Saturday, 27 July 2019

Mirador del Principe, El Puerto de Santa Maria, Puerto de Somiedo and Rio Sil, Asurias and Castillo de Leon.

1st day in the rolling hill and wild flower meadows of south of Somiedo.
Somiedo Day Six.

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We got up to a thick layer of low cloud over the village, I had a quick walk before breakfast but only picked up Blue (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus) and Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone).
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We had breakfast and then loaded up and headed out eventually coming up to the cloud and just before the village of La Peral we drove through it in to a beautiful sunny day seeing a small family party of Bullfinches (Camachuelo Común / Pyrrhula pyrrhula) which flew up from the roadside and called as we drove slowly by.
Large Wall Brown (Lasiommata maera).
We parked at the car park below the small village and we walked up through the houses passing several of the traditional thatched barns known as Teitos, some of which were in nice condition. 
Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea).
As we walked up towards the start of the track out to the Mirador we had views of Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and just as we started the breezy walk out we heard a calling Yellowhammer (Escribano Cerillo / Emberiza citronella). 
We reached the view point at the end of the track after seeing our first Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea) on the way, we soon found several more spikes just below the Mirador along with several spikes of Man Orchid (Orchis anthropophora) and just down a nearby bank half a dozen spikes of the stunning Lizard Orchid (Himantoglosum hircinum), as well as Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum), Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca) and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium).
There were some buttreflies on the wing by the time things warmed up and they included Large Wall Brown (Lasiommata maera), a smart Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron), Small White (Pieris rapae), Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) and Common Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines).
Bob photographing the Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea).
Down the slopes from the Mirador we could hear and then saw a couple of Common Whitethroats (Curruca Zarcera / Sylvia communis), Dunnock (Acentor Común / Prunella modularis) which saw again heard and then seen, a nice male Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) which eventually sat up and gave some nice views, Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula) and a flock of medium sized birds which we got brief views of a couple of time and eventually ided them as Mistle Thrushes (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus).
Looking back to La Peral from the view point.
As we walked back along the track towards the car we heard the first of the days Tree Pipits (Bisbita Arbóreo / Anthus trivialis) and had several Small Tortoiseshells (Aglais urticae).
Purple-shot Copper (Lycaena alciphron).
We walked through the village and made a stop at a water spout before going for a coffee where we had views of Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), a good sized flock of Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and high up on the grassy slopes a couple of Roe Deer (Corzo / Capreolus capreolus) off to our right and a group of Chamois (Rebeco / Rupicapra rupicapra) way off in the distance to the left.
Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea).
As we walked back to the van we had several fritillary butterflies which after looking at the books later turned out to be Meadow Fritillary (Mellicta parthenoides) in the same area we also had Clouded Yellow (Colias Común / Colias corcea) and Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni).
Our next stop was just a few KMs further on at El Puerto and as we pulled in we added a fine adult Egyptian Vulture (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus) to the day list and soon had good views of a male Northern Wheatear (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros) and several summer plumaged Water Pipits (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta) which showed better than they had on the mountain tops at the Pico's.
On the marshy roadsides we found 100s of spikes of what looked like Early Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata) but as everyone knows marsh orchids are not always what they appear to be, Water Avens (Geum rivale), carpets of Bog Bean (Menyanthese trifoliata) leaves, Common Cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium) and Marsh Ragwort (Senecio aquaticus) and a single Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius).
A couple of KMs down the road towards Meroy at Puerto de Somiedo we made a stop when we saw a female Whinchat (Tarabilla Nortena / Saxicola rubetra) sat on a roadside fence with a beak full of grubs and on the opposite side a couple of Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor).
Man Orchid (Orchis anthropophora).
