Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Sierra de Alano, Aragon.

Granada Wildlifes tour of Belchite and the Pyrenees.
Day Five. A stroll in the mountains !!!!

Our target today, the left hand cutting in the cliff.
OK, today was always going to be hard work but it is by far my favourate day of this tour. Around the hotel we started off with Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus) and Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
Chamois (Rebeco / Rupicapra rupicapra).
It was only a shortish drive up to the start point but on the way we saw Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Carrion Crow, Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Common Magpie, Blackcap, Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Grey (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Red Kite (Milano Real / Milvus milvus), Bullfinch (Camachuelo Común / Pyrrhula pyrrhula), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs) and Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris).
The left hand Gap is looking closer or so I kept telling everyone.
We drove up the valley towards the car park seeing White Wagtail, Dipper (Mirlo Acuático / Cinclus cinclus), Citril Finch (Verderón Serrano / Serinus citrinella), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) as well as several Chamois (Rebeco / Rupicapra rupicapra) and a strange looking Wild Goat
Alpine Choughs (Chova Piquigualda / Pyrrhocorax graculus).
Once we were in the car park we kitted up and started to walk up the track part of this hike, during this first stretch we saw Grey Wagtail, Coal (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), Marsh (Carbonero Palustre / Parus palustris) and Crested Tits (Herrerillo Capuchino / Parus cristatus), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), an immature Bullfinch (Camachuelo Común / Pyrrhula pyrrhula), Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages), Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea) and Red Squirrel (Ardilla común / Sclurus vulgaris).
Alpine Chough (Chova Piquigualda / Pyrrhocorax graculus).
Just before we broke through the trees we saw Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Common (Agateador Norteño / Certhia familiaris) and Short-toed Treecreepers (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Welsh Poppy (Meconopsis cambrica), Large-flowered Butterwort (Pinguicula grandiflora), Wood Spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides), Lesser Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera bifolia), Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) and Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta).
Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
Continuing on we found a singing Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis), Water Pipit (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea), Small (Pieris rapae) and Large Whites (Pieris brassicae), Piedmont Ringlet (Erebia meolans), Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne) and Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas).
On the lower meadows catching out breath.
We reached the point where we were going to leave the main track, Andy P at this point headed further along the track and Andy M, David, Juliet and I headed further up the hill making for the gap above us. 
A breather on the last leg on the way up.
On the way we had Black Vanilla (Nigritella angustifolia), Elder-flowered (Dactylorhiza sambucina) and Frog Orchids (Dactylorhiza viride), Moonwort (Lunaria menor / Botrychium lunaria), Alpine Bistort (Polygonum viviparum), Alpine Toadflax (Linaria alpina), Chamois (Rebeco / Rupicapra rupicapra), Yellowhammer (Escribano Cerillo / Emberiza citrinella), Water Pipit, Red-billed (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and Alpine Choughs (Chova Piquigualda / Pyrrhocorax graculus) and in the narrow approach to the top of the cutting we came across a family party of Alpine Accentors (Acentor Alpino / Prunella collaris) and two of the birds allowed us to get very close but we were in the deep shade of the cliffs which made getting desent shot hard.
Alpine Accentors (Acentor Alpino / Prunella collaris).
We continued on up and through to the Alpine meadows above the cutting, just as we reached the top the first Snowfinch (Gorrión Alpino / Montifringilla nivalis) flew over us and away down the hill. At the top we had a while to get our breath and eat our lunch, we had done the climb faster than expected so we had a good look around the meadows having several more views of the Snowfinches but all in flight. On the meadows we also had Peacock (Aglais io), Little Blue (Cupido minimus), Small Tortoiseshells, Spring Gentian (Gentiana verna) and masses of Pyrenean Buttercup (Ranunculus pyrenaeus).
Alpine Toadflax (Linaria alpina).
Just before we started the decent we had a drifting Lammergeier / Bearded Vulture (Quebrantahuesos / Gypaetus barbatus) pass along a ridge on the far side of the meadows and a Red Kite (Milano Real / Milvus milvus) which circled over head and dropped down into the valley below.
As we dropped down we saw much the same species as on the way up including Dipper, Marsh Tit, Yellowhammer, Cardinal Fritillary (Pandora / Argynnis pandora) and Swallowtail (Papilio machaon).
We were down the hill quicker than exspected so we decided to go and have a look at the meadow area below Gabadito but on the way there we made a stop and found Southern White Admiral (Limenitis reducta), Bullfinch, Egyptian and Griffon Vultures and Jay.
On the meadows we picked up Red-backed Shrike (Alcaudón Dorsirrojo / Lanius collurio), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Adonis Blue (Niña Celeste / Lysandra bellargus), Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages) and Large White.
Black Vanilla Orchid (Nigritella angustifolia).
Later we were back at the hotel and had another very good meal before hitting the pit after a hard but great day.
Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe).

Yellowhammer (Escribano Cerillo / Emberiza citrinella).





Frog Orchid (Dactylorhiza viride).

Just coming over the top.
Our Lunch stop.
Spring Gentian (Gentiana verna).
Spring Gentian (Gentiana verna).
A small pool on the alpine meadows.
The view back down the hill from our lunch spot where we saw the Snowfinches.
Peacock (Aglais io).
Moonwort (Lunaria menor / Botrychium lunaria).
Adonis Blue (Niña Celeste / Lysandra bellargus).

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