Wednesday 19 May 2021

Sierra de Loja, Granada Province, Spain.

A cracking days birding with some good friends up my favorite mountain.
Watching a nice male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
I met Barbara, Barbara, Derek, Gerry and Micky at abades service area and after a coffee we headed up the Sierra, on the lower track we started things off with Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) and then at the lowest of the Quarries Red-rumped (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirundo daurica) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus).
Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes) female.
We continued on adding Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto) and White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) by the goat buildings and then we continued on up to the next quarry picking up Yellow Phlomis (Phlomis lychnitis), Tassel Hyacinth (Leopoldia comosa), more Mistle Thrushes  and heard Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli).
Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Satyrium spini).
We parked at the quarry and walked around the area finding
Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and the a very nice migrating Honey Buzzard (Aberjero Europeo / Pernis apivorus).
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
As we walked down the track we had a few butterfly species including loads of Spanish Gatekeeper (Pyronia bathsheba), Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Blue Spotted Hairstreak (Satyrium spini) and Clouded Yellow (Colias corceua).
We also had a few wildflowers which included Brown Bluebell (Dipcadi serotinum), Cloven Petalled Campion (Silene colorata), Grey-leaved Cistus (Cistus albidus), Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria), Wild Gladiolus (Gladiolus italicus), the seed heads of the Wild Tulip (Tulipa sylvestris), White Rockrose (Helianthemum apenninum), Rosy Garlic (Allium roseum), Ground-pine Germander (Teucrium pseudochamaepitys) and way up the hill a couple of spikes of Pyramidal Orchids (Anacamptis pyramidalia).
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis).
As we walked back up the track towards the car we added  Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Bonelli's (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Spectacled (Curruca Tomillera / Sylvia conspicillata) Dartford (Curruca Rabilarga / Sylvia undata) and Sardinian Warblers (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and right up on top of the cliffs a single Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Capra pyrenaica hispanica).
Large Psammodromus (Psammodromus algirus).
We got back in the cars and drove up through the Pines, along the crags and out on to the tops and on our way out to the far crags we saw Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Long-tailed Tit (Mito / Aegithalos caudatus), Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata), Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Common Crossbill (Piquituerto Común / Loxia curvirostra), Black (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) and Black-eared Wheatears (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica), Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes) and Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
Ocellated Lizard (Timon lepidus).
We reached the far crags and started to scan the tops looking for the Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Roquero Roja / Monticola saxatilis) and after a little while we had a nice male and a female on the crags before the Hawthorn trees and after spending quite a while watching these birds we went on to a small wood of the Hawthorns picking up Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Western Subalpine Warbler (Curruca Carrasquena / Sylvia cantillans), a soaring Griffon Vulture (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus), a pair of Woodchat Shrikes (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) which were flycatching from one of the bushes and we also heard a Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus).
Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
We turned around and had some lunch below the crags picking up Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and just down the track we stopped at Charca del Negro seeing a very smart male Montagu's Harrier (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator), Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) and Sharp-ribbed Salamander (Pleurodeles waltl).
We dropped back down the hill just making a quick stop at the turning point to make sure that Micky saw the Bonelli's Warbler he had missed earlier. Thanks to you all for a great day and your company.

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