Just a few more meters down the road we parked on an area of roadside grass / scrub land which had several piles of fairly strong smelling manure, we had a walk up hill and then off to the right seeing Linnet, Serin, Common Whitethroat, Dunnock, a fine male Yellowhammer, the first male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) which showed niced but briefly on a wire, Feral Pigeon (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), a Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) which the group got but I missed, another Tree Pipit which showed nicely after bathing in a small stream and in several fields calling Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix). There were also some good wildflowers including which need names, others included Agimony (Agrimonia eupatoria), Common Daisy (Bellis perennis), Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris), Common Nettle (Urtica dioica) and Hedgerow Cranesbill (Geranium pyrenaicum).
we continued on out to the small stream and then turned around, we had good views of a nice male Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus), several Common Chaffinches (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), singing Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), White Wagtails, Mistle Thrushes and Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes).
Lizard Orchid (Himantoglosum hircinum).
We continued on down the road again and had lunch in a bar in Vega de Viejos before following a nearby side road following the Rio Sil as far as we could, one of the first species we saw was a beautiful male Red-backed Shrike (Alcaudón Dorsirrojo / Lanius collurio) which flew across in front of us and landed on a bare branch close on our left but unlike most it stayed there long enough for me to get a few shots.
A little further on we parked and walked along a grassy trail which was lined on both sides by nice dry stone walls, we walked out as far as the Arroyo Fuexo, birds included a fine male Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) which was quartering a middle distance ridge.
We also had Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla) as well as several Large Red Damselflies (Pyrrhosoma nymphula), Common Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines), lots of Marbled Whites (Melanargia galathea), Chestnut Heath (Coenonympha glycerion), Cleopatra (Cleopatra / Gonepteryx cleopatra), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Holly (Celastrina argiolus) and several Amanda's Blues (Polyommatus amanda).
Jo having a drink from the local spring.
At the far end of the walk we were forced to turn around as the track was flooded by a couple of swollen irrigation channels but we got good views of a nice Lizard in a rock pile and found several spikes of Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalia) in fields which were full of Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor).
On the walk back we saw a wandering male Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), High Brown Fritillary (Fabriciana adippe), Musk Mallow (Malva moschata), Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata), Round-headed Leek (Allium sphaerocephalon), Rusty-back Fern (Ceterach officinarum), Yellow Rockrose (Helianthemum nummularium), Soapwart (Saponaria officinalis) and a tiny little Violet which I am fairly sure is Viola saxatilis.
We drove on and made a stop in a gorge further up and then had a walk for a while up stream along the Rio seeing lots of butterflies including the trips first Apollo (Parnassius apollo) of the day and wildflowers, one of the best flowers was Erodium daucoides which was flowering on the rocks at the bottom of the cliffs along with a nice Yellow Antirrhinum which still needs a name, Rock Cinqufoil (Potentilla rupestris), Purple Bugloss (Echium plantagineum), Yellow Stonecrop (Sedum acre), a nice Dianthus species and a couple of Heath / Heather species.
Bob also having a drink from the local spring.
Just before we reached the village of La Cueta we stopped at the bottom of a large area of scree where I managed to get some shots of a lovely Apollo Butterfly which sat nicely. We also saw Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes) and a Olive Skipper (Pyrgus serratulae) both of which were firsts for the trip.
We turned around in the village and started to make our way back down the valley adding Garden Warbler (Curruca Mosquitera / Sylvia borin) and a calling Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita) to the list along with another Tree Pipit, Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus) and Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major).
Once we reached the main road again we turned back towards Somiedo seeing several more Red-backed Shrikes along the roadside before going back to the hotel.
We freshened up and then we down into the village again and went to another one of the local bars as the one we had been to the night before was shut. Unfortunately this bar was not good, the food and service were were very poor indeed.

A fine Chicked House.
Meadow Fritillary (Mellicta parthenoides).

The Group.
Early Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata).
Water Avens (Geum rivale).
Red-underwing Skipper (Spialia sertorius).
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Lizard Species.
Red-backed Shrike (Alcaudón Dorsirrojo / Lanius collurio).
Red-backed Shrike (Alcaudón Dorsirrojo / Lanius collurio).
Erodium daucoides

Rock Cinqufoil (Potentilla rupestris).


Yellow Antirrhinum
Olive Skipper (Pyrgus serratulae).
Apollo (Parnassius apollo).






















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