Tuesday 5 February 2019

La Lancha, Sierra Morena, Jaen Province.

Raptors but no Lynx on the first day.

European Black Vulture (Buitre Negro / Aegypius monachus).
David Hird arrived at our house at 04:15 and once Steve Jones and I were sorted we all headed off to Sierra Morena near to Andujar where we were spending three days looking for the Iberian Lynx (lince iberico/ Lynx pardina) and lots of other wildlife.
Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus).
We drove up in the dark and arrived on site just as the sun was coming up and soon started to see Red Deer (Ciervo común / Cervus elaphus) off to both sides of the road and as we set up at our first watching location we had several Rabbits (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus) and a covey of Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) which are both Lynx snacks.
European Black Vulture (Buitre Negro / Aegypius monachus).
As the light came up the list grew with Stock Dove (Paloma Zurita / Columba oenas), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), the first of several Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) and the first European Black (Buitre Negro / Aegypius monachus).
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
During the morning we could hear Little Owls (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and eventually we found one sat out on a large boulder and all around us we could hear yaffling Green Woodpeckers (Pito Real / Picus viridis). 
Angel's tears Narcissus (Narcissus triandus).
In the air above us we could hear and then had views of an immature Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aguila Imperial Ibérica / Aguila adalberti) which passed along the ridge behind us with several more Vultures. 
On the bank behind us I found several flowering Angel's tears Narcissus (Narcissus triandus) as well as Nacissus fernandesi, Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Andalusian Storksbill (Erodium recorderi), French Lavender (Lavandula stoechas) and lots of Iberian Milk-vetch (Astragalus lusitanicus).
Nacissus fernandesi,
We sat watching the bueatiful valley infront of us, scanning continuosly for the Lynx but managed to find Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Iberian / Southern Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Iberian  (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) and Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Woodlark (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aguila Imperial Ibérica / Aguila adalberti).
As things warmed up several butterfly species started to fly including lots of Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Clouded Yellow (Colias corcea), Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera), Small (Pieris rapae), Large (Pieris brassicae) and Bath White (Pontia daplidice).
Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus).
We moved slightly further up the track to scan a different area seeing Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) and Hawfinch (Picogordo / Coccotraustes coccotrauetes).
Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica).
David and I dropped down to the Embalse at the far end of the track seeing Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea) on the way, at the dam we had a walk along the cliff top track before crossing the dam where we had good views of at least 3 Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Crag (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and House Martins (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) which were visiting last years nests already.
Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica).
Other species included a very smart male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius), Grey (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo).
Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica).
We returned to where Steve was still scanning for the Lynx and had views of Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata).
Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica).
The sun was going down when we left the site and drove back to our accommodation adding Fallow Deer (Dama dama) on the way and a calling Tawny Owl (Cárabo Común / Strix aluco) at the guest house.
House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica).
Red Deer (Ciervo común / Cervus elaphus).

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