Saturday 22 December 2018

Albrighton, Shropshire, UK.

A day around the Village.

We got up and then spent the morning seeing family, we both went to see my Mom and then I went up to my brothers whilst Jayne went to see Barb her sister.
During the walk I noted Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Common Starling (Estornino Pinto / Sturnus vulgaris) and Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula).
During the afternoon I took Harry, Martin and Julia's dog for a walk over the A41 bypass and along what is now named as Cordy Lane (on Google Maps) but I remember (or more accurately cannot remember it as something else) and then in to Blue House Lane and back. During our walk I saw Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), a couple of Redwings (Zorzal Alirrojo / Turdus illacus), 1 male Siskin (Lúgano / Carduelis spinus) high up in a Silver Birch and several Black-headed Gulls (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus).
Later Julia, Jayne, Barb, Martin and I headed through the village and had a nice meal at the Shrewsbury Arms Pub, a very nice way to finish our first full day.

Friday 21 December 2018

Huétor Fields and travelling back to Shropshire in the UK.

Travelling back for Christmas and the New Year.

Jayne and I finished the packing and set off for Malaga Airport, as we crossed the fields I picked up House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Northern Lapwing (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus), Golden Plover (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaria), Stone Curlew (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata). 
We had some lunch in Salinas and continued on down and dropped the car off at Parkingmar before catching our flight over to Birmingham.
The flight was on time and uneventful but due to Wolverhampton Wanderers home match against Liverpool being changed and now finishing just before we reached the town the trains and stations were a tad busy to say the least but Martin, Jayne's bother and his wfe Julia managed to find us and very kindly take us back to their house which was our base for the next two and a half weeks.

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Huétor Fields, Granada Province.

A few hours down on the local patch.

I started by driving down to the bar at the bottom of the road seeing House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba).
I took the track along the Arroyo and scanned the Rio and surrounding stubble fields finding several Tree Sparrows (Gorrión Molinero / Passer montanus) mixed in with the much commoner House Sparrows and Common Chaffinches (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs). Also on the stubble were quite a few Collared Doves (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Feral Pigeons (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Crested Larks (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and a second Common Kestrel which kept flushing the feeding birds up into the Poplar trees.
Down by the water there were lots more feeding White Wagtails, Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) which were fly catching from the reed patches, Meadow Pipits (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis) and a very large flock of around 200 Iberian  Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) which were coming along the river through the reeds and Tamarisk trees and then passed me into several leafless Pomegranate trees on the far side of the stubble field and then on again.
On the ploughed fields over the river there was part of the wintering Little Bustard (Sisón Común / Tetrax tetrax) flock which was difficult to count as the birds merged in well and dropped into the ridges between the ploughing ridges but later they moved out onto a newly sprouting cereal field and made a count of 41 much easier.
I turned around and went along the road to Huétor and stopped at the fields where the Stone Curlews (Alcaraván Común / Burhinus oedicnemus) spend their days at the moment and luckily there had been no desturbance so the birds were still happily sat there and allowed a count of 277. In the same area I had Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata) and Skylark (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis) x45, Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), 2 of 4 Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) seen, Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and 11x Western Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis). 
I did the loop around to the Airfield but as they were flying there I carried on up to the bridge and found the Golden Plovers (Chorlito Dorado Europeo / Pluvialis apricaria) x21 and the Northern Lapwings (Avefria Europea / Vanellus vanellus) x34, as well as a distant soaring Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), a Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis) which flashed passed following the irrigation channel and a very smart Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea).
I dropped down from the bridge and turned out towards the Mesia road and checked the ditches and reed beds along there, I failed to find any sign of the usual wintering Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica) but put up a single Jack Snipe (Agachadiza Chica / Lymnocriptes minimus), 2x Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago) and a Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) whilst searching.
On the opposite side of the track in the reed beds there was a single wintering Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), another flock of a 100 or so Iberian Magpies and in the air an even bigger flock of 500+ Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus). 
On the eastern track along the Rio I added a small flock of around 10 Common Waxbills (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild), a locally uncommon Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Jackdaws (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) x5, Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), a single male Reed Bunting (Escribano Palustre / Emberiza schoeniclus) in winter plumage, several Mistle Thrushes (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus) in the poplars, another couple of Green Sandpipers and a male Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).

Sunday 16 December 2018

Orchids for 2019.

Really looking forward to some exciting Orchid hunting next year between March and June.

