadows above the Wallcreeper site.
Down at the bottom of the hill we parked and walked along the river track adding Red-backed Shrike (Alcaudón Dorsirrojo / Lanius collurio), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus) and Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha) before we made our way back to the hotel after a cracking day.
Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha).
Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha).
David above the Wallcreeper site.
Small White (Pieris rapae).

White Helleborine (Cephalanthera damasonium).
Duke of Burgandy (Hamearis lucina).

This was not nice Juliet !!!!!!
Long-horn Moth species on a Common Spotted Orchid.
Lange's Orchid (Androrchis langei).
The group on the lower track.

Woodcock Orchid (Orquídea becada / Ophrys scolopax).
Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus) on lower track.

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