Saturday, 7 April 2018

Cacín Valley, Granada Province.

A days birding and orchid hunting along the Cacín Valley with Chamila and Manuel.

Bumblebee Orchid (Ophrys bombyliflora).
I met Chamila and Manuel at the Cortijo de Tajar near the A92 and after looking at the weather for the day I decided to start our tour out on the fields near to Moraleda. On one of the tracks out to the site we stopped and took some photographs of several Orchid species including Sawfly Orchids (Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp tenthredinifera) around 30 spikes, Dark Spider Orchids (Ophrys incubacea) 8 spikes, Somber Bee Orchids (Ophrys fusca / O. forestieri) 30+, Fan-lipped Orchids (Anacamptis collina) 10+ spikes, Mirror Orchids (Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), Yellow Bee Orchids (Orquídea Abejera / Ophrys lutea) 15+ spikes and 100+ spikes of Bumblebee Orchids (Orquídea abejorro / Ophrys bombyliflora) along with
Dark Spider Orchid (Ophrys incubacea).
White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum), Common Asphodel (Asphodelus albus), Common Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum), Andalusian Storksbill (Erodium recorderi), Eruca (Eruca sativa), Field marigold (Calendula arvensis) and a few birds including Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra) the first of a great many, Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
We moved on along the tracks out towards the Cortijo seeing Rabbits (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus) and up amongst the Almond trees the first of a couple of Great Spotted Cuckoo's (Crialo Europeo / Clamator gladarius), an Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) which was feeding from the low branches of some newly planted Almonds, several Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris) and at least 3 Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) which skillfully disappeared into the trees.
Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca / O. forestieri).
A little further on we found Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis), Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Short-toed Lark (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Mediterranean Pink Catchfly (Silene colorata), Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis), Common Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum), Field Gromwell (Lithospermum arvense), Henbit Deadnettle (Lamium amplexicaule), Shepherds Needles (Scandix pecten-veneris) and White Mignonette (Reseda Alba).
We moved just down the road where we had superb views of a few Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) but one bird in particular was a right poser and sat for ages allowing us to take loads of photographs.
We dropped down in to El Turro where we picked up some food before heading down the valley to the gorge but the cold weather was keeping every thing low so we added very little except for Pallid Swift (Vencejo Pálido /Apus pallidus), male and female Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa).
Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum subsp speculum).
Our next stop was down at the large Embalse de Bermejalis where we searched the woods for Orchids and soon found a good number of Naked / Italian Man Orchids (Orquídea italiana / Orchis italica) around 40 spikes, 100s of Somber Bee Orchids, lots of Mirror Orchids, a couple of spikes of Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum robertiana), a few Yellow Bee Orchids and a few dozen Fan-lipped Orchids including a spike of the var. flavescens.
We also had some amazing views of a couple of Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Long-tailed (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Great Tits (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and once we had a glimpes of the sun a Bath White (Blanqiverdosa / Pontia daplidice) put in a brief appearance,
We returned to the Cacín Valley and drove quickly North back to the Contra-embalse de Bermejalis, on the way we added Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), a hunting Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) which whizzed in and out of the trees ahead of us,  where we had a walk along the back checking out the water and margins, on or standing in the water were at least 7 Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), a Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Common Sandpiper (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos),
Yellow Bee Orchid (Orquídea Abejera / Ophrys lutea).
a couple of pairs of Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Yellow (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Lots more Barn Swallows, House Martins, a few Sand Martins (Avión Zapador / Riparia riparia) and on the far shore a singing Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and a calling Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus viridis).
Other wildlife included croaking Perez's Frogs (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi), Field Madder (Sherardia arvensis), Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus), Wild Clary (Salvia verbenaca), Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata ssp pullata), the snake like leaves of the Sea Squill (Urginea maritima), Hoary Cress (Cardaria draba) and more Yellow Bee Orchids
Once we had finished at the lake we headed back in to the hotel, on the way a¡seeing a small migrating flock of European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster)  and a single hoovering / hunting Short-toed Eagle (Culebrera Europeo / Circaetus gallicus),
Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
Once back at the Cortijo I said goodbye to Chamila and Manuel. Thanks for supporting Granada Wildlife by booking this day tour and hope to see you again in the future.

Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp tenthredinifera).
Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp tenthredinifera).
Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp tenthredinifera).
Chamila and Manuel with a Giant Orchid.
Fan-lipped Orchid (Anacamptis collina) var. flavescens.
Naked / Italian Man Orchid (Orquídea italiana / Orchis italica).
Naked / Italian Man Orchids (Orquídea italiana / Orchis italica).

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