Dark Spider Orchid (Ophrys incubacea).
Towards the end of March the main Orchid season kicks off down here in Southern Spain but before this even there have been a couple of the species in the Ophrys fusca group that have been flowering from as early as January. 
Pink Butterfly Orchid (Anacamptis papilionacea).
Over in Malaga Province they have the uncommon Ophrys Malacitana and further East in Granada we get the very similar Ophrys foresteri, both plants are considered be some authorities to be full species in their own right but just variations of fusca by others along with some other similar plants.
Two-leaved Gennaria (Gennaria diphylla).
Another of the very early flowering species is the Two-leaved Gennaria (Gennaria diphylla) which can be found down on the Granada coast and in the woods and quarries of Malaga Province.
Ophrys Dyris.
Anyway once March arrives I enjoy visiting an area of Pine woodland in the Sierra de Mijas where there is a very good show of several species including the very variable Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys scolopax), during several visits I (along with friends) also found a couple of hybrid plants with Scolopax, the first was a cross with Ophrys speculum (O x castroviejoi) and the second with tenthredinifera (O x peltieri).
Conical Orchid (Neotinea conica).
In the same area there are also a good number of other beautiful plants including Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera subsp tenthredinifera), Pink Butterfly Orchid (Anacamptis papilionacea), Fan-lipped Orchid (Anacamptis collina), Mirror Orchid (Ophrys speculum subsp speculum), Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea) and just up the road at another two spots Naked / Italian Man Orchid (Orchis italica), Ophrys Dyris, Atlas Orchid (Ophrys atlantica), Champagne Orchid (Orchis champagneuxii) and Somber Bee Orchid (Ophrys fusca / O. forestieri). 
Atlas Orchid (Ophrys atlantica).
Right up in the North of Malaga Province and on my local patch we have good sites for Dark Spider Orchid (Ophrys incubacea), Bumblebee Orchid (Ophrys bombyliflora), Orchis x brigittae, Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta) and Giant Orchid (Himantoglossum robertiana). 
Ophrys x chobautii.
On my local patch there is a brilliant area of Oak Woodland and Grass Land where during the year there is a great show including Conical Orchid (Neotinea conica), Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera), Dense-flowered Orchid (Neotinea maculata), Lizard Orchid (Himantoglosum hircinum), Lange's Orchid (Androrchis langei), Sawfly Orchid (Ophrys tenthredinifera var ficalhoana), Southern Early Purple Orchid (ChupaerosAndrorchis Olbiensis), Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanatera longifolia), Pyramidal Orchid (Orquidea Pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia) and Epipactis temolsii.
Sword-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanatera longifolia).
In a valley not to far away from us Iberian Mirror Orchid (Ophrys vernixia) flowers in amonst the Oaks and there is another site for this very rare species in pine woods in Northern Malaga. As well as Small-tongue Orchid (Serapias parviflora), Man Orchid (Orchis anthropophora) and just up the road Orchis x gennarii.
Orchis cazorlensis.
 In the Granada Mountains there are a mix of site with a good mix of species, most on the Northern slopes in the broad-leaved woods and on the Southern slopes of nearby hills, some of the interesting species here are the rare Orchis cazorlensis and the even rarer hybrid with Lange's Orchid (O x incantata), Lady Orchid (Orchis purpurea), Barton's Orchid (Dactylorhiza insularis), Fragrant Bug Orchid (Orchis coriophora subsp fragrans), Robust Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza elata), Dark-red Helleborine (Epipactis atrorubens), Epipactis fageticola, Small-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis microphylla), both Violet Limodore (Limodorum abortivum) and Common Twayblade (Neottia ovata) can be found along with the beautiful Algerian Butterfly Orchids (plantanthera algeriensis).
Algerian Butterfly Orchids (plantanthera algeriensis).
Some later species locally are the very smart Burnt Orchid (Neotinea Ustulata) which grow in the Oak as do the Autumn Lady's Tresses (Spiranthes spiralis) but somewhat later.

Orchis x brigittae.
Other species that I have seen down here in Andalucia include Algarve Bee Orchid (Ophrys algarviensis), Long-lipped Tounge Orchid (Serapias vomeracea), Tongue (Serapias lingua) and Heart-flowered Tongue Orchid (Serapias cordigera), Limodorum trabutianum, Lax-flowered Orchid (Orchis Laxiflora) and Sulphur Orchid (Dactylorhiza sulphurea).
Monkey Orchid (Orchis simia).
Lady's Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium calceolus).
During my tours up to the Pyrenees we also see a very good number of Orchid speices including Lady's Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium calceolus), Bird's-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis), Black Vanilla Orchid (Nigritella angustifolia), Broad-leaved Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza majalis), Elder-flower Orchid (Dactylorhiza sambucina), Heath Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata),
Military Orchid (Orchis militaris).
Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii), Pale-flowered Orchid (Orchis pallens), Military Orchid (Orchis militaris), Monkey Orchid (Orchis simia), Fly Orchid (Ophrys insectifera), Ophrys riojana, Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula), Frog Orchid (Dactylorhiza viride), Lesser Butterfly (Platanthera bifolia) and Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha), Green-winged Orchid (Androrchis morio) and White Helleborine (Cephalanthera damasonium). There are still quite a few still to find as well.
Pale-flowered Orchid (Orchis pallens).
Elder-flower Orchid (Dactylorhiza sambucina).