Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Bermejalis, and the West of Sierra de Loja, Granada Province, Spain.

A day with three ladies from the hills.
 
Eurasian Eagle Owl (Búho Real / Bubo bubo).
I was meeting Kierston, Laura and Ann down at the Emalse de Bermejalis where we were looking for some of the Orchids there but I set off early and drove down the Cacín Valley on the way there starting at the cliffs near Moraleda.
Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax).
I parked and scanned the crags and very quickly found a very nice Eurasian Eagle Owl (Búho Real / Bubo bubo) sat in one of the many holes as were quite a few Rock Doves (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Spotless Starlings (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus).
Red-crested Pochard (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina).
In the surrounding area I also had Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala).
Yellow Bee Orchid (Ophrys lutea).
I dropped down the valley making a stop in amongst the roadside Pine woods where I could hear a good number of Rock Sparrows (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra) high up in the pines.
Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta).
Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta).
I checked out the other side of the roads where I could hear several
Nightingales (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos) down by the river and in the fields around me Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and back down by the river 2x Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and lots of passing European Bee-eaters (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
Fan-lipped Orchid (Anacamptis collina) var. flavescens.
Fan-lipped Orchid (Anacamptis collina) var. flavescens.
I continued on to the ridge over the Rio and checked the woods there seeing a very nice Wryneck (Torcecuello / Jynx torquilla), hearing a singing Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula) and calling Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua) and more surprising a hooting Tawny (Cárabo Común / Strix aluco).
Italian Man Orchid (Orchis Italica).

Italian Man Orchid (Orchis Italica).
Italian Man Orchid (Orchis Italica).
Italian Man Orchid (Orchis Italica).
The next stop was up at the Embalse where I was pleased to see a tree full of 14x Night Herons (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) and out on the water there were good numbers of birds including Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), 20+  Common (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina) and a pair of Red-crested Pochards (Pato Colorado / Netta rufina), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus) and Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus).
Ophrys x chobautii.
Ophrys x chobautii.
There were also a few Waders including 8x Black-winged Stilts (Ciguenela Común / Himantopus himantopus), 6x Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus) and 2x Little Ringed Plovers (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius).

In the same area I also recorded Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Reed Warbler (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei) and Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) x2.
Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) over the pine woods.
I continued on towards the meeting point adding Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Bonelli's Eagle (Aguila-azor Perdicera / Hieraaetus faciatus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Dartford Warbler (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) before I arrived.
Conical Orchid (Neotinea conica).

Conical Orchid (Neotinea conica).
I had a short walk out on to the Dam finding Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) just before the Ladies arrived.
Small Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys picta).
After parking and having a chat we all walked through the Pine woodland nearby and quickly started to find some very nice Orchids including lots of Italian Man (Orchis Italica) which was seen in good numbers at a couple of points, Mirror (Ophrys speculum), Sawfly (Ophrys tenthredinifera), Somber Bee (Ophrys fusca / foresteri) most of which were over with but we did find a couple in desent condition, Yellow Bee (Ophrys lutea) which were very common, a single spike of Fan-lipped (Anacamptis collina) var. flavescens which I was surprised to find as all the normal Var plants were well over as were all the Giant Orchids (Himantoglossum Robertiana) and in pretty much the same area we had a single spike of the stunning hybrid between Yellow and Somber Bee Orchids called Ophrys x chobautii
Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea).
Also seen during this walk were Common Asphodel (Asphodelus aestivus), Wild Grape Hyacinth (Muscari neglectum), Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), Ground-pine Germander (Teucrium pseudochamaepitys), Field marigold (Calendula arvensis), Southern Knapweed (Centaurea pullata), Tassel Hyacinth (Muscari comosum), Wild Clary (Salvia verbenaca), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), Provence Orange-tip (Anthocharis euphenodes), Common / Southern Blue (Polyommatus icarus / celina), Adonis Blue (Lysandra bellargus), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and a nice female looking Marsh Harrier.
Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea).
We returned to the car and then drove over to another spot for some different Orchids, on the way adding Calandra Lark (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) and quite a few Corn Poppies (Papaver rhoeas).
Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea).
We parked and then wandered around an area of abandoned Almond Terraces and we soon found a good number of Conical Orchid (Neotinea conica) spikes which were new for the ladies and near by there were spikes of Ophrys picta, Yellow Bee, Mirror, Giant and lots of Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea). 
Bumble-bee Orchid (Ophrys bombyliflora).
As we were going to leave the site we heard Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli) and over on the far side area we were checking out a nice group of Yellow Bee spikes when I was amazed to find around 25 spike of the very rare in Granada Bumble-bee Orchid (Ophrys bombyliflora) which as far as I know is possibly only the 4 spot in the Province.
European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
We went back to the cars and moved back up the valley towards Loja and made a roadside stop to watch some very nice Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus) which were displaying over a cereal field. At the same spot and just up the road we had more European Bee.eaters,
Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis) and both Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica) and Iberian  Magpies (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki) before we said our goodbyes and head off after a brilliant day amongst the Orchids.
European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster).
Thanks to Kierston, Laura and Ann for a great day and a good chat.

2 comments:

Kiersten said...

It was a fantastic day. I can't thank you enough Mick.
Kiersten

Unknown said...

We thoroughly enjoyed this day out searching for orchids with Mick. I've lived in Granada province for many years but never knew what a treasure chest the wild countryside is. We saw many wildflowers and a profusion of birdlife. Thanks Mick for your excellent guiding.